The text/markdown Media Type
Applications Area Working Group S. Leonard
Internet-Draft Penango, Inc.
Intended Status: Informational September 22, 2014
Expires: March 26, 2015
The text/markdown Media Type
This document registers the text/markdown media type for use with
Markdown, a family of plain text formatting syntaxes that optionally
can be converted to formal markup languages such as HTML.
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[[TODO: add table of contents.]]
Leonard Exp. March 26, 2015 [Page 1]
Internet-Draft The text/markdown Media Type September 2014
1.1. On Formats
In computer systems, textual data is stored and processed using a
continuum of techniques. On the one end is plain text: a linear
sequence of characters in some character set (code), possibly
interrupted by line breaks, page breaks, or other control characters.
Plain text provides /some/ fixed facilities for formatting
instructions, namely codes in the character set that have meanings
other than "represent this character on the output medium"; however,
these facilities are not particularly extensible. Compare with
[RFC6838] Section 4.2.1. Applications may neuter the effects of these
special characters by prohibiting them or by ignoring their dictated
meanings, as is the case with how modern applications treat most
control characters in US-ASCII. On this end, any text reader or
editor that interprets the character set can be used to see or
manipulate the text. If some characters are corrupted, the corruption
is unlikely to affect the ability of a computer system to process the
text (even if the human meaning is changed).
On the other end is binary format: a sequence of instructions
intended for some computer application to interpret and act upon.
Binary formats are flexible in that they can store non-textual data
efficiently (perhaps storing no text at all, or only storing certain
kinds of text for very specialized purposes). Binary formats require
an application to be coded specifically to handle the format; no
partial interoperability is possible. Furthermore, if even one byte
or bit are corrupted in a binary format, it may prevent an
application from processing any of the data correctly.
Between these two extremes lies formatted text, i.e., text that
includes non-textual information coded in a particular way, that
affects the interpretation of the text by computer programs.
Formatted text is distinct from plain text and binary format in that
the non-textual information is encoded into textual characters, which
are assigned specialized meanings /not/ defined by the character set.
With a regular text editor and a standard keyboard (or other standard
input mechanism), a user can enter these textual characters to
express the non-textual meanings. For example, a character like "<"
no longer means "LESS-THAN SIGN"; it means the start of a tag or
element that affects the document in some way.
On the formal end of the spectrum is markup, a family of languages
for annotating a document in such a way that the annotations are
syntactically distinguishable from the text. Markup languages are
(reasonably) well-specified and tend to follow (mostly) standardized
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