What markup format do you prefer?


  • SockDev

    Since discussion in this thread ended up on Markdown vs other markup languages and stuff, it got me wondering if there's any genuinely good markup language that's

    1. Expressive
    2. Easy to use
    3. Predictable

    My personal preference is currently for BBCode, but I'm open to changing my mind if someone can come up with something objectively better.

    Edit: This isn't just about composer UX, it's also about long-term storage.



  • @raceprouk MediaWiki markup. Why wouldn't you want a templating format that's Turing-complete?!


  • SockDev

    @heterodox said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    @raceprouk MediaWiki markup. Why wouldn't you want a templating format that's Turing-complete?!

    I've used MediaWiki markup enough to know it's hard to use.



  • @raceprouk said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    I've used MediaWiki markup enough to know it's hard to use.

    :youdon'tsay.jpg:



  • Microsoft Office OpenXML :control_knobs:


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @raceprouk said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Expressive
    Easy to use
    Predictable

    Generally, pick two.



  • @raceprouk BBCode is basically restricted HTML. So of the two, HTML is strictly more powerful, and therefore better for me. Also much better documented, and you don't (usually) have to write HTML-to-HTML parser.



  • @hungrier said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Microsoft Office OpenXML :control_knobs:

    We're talking about markup languages, not compression formats.



  • @gąska It's more like the opposite of a compression format. They have to compress it in order for mere mortal file systems to be able to handle it.



  • I really dislike the idea of BBCode or html with the tags. Something like markdown is so much easier to type. I've had good experiences using the creole markup language, which was designed originally for wikis.



  • This post is deleted!

  • SockDev

    @boomzilla said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Something like markdown is so much easier to type

    True, but there's numerous competing incompatible standards, and even the popular ones are interpreted differently in different implementations. As a result, as soon as you get anything even remotely complex, you can no longer predict how it'll render in different places.

    Creole looks like an improvement (and it uses slashes for italics, which makes a thousand times more sense than asterisks or underscores).



  • @raceprouk said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    True, but there's numerous competing incompatible standards, and even the popular ones are interpreted differently in different implementations. As a result, as soon as you get anything even remotely complex, you can no longer predict how it'll render in different places.

    Yeah. But then, when I'm making posts on a web forum most of the stuff I'm doing is fairly simple and I'm not trying for something super complicated. And as long as the site is consistent I can probably live with it.

    @raceprouk said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Creole looks like an improvement (and it uses slashes for italics, which makes a thousand times more sense than asterisks or underscores).

    Yes.



  • @boomzilla said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Something like markdown is so much easier to type.

    And so much easier to fuck up, both as a user and as a developer. Because, unlike in markup, every special character can be normal under some circumstances, and the rules are very complicated and often dependent of bugs and quirks of a particular implementation (e.g. over here, ** means bold, unless you end it with * instead of **, then the first ** actually means a regular asterik, and the second means italics. If you then end another word with *, both of the initial asterisks mean italics.)



  • @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    And so much easier to fuck up, both as a user and as a developer.

    I disagree. Tags are a PITA.



  • @boomzilla for user, they're just longer to write. And making proper lists sucks (though many just do it manually). But at least they're consistent and work reliably. For developer, it's definitely easier to parse structured tags than random text that might or might not contain asterisks that might or might not mean either italics, bold, or bullet list. Also, markup languages are very extensible, while markdown are nearly not at all (I've been embedding YT vids in forum posts back in 2010, thanks to [youtube] tag plugin for SMF, and it worked every single time).



  • @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    for user, they're just longer to write.

    Yes. Having to do that all the time would definitely send me into a blakeyrage.



  • @gąska That's the kicker, though... BBCode appeals to developers and the technically inclined because it makes sense... tags have a start and end, etc.

    Markdown has a whole slew of edge cases, that is true, but the tradeoff is that someone who is not technically inclined will use Markdown and type normally, and if they need a specific type of emphasis or formatting, they're actually likely to accidentally discover it.

    Let's say you don't know any markdown, but you want to emphasise something... you'd wrap it in * or _. Both of those are italics, problem solved, move on. No context switching to grab the mouse and click the little "I" button, etc.

    Need a list? If you didn't know the notation, you'd just use a * on a new line. Surprise, it's automatically formatted.

    Some assumptions are incorrect (like numbers that automagically become lists when you don't want to, among others), but it's a delicate balance...



  • @boomzilla said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    for user, they're just longer to write.

    Yes. Having to do that all the time would definitely send me into a blakeyrage.

    Having to write 7 characters instead of 4 to make something bold! The horror! Or even worse, click a single button!



  • @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Markdown has a whole slew of edge cases, that is true, but the tradeoff is that someone who is not technically inclined will use Markdown and type normally, and if they need a specific type of emphasis or formatting, they're actually likely to accidentally discover it.

    Prove this with data.

    @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Let's say you don't know any markdown, but you want to emphasise something... you'd wrap it in * or _. Both of those are italics, problem solved, move on.

    I would assume asterisk is bold and underscore is underline, like how Usenet and plain text email "formatting" worked back when those technologies were current, or how auto-format in Microsoft Word works now:

    0_1504284774296_1504284546900-fe32bce2-bb08-4970-bd10-a26833f5b99d-image.png

    (BTW, as an aside, the autoformat option above that? Turn -- into a proper emdash? Markdown doesn't do that even though it's easy and unambiguous. Figure that one out.)

    Markdown shits all over established convention.

    @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Need a list? If you didn't know the notation, you'd just use a * on a new line. Surprise, it's automatically formatted.

    If I needed a list, why would I (the naive user) type an asterisk? Especially if I'd just established in your previous paragraph that an asterisk is used to denote italics. (Or, from my previous experience in other applications, would expect it to denote boldface.)

    @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Some assumptions are incorrect (like numbers that automagically become lists when you don't want to, among others), but it's a delicate balance...

    Possibly, but the bigger problem is this is all just ass-pull. You've done no real scientific studies to prove anything you just said. You're just assuming all of it.



  • @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    The horror!

    I'm glad you're coming around to sense.

    More seriously, though, the opening / closing brackets plus slash drive me nuts. I dunno...call it a form of typing dyslexia but I often have difficulty getting that stuff correct.


  • SockDev

    @blakeyrat said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    If I needed a list, why would I (the naive user) type an asterisk? Especially if I'd just established in your previous paragraph that an asterisk is used to denote italics. (Or, from my previous experience in other applications, would expect it to denote boldface.)

    IIRC, it also makes a list if you use hyphens.

    • A list
    • with hyphens

  • area_can

    Lists in markdown are a real pain for me. I've tried to include a code block as a list element but every time I try, I need to fight with whichever parser the site I'm on uses.

    I'm with BBCode. Never had any annoyances like this. Maybe MD is nice for short comments and plain paragraphs.



  • @raceprouk said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    @blakeyrat said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    If I needed a list, why would I (the naive user) type an asterisk? Especially if I'd just established in your previous paragraph that an asterisk is used to denote italics. (Or, from my previous experience in other applications, would expect it to denote boldface.)

    IIRC, it also makes a list if you use hyphens.

    • A list
    • with hyphens

    Now, how multiparagraph points work? How sublists work? Have you tried having multiple separate numbered lists in one post?



  • @raceprouk From the perspective of a forum user, I personally prefer BBCode. It's very predictable, reasonably regular across sites despite never having a standard, and simple enough for folks to learn if they want or they can just stick with what the editor buttons do. Unfortunately, it's no fun to type on my preferred phone keyboard. To get:

    [b]This is bold.[/b]

    Takes a lot of taps:

    Symbol, Other Symbols, [, Letters, B, Symbols, Other Symbols, ], Letters, "This is bold.", Symbol, Other Symbols, [, Other Symbols, /, Letters, B, Symbols, Other Symbols, ]

    So I can see why people would like something like Markdown where the basics are simpler to enter, even if it means giving up some predictability.

    Speaking of predictability, HTML interpretation in Markdown implementations leave something to be desired. Sometimes it interprets until the proper closing tag, but other times a blank line dumps you out of HTML "mode". I haven't been on the development end of using these markup languages/parsers, storage, and such, but I've long understood the aversion to HTML being trying to sanitize it for reuse. (Community Server, anyone?) I'm assuming the Markdown parser developers went the way they did to try to avoid potential problems, but the safest way seems to be avoiding it completely.


  • SockDev

    @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Now, how multiparagraph points work?

    Weirdly.

    • If there's no blank line,
      it appears to work fine.
    • But if there's a blank line,

    it breaks out the list.

    @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    How sublists work?

    • Indents
      • Like this
        Though you need two spaces, which isn't immediately obvious.

    @gąska said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Have you tried having multiple separate numbered lists in one post?

    As I've demonstrated elsewhere, I have, and I found about six new ways to break lists in the process.

    Note that I'm not defending Markdown: once you start doing something even remotely complicated, it breaks in spectacular ways, and never the same way twice. That's kinda why I started this thread, to see if there's a middle-ground between Markdown and e.g. BBCode.


  • SockDev

    @parody said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Speaking of predictability, HTML interpretation in Markdown implementations leave something to be desired. Sometimes it interprets until the proper closing tag, but other times a blank line dumps you out of HTML "mode".

    The implementation of Markdown parsers isn't helped by the vagueness of the spec, and the sheer number of edge cases. But can they really be called edge cases when they happen every day?



  • @blakeyrat Let's build a Markdown that makes some slight modicum of sense:

    *text* : Boldface
    **text** : Boldface with increased font size
    /text/ : Italics
    _text_ : Underline
    -text- : Strikethrough
    -- : Emdash
    


  • Sidenote - I think most of the people here, myself included, have strong bias against Markdown due to :disco: :horse: and its myriad of Markdown-related bugs. My favorite is still ***\**** (sometimes, I wish they had never fixed it).



  • I had some documentation pages written in Wiki Creole, which didn't seem so bad.

    When it was time for a major update I realized I couldn't really remember any of the rules so I looked around for another, and ended up replacing it with reStructuredText, which definitely felt easier.



  • @hungrier said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Microsoft Office OpenXML :control_knobs:

    That standard makes for good bedtime reading



  • That markup languages are still a thing at all is a bad sign. For once, I agree with Word of Blakey on this, though for rather different reasons.



  • I want one that uses pseudo-LISP syntax.

    (b bold text (i bold and italic)) (link http://google.com/ hyperlinked text)


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    I like reStructured Text.


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    @scholrlea said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    That markup languages are still a thing at all is a bad sign. For once, I agree with Word of Blakey on this, though for rather different reasons.

    As opposed to?



  • @blakeyrat said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    /text/ : Italics

    But what if you want to type a regular expression? /regex/? What if you want to italicise your regular expression?

    Shit, I broke your parser already.



  • @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    But what if you want to type a regular expression?

    I never want to do that.

    @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Shit, I broke your parser already.

    Good job, you surely are master hax0r.



  • @pie_flavor Something more WYSIWYG, externally (the answer @blakeyrat would usually give, and which I would generally agree with even though it rarely worked well on web fora until recently and is still rarely implemented well today), and internally uses out-of-band formatting rather than in-line tags (my own answer, which, well, you know that I'm not exactly sane, right?).



  • This is a passive-aggressive thread about the composer, isn't it?

    I think it is a passive-aggressive thread about the composer.

    Yes. It is a passive-aggressive thread about the composer.

    In that case, then answer is "I don't give a flying fuck. Just make it WYSIWYG and make the actual markup a behind-the-scenes implementation".

    SO SAY MEbolded text****


  • area_can

    @lorne-kates said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Just make it WYSIWYG and make the actual markup a behind-the-scenes implementation

    I wouldn't trust anyone to not fuck it up


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @julianlam said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    @blakeyrat said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    /text/ : Italics

    But what if you want to type a regular expression? /regex/? What if you want to italicise your regular expression?

    Shit, I broke your parser already.

    You would do exactly what you just did: wrap it in backticks to make it a code block. Because it's code.

    I'm pretty sure @blakeyrat wasn't intending for that sample to be a fully worked out replacement, just a simple starting point -- or changeset to markdown -- that is markedly better than the current situation.



  • @lorne-kates said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    This is a passive-aggressive thread about the composer, isn't it?

    Aggressive-aggressive is more our style, actually.



  • @bb36e said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    @lorne-kates said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Just make it WYSIWYG and make the actual markup a behind-the-scenes implementation

    I wouldn't trust anyone to not fuck it up

    I don't trust our current composer to not fuck it up.



  • @anonymous234 said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    I want one that uses pseudo-LISP syntax.

    (b bold text (i bold and italic)) (link http://google.com/ hyperlinked text)

    Why not RTF, in that case? Then if an effect applies to only one word, you could save on typing the brackets: {\b bold text} for everything between the brackets, or \b bold text for just the word “bold”.



  • The WYSIWYG editor used by IP.Board works pretty well on the Minecraft Forge Forums.

    I'm not sure if it's standard or a plugin of some kind, but it also supports a limited subset of BBCode. One BBCode tag I miss from the site's old forum software (possibly PHPBB) is one for inline code ([tt]), which I found easier to use than highlighting the code and clicking the tt button in the editor.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I quite like markdown, as I can get what I want with minimal typing in a huge majority of cases. BBCode has almost zero advantages over HTML (except for being a little easier to sanitise) but markdown is substantially terser in the normal case. I like that as a user as it lowers the effort for me to go from typing to result. The limitations of markdown I can live with on a forum as I don't really want to produce anything with truly complex formatting here.

    I'm a lot less happy with markdown in other, more formal technical applications such as documentation, where the additional power of (the otherwise-excluded features of) HTML are more useful. But that's OK. I'm not writing documentation or academic papers or quarter-end reports here. ;)


    I've also tried various wiki formats (and there's lots of different ones) and while they're mostly OK I guess, they're not all that great either. And mediawiki's formats get really complicated; if you want a programming language that also formats text, MW is for you, but the consequence of that is that you've got to debug your messages… :aintnobodygottimeforthat.gif:



  • 0_1504363062689_55653c19-7b9b-4e77-9723-af7809fe9330-image.png

    0_1504363211279_veronica_lake worried head turn.gif


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @anonymous234 said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    I want one that uses pseudo-LISP syntax.
    (b bold text (i bold and italic)) (link http://google.com/ hyperlinked text)

    Not sure if evil ideas thread or quixotic ideas thread...



  • @parody said in What markup format do you prefer?:

    Symbol, Other Symbols, [, Letters, B, Symbols, Other Symbols, ],

    Get a better keyboard?

    Long tap on the black bit here

    0_1504368530100_Screenshot_2017-09-02-17-07-57.png

    gives me

    0_1504368600476_Screenshot_2017-09-02-17-06-54.png

    Cursor in between the brackets.

    Alternatively long tap on...

    0_1504368794769_Screenshot_2017-09-02-17-12-28.png



  • @antiquarian Why not the good ideas thread?

    The only reason we have to write </tag> in HTML rather than </> is to avoid confusion of which tag is closed.

    It seems to me that with cutting edge terminals supporting ANSI codes, color highlighting should be able to achieve the same thing.



Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.