Nevertheless, she persisted

By now, many of us are familiar with markdown and its many flavors and parsers. The most popular parsers include goldmark in go, kramdown in ruby, and markdown-it in js.

Because we all just love 🤮 javascript, markdown-it is seemingly (I have done no research) the most popular parser. Markdown it is an excellent library, being commonmark compliant, supporting syntax extensions, shipping with a number of first party plugins.

The crowded field of notetaking apps (which usually support markdown), near uniformly use markdown-it with various plugins. This is the case with stackedit, for example. The feature set of these apps is invariably: markdown notes (pick your favorite plugins), syncing with the cloud provider of your choice (github, gitlab, drive, and dropbox), a slick UI, some kind of editor (WYSIWYG or WYSIWYM). All of which are appreciated, but not enough.

See, as a developer, I’m guaranteed to have an ide with basic markdown support. I don’t want another app replicating the above functionality. In my case, I use VS Code which already has all of the aforementioned features implemented by default, and supports excellent extensions. Why must I install/use yet another electron app / extension / website? VS Code can do it all.

I began installing various markdown extensions, each containing a syntax extension or a piece of functionality I desired. VS Code uses, you guessed it, markdown it, and even has a page on how extensions can extend its functionality. Hats off to VS Code for going out of its way to be so helpful and extensible. However, each extension was only a part of what I want, and I eventually ended up with a couple dozen markdown extensions. I still didn’t have everything I wanted, and forked an existing extension with the intention of modding it to add subscripts (I already had an extension providing superscripts).

Then I found an extension which added nearly every popular markdown-it feature, including keyboard shortcuts for the syntax extensions. From there I added a linter, mermaid support, code syntax highlighting, and LaTeX. Unfortunately, only vscode’s natively supported syntax extensions render accordingly in the md file (WYSIWYM), which means I need the rendered preview (WYSIWYG). I sure your blood is boiling at this point.

My quest to replicate a note app’s features is incomplete. And of course, I want to go beyond that. Nevertheless, I’m satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and surprised that markdown has been extended so thoroughly. I’m considering switch this site from hugo to 11ty to take advantage of all this. Goldmark’s syntax extensions seem paltry in comparison.

#Markdown #Dev