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What Is Markdown, and How Do You Use It?

Markdown logo on a blue background

Markdown is a straightforward syntax that codecs textual content as headers, lists, boldface, and so forth. This markup language is in style, and also you certainly have apps that make stronger it. Right here’s a snappy primer on what Markdown is, and the way and the place you’ll use it.

What Is Markdown?

While you upload daring, italics, numbered lists, bullet issues, headings, and so forth to textual content, you’re “formatting” it. Markdown is a syntax—or, algorithm—that codecs textual content on internet pages.

Historically, to layout textual content on internet pages, folks used Hypertext Markup Language, higher referred to as HTML. HTML is one member of the circle of relatives of markup languages, in conjunction with eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Usual Generalized Markup Language (SGML).

To layout textual content with HTML, you place tags across the textual content. As an example, if you wish to daring textual content, you kind “<b> that is some daring textual content </b>”.

When your internet browser “reads” a internet web page, it translates the HTML tags and applies the related formatting. When it sees “<b> that is some daring textual content </b>”, it understands that anything else between the <b> and </b> tags must seem in daring. The browser additionally hides the tags (<b> and </b>).

HTML will also be relatively advanced, with dozens and dozens of tags, comparable to <span>, <div>, <kbd>, <ol>, and a whole lot of others. Computer systems don’t have any bother studying those as a result of they simply apply the syntax (the foundations of HTML) and practice the formatting that fits the tags.

The tags, then again, make it relatively tough for people to learn HTML and know how the textual content will take care of the pc renders it. It’s now not very “user-friendly” for individuals who don’t have a large number of revel in studying it.

RELATED: How one can View the HTML Supply in Google Chrome

Markdown, however, is supposed “to be as easy-to-read and easy-to-write as is possible.” John Gruber and Aaron Schwartz give an explanation for why they created Markdown in 2004 and supply a information to the syntax on Gruber’s site.

In brief, Markdown makes it more straightforward to layout textual content for internet pages as a result of its tags are more practical than HTML, and so they convert to HTML mechanically. This implies you don’t have to grasp HTML to put in writing one thing for a internet web page as a result of Markdown interprets your tags into HTML for you.

It doesn’t quilt all imaginable HTML tags, however, slightly, the most typical formatting choices.

How Do You Use Markdown?

To make use of Markdown, you simply practice easy tags on your textual content. As an example, to layout textual content in italics, you place underscores round it like so: _this is a few textual content in italics_.

Listed here are every other examples of Markdown formatting from the syntax information:

Headers

# That is an H1

## That is an H2

###### That is an H6

Bullet Issues

* Pink
* Inexperienced
* Blue

Numbered Lists

1. Fowl
2. McHale
three. Parish

Emphasis (Italics)

*textual content*
_text_

Markdown converts each *textual content* and _text_ to the HTML <emphasis> or <em> tag, which, in idea, will also be interpreted in some ways. As an example, it’s essential to construct an app that translates the <emphasis> tag as flashing crimson textual content. In observe, then again, nearly each utility (together with each internet browser) translates it as italicized textual content.

Robust (Daring)

**textual content**
__text__

Markdown converts each **textual content** and __text__ to the HTML <robust> tag, which normally seems as bolded textual content. In different phrases, for added emphasis, use double * or _ characters.

There also are variants of Markdown—comparable to CommonMark and GitHub Flavored Markdown (GFM)—however those are all in accordance with the unique Markdown specification. Variants typically simply prolong the usual through including formatting tags the unique Markdown doesn’t quilt.

After you layout your textual content, an utility has to transform it to HTML, which is typically performed mechanically. As an example, README information in GitHub use Markdown, and so long as they’ve a .MD report extension, GitHub mechanically converts them to the right kind HTML tags once they’re printed.

So, typically, you gained’t have to do that your self, however in case you do, there’s a Markdown device to be had.

RELATED: What Is GitHub, and What Is It Used For?

The place Can You Use Markdown?

As we discussed above, you’ll use Markdown on GitHub, but in addition on Reddit, StackOverflow, and different internet sites. Should you’ve ever formatted textual content in WhatsApp messages or Slack conversations, you’ve already used it as a result of those programs use a (very small) subset of Markdown tags to layout textual content.

If you wish to be informed Markdown, take a look at the unique Markdown syntax information or a third-party educational website online. It’s clean to be told, and it’ll make your README information, and Reddit or StackOverflow feedback more straightforward for others to learn.

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