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a suggestion for ppl writing on the web

a suggestion for ppl writing on the web:

Learn markdown.

Really. That is the totality of my suggestion. If you do a lot of writing on the web (or for the web) learning markdown is something that will improve your life a great deal.

Yes, I realize that most/all web apps like tumblr or whatever come with visual editors. And, of course, if you are totally okay with those, then whatever.

Why is this a good thing to learn?

For those who don’t know, HTML = hypertext markup language. The markup part is important because it refers to all those tags you use to style/format your writing. It is annoying and tedious. Few ppl nowadays will write anything in html. Markdown is a great thing to learn because when writing for the web, using word processors (if you do) tends not to be the best idea, since often any formatting stuff won’t translate well.

The main reason for this, is that in the web environment, the philosophy is to separate the content from the structure and styling as much as possible. This is also why we’ve come to use CSS for formatting but HTML for structure. And, of course, your content. Which is essentially treated as raw data.

One benefit of all of this is that you can use a fast, lightweight text editor like Notebook on windows to write your stuff and save it all in a plain text document (txt).

Markdown solves a problem by allowing you to put formatting/structural cues in your document while ensuring that it is still human readable, while also being machine readable (ie, the computer/website will translate the markdown into html automatically).

The advantage of this, is that your plain text document written in markdown is very readable using your own eyes, but will translate very well to any website equipped to process it (and, because markdown is something that originated in the geek community, pretty much every website supports it. tumblr does).

The other (and this one matters a lot to me) advantage is the fact that these are plain text documents. This means that they are small. Even more importantly: the .txt format is one of the oldest and most stable document formats around. Our computers today can read .txt documents from 40 years ago. And they have a good chance of still being compatible with computers 40 years in the future. A much better chance than any MS Word format. The only other format for archival purposes that comes close is .pdf. Except that .pdf is a proprietary format (owned by Adobe) and it serves a somewhat different purpose. Moreover, once you have a pdf…. they are kinda impossible to edit (like they are like that for a reason — they aren’t meant to be edited once they are in .pdf format).

Last… markdown is really easy. not much will change with your writing.

Just a suggestion! 😀