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Development Tools GitHub Basics Working By Yourself Mastering Markdown

Why Does Github Use Markdown?

I've noticed that the Readme file is a .md (Markdown) file, and I just watched a video where the instructor wrote her To-Do list in the Github Issues area in Markdown. Why does Github use Markdown? Is Markdown simply an option among many languages or is it the preferred or even exclusive language (meaning no others are allowed) of Github? If so, why? Thanks for your help!

3 Answers

Darren Joy
Darren Joy
19,573 Points

Markdown's not really a language in the same sense that python is a language. It's just a way to take plain text and make it so you can add code formatted correctly.. and italics, headers, links without as much effort as coding it in html directly or something like that..

For instance at the bottom of this text answer field is a link to Markdown Cheatsheet.. and you can add all kind of fun stuff with Markdown into this text editor. Which is what allows me to do this:

<h1>Add code</h1>
  <p> all kind of other stuff too.</p>
  <p>GitHub uses it on the read.me files</p>
  <p>so that instead of plain text it can look formatted and nice and include applicable code snippets</p>

a couple of *'s around a word and it is then bold

a single* and it's italics

from What is markdown?

Markdown was made by John Gruber, and he says…

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

Jason Wist
Jason Wist
2,483 Points

It's an easy way to format text for web browsers without having to use HTML tags.

Markdown is one of the more popular markup languages.

Christian van Lierop
Christian van Lierop
13,758 Points

// grumpy old man mode on Yes, since everyone using these web technologies already knows HTML, let's create yet ANOTHER language to do the exact same thing. Because, of course, less characters equals more easy... even over something that you already know... right?