2008-11-09

Markdown and tools

Markdown [1] is a wiki-like text format that makes it easy to enter text in an editor. Using a translator, such text can be transformed into HTML, PDF, et cetera.

To transform a markdown formatted text to HTML, the best choice under Debian or Ubuntu is package 'markdown'. I'll use it to generate HTML for future blog entries. Unfortunately 'markdown' the package, cannot produce PDF, nor can 'markdownj', a Java implementation.

Pandoc [2] is another choice. It offers more output formats, but I cannot believe the HTML format it produces, can be parsed by any decent browser. The 'pandoc' package provides program 'markdown2pdf'. This program does produce a PDF, but it doesn't parse block quotes from markdown correctly and links get lost. I guess I'll remove the pandoc package soon and search for ways to change the markdownj [3] Java stuff into software that transforms markdown into XSL-FO [4], so I can use Apache FOP [5], the XSL-FO converter from XMLmind [6] or another XSL-FO converter to generate PDF or RTF or whatever output format.

To install pandoc under Debian/Unbuntu:

% sudo apt-get install pandoc libghc6-pandoc-dev pandoc-doc texlive-latex-base texlive-latex-recommended

References



[1] http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/

[2] http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/

[3] http://sourceforge.net/projects/markdownj/

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XSL-FO

[5] http://xmlgraphics.apache.org/fop/

[6] http://www.xmlmind.com/foconverter/