[kramdown-users] Bug in list parsing

Shawn Van Ittersum svicalifornia at gmail.com
Tue Aug 17 16:42:57 EDT 2010

Hi Matt and others,

In its current state, kramdown is not what Markdown should have been, unless you believe that kramdown should only be used by engineers.  Markdown was designed to make document markup more accessible to the common man.  kramdown, as evidenced by its many obtuse rules (just read the kramdown syntax page) has become anything but simple.  It has lost its simplicity and flexibility, imposing a rigid structure of precise indentation, taking it further and further away from the common man.  This is clearly not in the spirit of Markdown (see the Markdown philosophy page).

My users -- regular people, not computer experts -- won't understand why text wrapping by email clients makes a difference to their messages.  They will not follow kramdown's precise instructions for indentation.  They won't bother to learn other workarounds.  Instead, they will say that the software doesn't work, or it's too hard, and in any case, they won't use it.

I don't believe it is Thomas's intention to abandon such core principles of Markdown and make it difficult to use by the common man.  It appears that this has happened by accident, and that there is still a chance to simplify kramdown and make it easier for end users.

I have proposed how to retain kramdown's powerful superset features while keeping Markdown's simplicity.  The blank-line block separator is consistent with a core tenet of Markdown's design -- from Markdown's "Basics" page:

   > A paragraph is simply one or more consecutive lines of text, separated by one or more blank lines.

The parsing behavior I've described is completely predictable.  The syntax is much simpler for users whose text editors, email clients, or web browsers are wrapping their text without their knowledge.  So again I ask, what is the problem with separating blocks by white space, and then supporting lazy indentation within blocks?


On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 12:27:27 -0700, Matt Neuburg wrote:
> On or about 8/17/10 10:43 AM, thus spake "Shawn Van Ittersum"
> <svicalifornia at gmail.com>:
>> If kramdown does not support such a key feature of Markdown, then it really
>> can't be called a superset of Markdown anymore
> Agreed. The use of "superset" in the kramdown documentation is wrong.
> kramdown isn't Markdown, and never was. It's what Markdown should have been.
> :)
> As I've said here before, I've got thousands of Web pages that are generated
> using Markdown, and I've been converting them to use kramdown instead.
> Basically *none* of them gives the desired output without alteration; I'm
> having to rewrite *every* page in some way. However, that's fine with me;
> it's the price I'm willing to pay to take advantage of kramdown's speed and
> predictability. m.
> -- 
> matt neuburg, phd = matt at tidbits.com, http://www.tidbits.com/matt/
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