Four Key Reasons to Learn Markdown

Writing documentation is enjoyable, actually, actually enjoyable. I do know some engineers could disagree with me, however as a technical author, creating high quality documentation that can assist folks has been probably the most attention-grabbing and satisfying job I’ve ever had. Among the finest elements has been utilizing Markdown to put in writing and format virtually all of that documentation.

What’s Markdown?

Markdown is a light-weight markup language created in 2004 by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz. Create formatted textual content by a plain textual content editor. In contrast to HTML or XML, it’s nonetheless simply digestible by readers of all origins in its unique kind. It isn’t essential to be a programmer to know the essence of issues. And whereas it borrows its syntax from HTML, Markdown is simpler and sooner to study.

The tags, that’s, the syntax used to format the textual content (phrase to daring textual content, for instance), are less complicated than HTML, however nonetheless robotically convert to HTML. So if you happen to choose, you’ll be able to nonetheless use HTML tags when working with Markdown.

Markdown is used virtually in all places, from GitHub to Slack. It’s the unofficial textual content writing and formatting normal on large coding websites like coding repositories. Most engineering readme recordsdata are written and formatted with Markdown. Most textual content editors additionally settle for it.

Past the truth that it is simple to make use of, fast to study, and simply transformed to HTML, Markdown can also be fairly future-proof. By this I imply that Markdown will probably be usable so long as the plain textual content is the official and unofficial normal. It was designed to be rapidly parsed and digested like a uncooked file, but it surely additionally has its personal file extension (.md). Suffice to say that Markdown is not going anyplace, particularly on this planet of engineering and engineering documentation.

Why use Markdown?

I am answering this query from my perspective as a technical author, however you’ll be able to reap the advantages of Markdown everytime you write on-line.

1: it is easy

Markdown may be very easy, so far as markup languages ​​go. That’s actually its greatest profit. It takes about half-hour to study and about an hour to change into proficient. One other additional benefit each inside and out of doors of engineering organizations is that Markdown textual content is straightforward to parse and browse in its native kind. That is necessary as a result of each XML and HTML have a studying curve, so people who find themselves not versed in these languages ​​could not have the ability to learn the textual content packed in both of these markup languages. Markdown fixes that. It is unobtrusive to the precise textual content, so anybody can learn the textual content packed contained in the Markdown syntax.

2: It is a light introduction to programming

If you happen to’re new to the world of software program engineering, Markdown serves as an attention-grabbing glimpse into the ability of code. Sure, Markdown’s syntax is straightforward, however if you happen to’ve by no means coded, even formatting in Markdown can really feel like coding. Seeing your format come to life on an online web page or in a textual content editor is nice for individuals who are new to programming or markup languages, and I strongly consider that it could possibly encourage folks to dig deeper into the world of coding.

3: it is quick

Now, from a technical author’s perspective, Markdown makes my job simpler. I can write with Markdown at a sooner fee than with HTML or XML. Additionally, I’ve discovered that Markdown has been a useful bridge between engineering and content material writing (an enormous umbrella that technical writing falls underneath).

If an issue professional (SME) arms me a documentation they wrote for an API course of they have been engaged on, I can bounce proper in as a result of, like I stated, Markdown (even in its native kind) could be learn by anybody. He places the engineer and me on the identical web page, and retains us collectively. Additionally, most built-in growth environments (IDEs) have textual content modifying areas the place Markdown acts because the default markup language for writing.

So, from a technical author’s perspective, Markdown is a writing instrument that makes it simple to format documentation, but it surely additionally brings technical writers nearer to builders as a result of it permits us to talk (and write) in the identical language and use the identical fundamental format. syntax. And one of the best and most helpful documentation is created when builders and technical writers are on the identical web page.

4: It’s collaborative

Markdown is greater than a simplified language. The facility of Markdown is that it ranges the enjoying subject for technical writers and encourages collaboration between them and engineers, particularly technical writers with out deep technical backgrounds.

A technical writing group that units Markdown as its default markup language for all documentation opens the door for extra technical writers from various backgrounds to be employed. It is because one can enhance their talent with Markdown fairly rapidly, not like XML and HTML. I wish to name it the good equalizer. Documentation, in some ways, is the unsung hero of each product and engineering group. And in the long run, all of it comes again to Markdown.

the place to go from right here

I’ve been curious about programming for a very long time and have realized lots of programming abilities in my free time. However after I knew I wished to maneuver into technical writing, the very first thing I realized (and made probably the most of) was Markdown. Earlier than I began my profession on this subject, each engineer and technical author I spoke to advisable it to me as actually one of many first issues I ought to study. I did so, and I am very joyful!

Now, as I am positive those that work intently with me know, I evangelize Markdown each probability I get: with colleagues, with individuals who come to me eager to transition into technical writing, and with purchasers. For my part, Markdown is the spine of recent technical writing and documentation, and it is not going anyplace. It is the comfortable normal for documentation within the tech world and finally I feel it will likely be the final normal.

Markdown is the way forward for technical documentation. And as an increasing number of corporations, IDEs, and coding repositories use it because the default markup format for modifying and writing documentation, that future begins now. If you’re beginning to write documentation or are contemplating technical writing, I extremely suggest studying Markdown. It can serve you effectively.

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