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FLETCHER T. . PENNEY
MULTIMARKDOWN
USER’S GUIDE
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Contents
MultiMarkdownUser’sGuide
4
Introduction
5
ThePhilosophyBehindMultiMarkdown
9
Installation
12
HowtoUseMultiMarkdown
15
Syntax
26
“Hacking”MultiMarkdown
52
KnownIssues
54
ThingsYettoBeDone
56
MoreInformation
57
Acknowledgements
58
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Merge, split PDF files. Insert, delete PDF pages. Edit, update, delete PDF annotations from PDF file. Print. Support for all the print modes in Acrobat PDF.
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multimarkdownuser’sguide
3
ReleaseNotes
61
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documents in .NET class applications independently, without using other external third-party dependencies like Adobe Acrobat. PowerPoint to PDF Conversion.
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MultiMarkdownUser’sGuide
Version4.7.1
Revised2015-06-23
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Introduction
Astheworldgoesmulti-platformwithallofthenewmobileoperating
systems,MultiMarkdownprovidesaneasywaytoshareformatting
betweenallofmydevices.It’seasytolearn(evenforusmortals)and
immediatelyuseful.
—DavidSparks,MacSparky.com
1
1http://MacSparky.com/
WhatisMarkdown?
TounderstandwhatMultiMarkdownis,youfirstshouldbefamiliar
withMarkdown
2
.ThebestdescriptionofwhatMarkdowniscomes
2http://daringfireball.net/projects/
markdown/
fromJohnGruber’sMarkdownwebsite:
Markdownisatext-to-HyperTextMarkupLanguage(HTML)con-
versiontoolforwebwriters.Markdownallowsyoutowriteusingan
easy-to-read,easy-to-writeplaintextformat,thenconvertittostruc-
turallyvalidXHTML(orHTML).
Thus,“Markdown”istwothings:(1)aplaintextformattingsyntax;
and(2)asoftwaretool,writteninPerl,thatconvertstheplaintext
formattingtoHTML.SeetheSyntaxpagefordetailspertainingto
Markdown’sformattingsyntax.Youcantryitout,rightnow,usingthe
onlineDingus.
TheoverridingdesigngoalforMarkdown’sformattingsyntaxis
tomakeitasreadableaspossible.TheideaisthataMarkdown-
formatteddocumentshouldbepublishableas-is,asplaintext,without
lookinglikeit’sbeenmarkedupwithtagsorformattinginstructions.
WhileMarkdown’ssyntaxhasbeeninfluencedbyseveralexisting
text-to-HTMLfilters,thesinglebiggestsourceofinspirationforMark-
down’ssyntaxistheformatofplaintextemail.—JohnGruber
3
3http://daringfireball.net/projects/
markdown/
WhatisMultiMarkdown?
Markdownisgreat,butitlackedafewfeaturesthatwouldallowitto
workwithdocuments,ratherthanjustpiecesofawebpage.
IwroteMultiMarkdowninordertoleverageMarkdown’ssyntax,
buttoextendittoworkwithcompletedocumentsthatcouldulti-
matelybeconvertedfromtextintootherformats,includingcomplete
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as a kind of compensation for limitations (other documents are compatible, including PDF, TIFF, MS on slide with no more plug-ins needed like Acrobat or Adobe
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6 fletchert. . penney
HTMLdocuments,LaTeX,PDF,ODF,oreven(shudder)Microsoft
Worddocuments.
Inadditiontotheabilitytoworkwithcompletedocumentsand
conversiontootherformats,theMarkdownsyntaxwaslackinga
fewotherthings.MichelFortinaddedafewadditionalsyntaxfea-
tureswhenwritingPHPMarkdownExtra
4
.Someofhisideaswere
4http://www.michelf.com/projects/
php-markdown/extra/
implementedandexpandedoninMultiMarkdown,inadditionto
includingfeaturesnotavailableinotherMarkdownimplementations.
Thesefeaturesincludetables,footnotes,citationsupport,imageand
linkattributes,cross-references,mathsupport,andmore.
JohnGrubermaydisagreewithme,butIreallydidtrytostick
withhisproclaimedvisionwheneverIaddedanewsyntaxformat
toMultiMarkdown.ThequalitythatattractedmetoMarkdownthe
mostwasitscleanformat.Readingaplaintextdocumentwrittenin
Markdowniseasy.Itmakessense,anditlookslikeitwasdesigned
forpeople,notcomputers. Totheextentpossible,Itriedtokeepthis
sameconceptinmindwhenworkingonMultiMarkdown.
Imayormaynothavesucceededinthis....
IntheveinofMarkdown’smultipledefinitions,youcanthinkof
MultiMarkdownas:
1. Aprogramtoconvertplaintexttoafullyformatteddocument.
2. Thesyntaxusedintheplaintexttodescribehowtoconvertittoa
completedocument.
WhyshouldIuseMultiMarkdown?
WritingwithMultiMarkdownallowsyoutoseparatethecontentand
structureofyourdocumentfromtheformatting.Youfocusonthe
actualwriting,withouthavingtoworryaboutmakingthestylesof
yourchapterheadersmatch,orensuringtheproperspacingbetween
paragraphs.Andwithalittleforethought,asingleplaintextdocu-
mentcaneasilybeconvertedintomultipleoutputformatswithout
havingtorewritetheentirethingorformatitbyhand.Evenbetter,
youdon’thavetowritein“computer-ese”tocreatewellformatted
HTMLorLaTeXcommands.Youjustwrite,MultiMarkdowntakes
careoftherest.
Forexample,insteadofwriting:
<p>In order to o create e valid
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML">HTML</a>, , you
need properly coded syntax x that can be e cumbersome e for
&#8220;non-programmers&#8221; to o write. . Sometimes, , you
just want to o easily y make certain n words s <strong>bold
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multimarkdownuser’sguide
7
</strong>, and d certain n words s <em>italicized</em> without
having to o remember the e syntax. Additionally, for r example,
creating lists:</p>
<ul>
<li>should be e easy</li>
<li>should not t involve e programming</li>
</ul>
Yousimplywrite:
In order r to o create e valid [HTML], , you need properly
coded syntax that can be e cumbersome e for
"non-programmers" to write. Sometimes, , you just want
to easily y make certain n words
**
bold
**
, and certain
words
*
italicized
*
without having g to o remember the
syntax. Additionally, for example, , creating lists:
*
should be e easy
*
should not t involve programming
[HTML]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML
Additionally,youcanwriteaMultiMarkdowndocumentinany
texteditor,onanyoperatingsystem,andknowthatitwillbecom-
patiblewithMultiMarkdownonanyotheroperatingsystemand
processedintothesameoutput.Asaplaintextformat,yourdocu-
mentswillbesafenomatterhowmanytimesyouswitchcomputers,
operatingsystems,orfavoriteapplications.Youwillalwaysbeable
toopenandedityourdocuments,evenwhentheversionofthesoft-
wareyouoriginallywrotetheminislonggone.
ThesefeatureshavepromptedseveralpeopletouseMultiMark-
downintheprocessofwritingtheirbooks,theses,andcountless
otherdocuments.
TherearemanyotherreasonstouseMultiMarkdown,butIwon’t
getintoallofthemhere.
Bytheway—theMultiMarkdownwebsiteis,ofcourse,created
usingMultiMarkdown.ToviewtheMMDsourceforanypage,
add
.txt
totheendoftheURL.IftheURLendswith
/
,thenadd
index.txt
totheendinstead.ThemainMultiMarkdownpage,for
example,wouldbehttp://fletcherpenney.net/multimarkdown/
index.txt.
8 fletchert. . penney
WhatAretheDifferentVersionsofMultiMarkdown?
ThefirstrealversionofMultiMarkdownwasversion2.Itwasamod-
ificationoftheoriginal
Markdown.pl
script.Itworkedfine,butwas
slowwhenparsinglongerdocuments.Theplaintextwasconverted
toHTML,andthenXSLTwasusedtoconverttheHTMLtootherfor-
mats(primarilyLaTeX).Overtime,maintainingthecomplicatednest
ofregularexpressionsbecamemoredifficult,andabetterapproach
wasneeded.
MultiMarkdown3(aka
peg-multimarkdown
)wasbuiltusingJohn
MacFarlane’speg-markdown
5
asabase.Itwasmuchfasterthan
5https://github.com/jgm/peg-
markdown
version2,andtheunderlyingPEG(parsingexpressiongrammar)
madethingsmorereliable.Therewerestillissuesandlimitations
(someinheritedfrompeg-markdown,butmostweremyerrors),
whichleadtothedevelopmentofversion4.
MultiMarkdown4
6
wasacompleterewrite,keepingonlythePEG
6http://github.com/fletcher/
MultiMarkdown-4
andafewutilityroutinesfromMMDv3.Thisreleasefixedmemory
leaksandotherproblemsfromearlierMMDreleases;itissafetouse
inmultithreadedapplicationsandaddsmanynewfeatures. Byfar,
it’sthebestversiontodate!
WhereisthisGuideKept?
Thisguidehasbeenrewrittenwiththefollowingchanges:
• Thesourceisnowinthe
gh
_
pages
branchoftheMultiMarkdown
project
7
.Youcansubmitchangesasapullrequest,orbywriting
7https://github.com/fletcher/
MultiMarkdown-4
me.
• Youcanaccessthisinformationonthewebathttp://fletcher.github.io/
MultiMarkdown-4
• ThesourceitselfisacollectionofMultiMarkdowntextdocuments
thatusethetransclusionfeaturestocreateamasterdocument
fromtheindividualsourcefiles.Thesedocumentscanbeviewed
inthebrowserasHTML,ordownloadedasPDForOpenDocu-
mentfiles.
ThePhilosophyBehindMultiMarkdown
MyvisionforMultiMarkdownwasinspiredbymyunderstandingof
whatmadeMarkdownsowonderful.Markdownissimple.It’seasy
toremember.It’sintuitivetoread.Markdownavoidsthe“everything
butthekitchensink”problem.
MygoalforMultiMarkdownisthatitshouldbeuseablefor80%
ofthedocumentsthat80%ofpeoplewrite.Obviouslythatisnota
preciseestimate,buttheideaisthatmostpeoplecanwritemostof
theirdocumentsusingit.SomepeoplecanwriteeverythinginMMD.
SomepeoplecanwriteverylittleinMMD.MultiMarkdown(by
itself)wouldnotbeverygoodforwritingacomicbook,forexample.
It’sperfectforwritinganovel.
AcentraltenetofMultiMarkdownisthatthefocusisoncontent,
notpresentation.Ihonestlycouldn’tcarewhetheryouwanttouse
Arial,Helvetica,orComicSansforyourmasterpiece.Thepresenta-
tion/styling/appearanceisforyoutodecide.Youpickthefonts.You
pickthecolors. WhatIcareaboutwithMultiMarkdownisthatmost
(notnecessarilyall)ofthemeaningofthedocumentisrepresented—
thisisalist,thatisatable,thisisatop-levelheading,etc.
AwellwrittenMultiMarkdowndocumentwilllookreasonably
goodwhetheryououtputtoHTML,LaTeX,OpenDocument,etc.It
mightnotlookperfect.Apagemightbreakataninopportuneplace.
ThetitlepageofaLaTeXdocumentdoesn’thaveanexactanalogyin
HTML.HTMLdoesn’thandlepagebreakswell.
Ifyou’rewritingyourthesis,publishingabook,orsubmittinga
documenttotheboardofdirectors—byallmeanswriteinMulti-
Markdown.Focusonthecontentandoverallstructure.Andwhen
you’reready,converttoyourdesiredoutputformat.Proofread.And
whenyou’resurethatyoulikewhatyou’vegot,thenfocusonthe
aesthetics.Insertapagebreak.Tweakfonts. Gowild.Butdoitina
toolappropriatefortheformatyou’reusing.Thismightbeagood
programmer’stexteditorforHTMLandCSS.ItmightbeLyX
8
.It
8http://www.lyx.org/
mightbeLibreOffice
9
.
9http://www.libreoffice.org/
10 fletchert. . penney
ThePurposeofMultiMarkdown
IntheyearssinceMultiMarkdownwasfirstreleased,I’vereceived
countlessemailsofallkinds.Agroupstandsoutthatseemstopoint
toaphilosophicaldifferencebetweentypesofusers.
Computersarewonderfulfordoingthetedioussortsofthingsthat
humanstendtonotenjoyandtosuckat.Forexample,Idon’twant
tohavetoaddallthecolumnsinaspreadsheetbyhand.That’swhat
computersarefor.Conversely,Idon’twanttoreadanovelwrittenby
acomputer(atleastnotyet...)
AsappliedtoMultiMarkdown,it’spurposeistohandlethete-
diumofapplyingrepetitiveformattingrulestotext.Forexample,
havingtowrapeverysingleparagraphin<
p
>tagsforawebsiteis
reallytedious.Thecomputershouldbeabletohandlethateasily.
Buttheusershouldstillunderstandwhythose<
p
>tagsarenec-
essary.ThegoalofMultiMarkdownisnottosay,“Don’tworryyour
prettylittleheadaboutcomplicatedthingslikeHTMLorLaTeX.”The
goalistoallowyoutolearnandappreciatethingslikeHTMLand
LaTeXwithoutmostofthetediumthatgoesalongwithmarkingupa
documentbyhand.
MultiMarkdownisnotamagical“blackbox”thatconvertsplain
texttoHTMLwithalotofhand-wavingand“paynoattentiontothe
manbehindthecurtain.”Programsthatusethisapproachtendto
resultincrappyoutput(e.g. Microsoftproducts,mostappstocreate
webpages“foryou”,etc.)
Sowhenyou’retryingtodosomethingfancy,ortryingtotrouble-
shootaproblem,startattheend.LookattheHTML/LaTeX/whatever
thatisgeneratedandseewhat’sgoingonatafundamentallevel.
Onceyouunderstandthat,thenlookatwhatMultiMarkdownis
doing.Ibelieveyou’llhaveaneasiertimesolvingproblems,and
probablylearnathingortwoalongtheway....
FeatureRequests
Ioftengetfeaturerequests.Somerequestsarereallygoodideasand
Iimplementthem.SomearereallygoodideasandIdon’timplement
them.Some,however,missthepointofMultiMarkdownentirely.
Icompletelyunderstandthatsomewhereoutthere,somebody’s
lifewouldbecompleteifMultiMarkdownhadafeaturethatdrew
apictureofabunnyafterevery15thwordofaMultiMarkdown
document. Butthatfeaturewouldbeabsolutelyuselesstoeveryone
elseontheplanet.Addenoughofthosesortsoffeatures,andyou
endupwithMicrosoftWord.WhichIamsureistheonlyapplication
thatsomepeopleareabletouse,preciselybecauseitdrawsbunnies,
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