What is Markdown?

Markdown is a lightweight markup language, designed to be easy to write and easy to read.
It provides formatting for things like headings, emphasis, blockquotes and lists.

Example Markdown

Let’s create a bit of markdown and show how it’s displayed. Headers, for example, are simple text strings that sit on a line by themselves, with one or more # characters in the first position:

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# Level One Heading
Some stuff under that heading.

## Level Two Heading
Some more stuff under that heading.

### Level Three Heading
Let's mix things up by adding in a list:

1. Item One
2. Item Two
3. Item Three

How about an *unsorted* list?

* milk
* eggs
* Earl Grey Tea

Here’s what that code looks like when rendered:

Level One Heading

Some stuff under that heading.

Level Two Heading

Some more stuff under that heading.

Level Three Heading

Let’s mix things up by adding in a list:

  1. Item One
  2. Item Two
  3. Item Three

How about an unsorted list?

  • milk
  • eggs
  • Earl Grey Tea

Don’t we have enough markup languages?

Markup languages tend to start simple, but rarely stay that way. When HTML was new, it was touted as being simple to write and human-readable, but people wanted more and more formatting and it turned into what it is today–great at display, but far, far from readable in its raw state.
Markdown is simple and readable and perfect for creating attractive and readable documentation.
Effectively, it’s plain text, so it doesn’t require a special editor. It’s a great fit for writing documentation.
GitHub, in fact, defaults to creating and displaying a file called README.md in their repositories.

It’s also worth noting that the site you are now reading was created in Markdown, using a special framework called Hexo.