The rise in the popularity of Markdown

Much has been made of Markdown lately, as the lightweight language has become the writing and communication syntax of hot apps and tools across the web.

Although John Gruber created Markdown in what seems like a bygone era of the Internet — 2004 — interest around Markdown has really gained big traction over the last few years, blowing away other markup languages.

Why? Markdown is the best text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writing because it’s easy to use, read and share.

HTML is the way of the web, but writing it can be cumbersome. Markdown is so simple that calling it a syntax seems like an unwarranted technical description. Most people can start using it within minutes.

Because of how easy it is to learn, it’s been engrained in powerhouse collaboration tools like Trello, ZenDesk, Slack’s document editor and, of course, GitHub’s README files. As it’s used in more and more places, there is a new generation of writers who know it as well as texting teens know the emoji library.


We’ve covered the full benefit of Markdown in posts on what it is and why we built our editor around it at Beegit. But along with how flexible it is, the real kicker pushing Markdown forward is how easy it is to read and preview. When Gruber made Markdown, his goal was for it to be publishable as-as, as plain text, without words getting lost in formatting.

Anyone who writes in HTML knows how difficult it is to read — and that it’s even worse to edit. But Markdown is built to be read. Good Markdown editors even provide split screen mode and nice previews (commercial interruption: Yes, we offer both at Beegit. Have a look at the image below. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post).


Finally, Markdown’s popularity is growing because it’s the tool that both marketers and tech teams can use without friction. Many content marketers have learned HTML over the years. Many more have not, and I can tell you from the editor’s desk that it’s not exactly loved by content producers. But Markdown is far more approachable — and brings with it the benefit that development teams use and evangelize it. I mentioned it’s a staple of GitHub. It’s also used in popular programmer sites like Stack Exchange and reddit. This universal acceptance means it can be used across the content spectrum from API documentation to blog collaboration.

With this wave of larger adoption comes more tooling around Markdown. It’s now possible to create presentation slides and export Markdown to InDesign. It took a few years, but these new features are helping Markdown officially make its charge toward broad acceptance.

Does your team write in Markdown? If so, what made you start using it?

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