Textual markup languages (was Re: What YAML engine do you use?)

Aahz aahz at pythoncraft.com
Wed Jan 26 05:23:44 CET 2005

In article <eEMId.46151$Z14.27215 at news.indigo.ie>,
Alan Kennedy  <alanmk at hotmail.com> wrote:
>However, I'm torn on whether to use ReST for textual content. On the one 
>hand, it's looks pretty comprehensive and solidly implemented. But OTOH, 
>I'm concerned about complexity: I don't want to commit to ReST if it's 
>going to become a lot of hard work or highly-inefficient when I really 
>need to use it "in anger".
> From what I've seen, pretty much every textual markup targetted for web 
>content, e.g. wiki markup, seems to have grown/evolved organically, 
>meaning that it is either underpowered or overpowered, full of special 
>cases, doesn't have a meaningful object model, etc.

My perception is that reST is a lot like Python itself: it's easy to hit
the ground running, particularly if you restrict yourself to a specific
subset of featuers.  It does give you a fair amount of power, and some
things are difficult or impossible.

Note that reST was/is *not* specifically aimed at web content.  Several
people have used it for writing books; some people are using it instead
of PowerPoint.

>So, I'm hoping that the learned folks here might be able to give me some 
>pointers to a markup language that has the following characteristics
>1. Is straightforward for non-technical users to use, i.e. can be 
>(mostly) explained in a two to three page document which is 
>comprehensible to anyone who has ever used a simple word-processor or 
>2. Allows a wide variety of content semantics to be represented, e.g. 
>headings, footnotes, sub/superscript, links, etc, etc.

These two criteria seem to be in opposition.  I certainly wouldn't
expect a three-page document to explain all these features, not for
non-technical users.  reST fits both these criteria, but only for a
selected subset of featuers.
Aahz (aahz at pythoncraft.com)           <*>         http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"19. A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming,
is not worth knowing."  --Alan Perlis

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