Markdown is a lightweight markup language, originally created by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz allowing people “to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)”. The language takes many cues from existing conventions for marking up plain text in email.
Put simply, Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).
The goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to be as readable as possible. A Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions.
In short, you can create beautiful HTML documents without knowing any HTML.
Since switching my site over to Octopress, I’ve needed to write all the site content in Markdown syntax. While working at home on my Windows machine, I’ve been using MarkdownPad, which is a pretty good implementation (but could do with a spell check utility – hint!), but when I’m away from home, I needed someway of being able to write up new Markdown content while still being able to easily preview the output formatting.
You only need to browse to http://dillinger.io/, and you can start using the tool straight away – one pretty nifty feature is the ability to save your documents straight into Dropbox. Also, any preference changes you make (such as adjusting the theme) is remembered, so there is no need to reconfigure the tool on each return visit.
- Write (More) Effortlessly With Markdown (en.blog.wordpress.com)