Giving writers a WYSIWYG makes the assumption that they know how to make stuff look good. This is wrong. People who work with words should only have to care about words. Leaving the design choices to the designers. Markdown does an excellent job in accomplishing this compromise.

Many of the web's most populare publishing tools are now supporting Markdown. And you might recognise it from Stack Overflow and GitHub. So maybe it's time you get down with the M-down?

How the hell do you harvest the sweet markdown nectar? Easy. Kick-start your favourite (plain)text editor and fire away. Since Markdown is a lightweight markup language, all of you oldschool BBCode forum writers out there will find yourselves quite confortable.

Even though you can find the reference to Markdown's syntax online, I'll walk you through some of the basics. Do note that there is alternatives for some of the elements, so I encourouge you to gaze over the documenation.

Headers

Use hashtags to mark the level of a header.

# This is an H1
## This is an H2
### This is an H3

Emphasis

Asterisks or underlines

The quick *brown fox* jumps over the **lazy dog**

Becomes "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"

Links

There are multiple ways of making links in MD, either inline or by reference. However here is the most used way.

[an example](http://example.com "Title")

Lists

Simply use something that looks listy (*, + or -).

Unordered

* Red
- Green
+ Blue

Becomes

  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue

Ordered

(What the numbers are does't matter)

4. Red
0. Green
4. Blue

Becomes

  1. Red
  2. Green
  3. Blue

Code

Inline

Use the backtick quotes (`) for inline code.

Block

4 spaces or 1 tab indention

HAI 1.2
  CAN HAS STDIO?
  VISIBLE "HAI WORLD!!!1!"
KTHXBYE

If you would like to start using Markdown locally on your own system I have a couple of Markdown readers to recommend. Even though you don't strickly need anything fancy to write Markdown, you still need something to parse it.

Mou for Mac MarkdownPad for Windowns ReText for Linux