Text Filters

CSS has really become a success and really helped separate content from design. Previously, I was in the doubter crowd, but I’m completely turned around. Now, if you are writing a blog or some content for a web page, you can really just focus on the text. Once you get into it you can then understand the interest in “Text Filters”.

Not too long ago, I would get an email about some form of text to html hack known as a lightweight markup or text filters. As I saw each one of these, I put them into the same category as ‘wiki-text’… systems that would eventually go away once people had WYSIWYG (or more accurately WYSI ‘Kinda’ WYG) editors. This still hasn’t happened, and with the true separation, I can honestly see the appeal of these systems by bloggers and web designers.

Of all of these, I think MarkDown looks the closest to what I want. I just wish they swapped the emphasis and strong semantics.

The other popular one that I’ve seen is Textile. The guy behind that is a true typographer, so, of course, his site looks excellent. The problem that I see with Textile is that it requies paragraphs to be these huge lines. Maybe this won’t be a big issue.

I’m going to give both a try. Either will be a huge win over old HTML.

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One Response to Text Filters

  1. Daniel Lyons says:

    I was a doubter of Textile at first myself, but using it quickly convinced me. On the other hand, I have often wished for conversion to and from Textile, which is a feature that simply cannot exist for Textile, but does exist for Markdown. So maybe if you use Markdown from the beginning you’ll like it better.

    I was a huge believer in CSS at first; it took many years for me to realize that it’s a fundamentally stupid technology. I like that it seems to work in practice, but I think the difficulty in doing rather fundamental design things, like round corners, speaks to its lack of general applicability. It’s basically a font tag with positioning. But unfortunately, it’s the best we have. I just refuse to tow the party line. 🙂

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