Underscores versus Markdown

October 31st, 2009

I'm a big fan of markdown syntax. I'm using it right now as I write this post via Movable Type Open Source, I use it with ikiwiki, and believe it or not, I also use it when writing letters and business documents. Markdown2pdf makes it even better.

However I do have one problem. There is a clash between the file naming convention I'm used to and the way italics is activated within Markdown.

I really wish that the author had chosen something like the tilda (~) instead of the underscore (_)!

I've written before about the importance of hyphens and underscores to programmers. In an obscure way, this is similar to the situation with ampersands (&) and XML.

I never understood why the ampersand was chosen as an entity token. Perhaps the writers of the specification didn't know how incredibly common a punctuation mark it is.

Like the ampersand in XML, I'm under the impression that its not a trivial task to globally alter the syntax parser of Markdown. Maybe its time to consider an alternative?

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