[Tor www-team] A Novice Take On **Markdown**

Clark Venable jclarkv at gmail.com
Sat Jan 11 11:59:36 UTC 2014

As a non-coder, I sat down this morning to learn more about Markdown.  I
can read html and css, though would be hard-pressed to create a valid
document if given a blank page in a text editor.  I use Wordpress and
Joomla and can edit those template files on my Mac in Coda and BBEdit. (I
mention this just to let you know where I'm coming from.) I have little
interest in what is happening behind the front end. It's just a tool for me
to share information with my family, friends, company, and world.  I like
what I write to look nice--like what I see on professional web sites. When
I edit files I am constantly flipping back and forth between html and
WYSIWYG view to make sure things look as they exists in my minds' eye.

My first thought is that, were someone not currently familiar with Markdown
to come to the Tor site with an idea for an addition, the need to spend
time (even though it's only a little time) to learn how to write Markdown
does raise the *activation energy*, so to speak.

Just a little bit of time on Google and I found  an article titled [78
Tools for Writing and Previewing Markdown](
http://mashable.com/2013/06/24/markdown-tools/).  I like the fact that
there are tools that allow me to view the markdown and html result side by
side. Providing this 'split view' type of editor to potential contributors
would lower the activation energy for someone new to markdown.

And this is where I really see the value of using a tool like Drupal on the
front end if we simply think of it as a way for getting things into a
database with a user-friendly front-end. Once in the database, we can use
all sorts of plugins and tools to convert that content to static html files
directly or to some intermediate format like Markdown and feed it to a
static site generator like Jekyll.


Clark Venable
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