Skills Building: MarkDown

Markdown "is a lightweight markup language for creating formatted text using a plain-text editor." (wikipedia)

What does that mean?


  • tend to be "efficiency focused"
  • like to break things into small, reliable, and repeatable steps
  • like to separate concerns (good design!)
  • are impatient (with their tools)
  • are often in text editors

So have created various schemes of representing different semantics by using combinations of characters in simple text files.

An early example is LaTex:

\title{My first document}
\author{John Doe}
  Hello World!


Understandable, but verbose.

But it clearly separates content from presentation.

Later systems include HTML, with CSS as it’s layout counterpart.

Roll forward to 2004 when John Gruber and Aaron Swartz created Markdown – a much simplified shorthand for the most common layout queues.

A brief example:

# A Heading

A paragraph of text.

## A Sub Heading

* with a 
* bulleted 
* list

This page is mostly written in MarkDown- even though WordPress offers a bevy of visual editing tools.

It’s faster, with less distractions ("should I make that 1pt bigger?"), and formatting will be consistent when style updates are made.

Because of it’s simplicity, it has become the most common markup language for documenting projects.

Practice Work through (some of) the examples at

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