Micro.blog

Miraz
Miraz

And in today’s episode of ‘a bad worker always blames their tools’ I will say that Markdown has never been my thing. I vastly prefer HTML which is straightforward, easy, unambiguous. The only thing I think that’s easy in MD is a link.

macgenie
macgenie

@Miraz I avoided MD forever because WTH is wrong with HTML? It's not complicated. But I appreciate the greater readability the more I use it. I've used it so much that my right bracket key on the MBP is getting squirrelly, and I blame Micro.blog for that.

smokey
smokey

@Miraz Yes, all the edge and corner cases in Markdown are extremely confusing and ambiguous (code blocks, looking at you especially), whereas in HTML they are clear, if perhaps not always simple. And every site or app’s implementation of Markdown is slightly different, and….

For extremely simple things—and for composing on a device without a full keyboard, like a phone—Markdown is usually simpler and easier (and it probably is easier in the short run for new learners, too), but beyond that, it falls apart quickly IMHO ;-)

(And since I had learned BBCode after HTML, it took me forever to get the Markdown link syntax correct! Not easy for me ;-) )

adders
adders

@macgenie I adopted MarkDown just for speed. While I can write HTML, I can write MarkDown faster, and that's often handy in my line of work.

Well, a couple of my lines of work, perhaps.

decarbonization
decarbonization

@Miraz it’s funny that you mention MD links being easy – I’ve been writing MD daily for ages now and I still have to look up the link syntax every time I want to use it!

Miraz
Miraz

@macgenie Good perspective thanks. I know it's just me really and my unwillingness to learn another system when I have one that works perfectly well. I keep trying though, which is why I keep having problems. On my MacBook Pro it's the Command key which is 'scuffed’. Something about the way I use the keyboard means the nail on my left thumb is often the contact point on the Command key.

Miraz
Miraz

@smokey I will concede that my students, to whom I was teaching beginning HTML, would sometimes find the concept of closing tags tricky for a bit. And images, of course.

Miraz
Miraz

@decarbonization We all have our ‘things’, eh!

smokey
smokey

@Miraz I had been thinking, “well, it’s almost just like we used to use in emails” but then realized new learners today (and probably the past 10 years) have never sent a plain-text email—if they’ve sent an email at all :-P

But as a shorthand, Markdown is “simpler” than elements (with attributes!) and closing tags and all that (lists, in particular, are a lot less to type), which new learners might find helpful (until they want to do something complex :-P in which case there might be a complex Markdown formulation, or they have to jump to HTML anyway).

But they can pry HTML out of my cold, dead hands ;-)

Bruce
Bruce

@smokey That’s why I use MailMate. Get to write my emails in plaintext with Markdown and then it gets prettified. Plus, if someone reads my email in plaintext, the markup (especially reference links) is easy to scan.

And some friends delight in my footnoted missives. 🙃

artkavanagh
artkavanagh

@smokey @Miraz @macgenie @adders @decarbonization @Bruce Here’s my take on HTML and Markdown from 6 months ago. Since writing that, I’ve fallen into the habit of using Markdown for writing at least the first draft of something. At a certain stage, I’ll use iA Writer to convert my draft to HTML and do further editing and tweaking in that format. Of course, you can use HTML elements in Markdown, so I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to use MD for the writing stage.

smokey
smokey

@Bruce I need to find some friends like yours; mine largely only barely tolerate my footnoted emails ;-)

Bruce
Bruce

@smokey Benny actually implemented footnotes in response to my request way back when. 😁

Miraz
Miraz

@artkavanagh Thank you for that thoughtful post. It's made me realise I can refine my own thinking. Bit too busy to make a proper response today, but I'm working on it.

In reply to
Miraz
Miraz

@artkavanagh @smokey @macgenie @adders @decarbonization @Bruce

I posted my response at Bionic HTML. In brief: I think in HTML but it's my Mac that writes the HTML.

Bruce
Bruce

@Miraz A perfect example of this xkcd chart. 😄

Miraz
Miraz

@Bruce Heh! The problem is, I love spending a whole day figuring out an Applescript (or other automation) to do a 1-second task in 0.5 of a second. 😂

smokey
smokey

@Miraz I am also guilty of that sort of misoptimization 😂 // @Bruce

smokey
smokey

@artkavanagh Thanks for your post. Somewhat like @Miraz mentioned in her reply post, I find that I don’t do a lot of writing HTML-in-longhand myself. I typically draft in pure plaintext and then come back through to add any needed formatting, mostly either via some sort of toolbar button or regexp (depending on where I’m writing)—or when I’m actually writing HTML for HTML’s sake (a proper web page), in an HTML editor with autocomplete.

I could use Markdown when drafting, but that introduces an extra Markdown->HTML step that I don’t currently have in my process, and the time it might save is probably counteracted by the addition of an extra conversion+tweaking step. (I suspect if my process weren’t rooted in the fact I’ve been writing HTML since the 1990s, starting with Markdown would have felt more natural :-) ) // @macgenie @adders @decarbonization @Bruce

smokey
smokey

@Bruce Nice work :-)

artkavanagh
artkavanagh

@Miraz @smokey Thank you both for your comments. I suppose it was the experience with LaTeX that led me to imagine I ought to type tags and entities directly into the text as I was writing. As I mentioned in the blog post, LaTeX seemed to flow: to insert a footnote, I’d just type something like “\footnote{ But see Dzelzainis and Chernaik, pp. 92--95. }” without having to lift my hands from the keyboard or interrupt my train of thought. I was really looking for a way to replicate that experience.

I’ve never used TextExpander or Keyboard Maestro and such scripting and regex experience as I’ve had has all been on Windows (i.e. work related). I’ve occasionally thought about trying to do some scripting on the Mac but somehow it never became urgent enough.

Having said that, I really like the approach that @Miraz describes and I will admit to feeling a bit dissatisfied with the intermediate, incomplete nature of Markdown.

It’s also just struck me that one of the things that used to put me off HTML in the old days (before UTF-8 became the default) was the need to type so many entities. In that respect the format has become a lot less offputting. So, I think I may well start to lean more towards writing in HTML and bypassing the Markdown stage.

Thanks again. // @macgenie @adders @decarbonization @Bruce

smokey
smokey

@artkavanagh

the need to type so many entities

Yeah, I do not miss that at all! :-) (One of the benefits of using WordPress for my posting is that I don’t even have to remember to & my amperands, which occasionally comes back to bite me when I then forget while writing regular HTML ;-) )