[kramdown-users] Bug in list parsing

Thomas Leitner t_leitner at gmx.at
Thu Aug 19 14:45:35 EDT 2010


> 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).

I consider having a complete syntax documentation a plus because you
can read it and know what output you can expect. Contrast that with the
documentation of Markdown...

However, you are right that there may be some rules that only exist
because they simplify parsing or they allow much more fine grained
control. The syntax and its documentation grew with the new features
and both should probably be revised before the 1.0 release. Help with
that would be very appreciated!

> 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.

Text wrapping aside, what is the problem regarding indentation?

> 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'm all for simplifying but I don't want to loose advanced functionality
in the process. So if we come up with a different syntax for something
that seems to be too difficult to use by the common man, I'm willing to
implement it.

> 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?

There is nothing wrong with separating block level elements by blank
lines, you can do that already - but it is not enforced.

Lazy indentation is another beast that we can tackle if it is really
needed. I will write something up based on your previous email (and
probably after combing through the Markdown ML archives) and start a new
thread where we can discuss this further. However, I really think that
it is not that easy to get it right...

-- Thomas


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