If you have been writing on Hasnode recently or even for awhile, you must have certainly come across the symbols (#,* etc) in the in-built text editor. For instance, to make a text or word bold, you just need to add 2 asteriks at the beginning and end of the word, just like this
If you are as curious as me, you must have at some point felt like this is different from all of the regular word processor (like Microsoft Word) used locally on computer systems. And if just like me, you have also written on Medium, Dev.to, or even Github Documentation, you must noticed the same type of syntax. Which begs the question, what are these signs and symbols all about.Well, I looked and found the culprit - MARKDOWN.
4 Basic Facts About Markdown
- Markdown is a lightweight and easy-to-use syntax for styling all forms of writing on code storage or blogging platforms.
- Markdown was created by John Gruber in 2004, and since then it is now one of the world's most popular markup languages on the internet.
- Creating a Markdown file is as simple as using a text editor or a dedicated MArkdown application to create a text file and save the file with a .md or .markdown extension.
- You can style texts in Markdown as well as add images, links, tables, lists and even emojis with ease. Which makes it viable for creating presentation slides.
Why Do People Use Markdown instead of Popular Word Processors.
Markdown is extremely lightweight. The files occupy less disk space compared to .docx, .pptx or .doc file extentions.
Markdown files do not require specialized software to open them. Compared to other files types (.docx, .pptx or .doc etc) that can only be opened by proprietary software, Markdown is portable.
The fact that Markdown files do not required specialized software to open them also makes them totally platform independent. They can be opened with a simple text editor, and all platform regardless of the maker comes along with a text editor.
Again, since Markdown files do not required specialised software to open them you do not have to worry if the application you are using suddenly stops working, there will always be other text editors that can similarly open the Markdown file. Imagine your MS Word software crashes, accessing contents of a .docx or .doc file is impossible on your computer locally, but with a .md or .markdown file extension, you can open with other text editors - Notepad, Notepad++, Atom, Sublime Text, VS Code, the options are endless.
Why Is Markdown Used For?
Using Markdown for basic writing seems plausible, until you start asking yourself why should you use it instead of your normal word processor with buttons and clicks.
WEB - Markdown was designed for the web in the first place , so it shouldn't come as a surprise that most of these online editors and static site generators use Markdown. The reason being that it is easier to update website content using Markdown instead of users having to go deep into the HTML or CSS source code to make a text bold
or add a link using
Some of the static site generators like Jekyll, Hugo use Markdown to update contents they are not built to connect to a database for CRUD Operation, so the best method is to have users use Markdown to manually create and update contents on the website.
DOCUMENT- By using a Markdown document authoring application, you can create and export Markdown-formatted documents to PDF or HTML files. Below are some Markdown document authoring applications: Windows: Ghostwriter, Markdown Monster iOS/ Android: iA Writer Web: Dillinger or Stack Edit Linux: ReText, Ghostwriter
DOCUMENTATION - Companies like Github use a flavoured version of Markdown to host documentations. If you have been using Github for awhile , you must have noticed the numerous "README.md" files which mostly contain technical documentation regarding a repo or one's profile summary.
COLLABORATION - For some popular collaboratio and team messaging applications like like Slack and Discord, they support some features of Markdown, thus bolding or italicing text on such platforms can be done easily with Markdown.
In the course of this article, we have learnt the 4 Basic facts about Markdown, 4 reasons why people use Markdown and 4 areas where we can use Markdown.
In the next upcoming article, we are going to learn how static site generators like Jekyll and Hugo use Markdown to update site contents.
I hope you have learnt something new today. See you next time.