Introduction to 3.3 – part 3
The 3.3 release is getting closer, as you can probably tell from the activity in the bug tracker and in the git repository. While the 3.3 development version is not ready for public testing yet, it’s time to tell you about another new, cool feature coming in 3.3:
Markdown syntax support!
Many of you have asked for a simpler syntax – especially for things like comments and issues, and specifically when it comes to things like adding simple new lines. As most of you probably know, we decided to use the mediawiki (MW) syntax globally when we introduced version 3. This means that all rich text items such as issue descriptions, wiki articles and comments would be written using the mediawiki syntax. However, it’s definitely true that using the MW syntax when composing comments is … well … not necessarily the best option.
Even though this is something I’ve wanted to fix, The Bug Genie still needs to retain the backwards compatibility with everything that has been created in version 3 up until now. So, to solve this, an alternate formatting syntax has been introduced for all rich text items – including wiki articles should you choose to want to use that (more on that later): Markdown.
Now, markdown is touted as a “more humanly readable” syntax (than what?), and you’ve probably seen it in use already if you’re using Github (note, though, that the markdown syntax in Github is “github flavored” and not totally “markdown standards compliant”). One of the improvements Github made in their specific flavor of markdown was to make every line break count. This means if you press enter in your text box, there will be a line break – which is probably what you meant. It’s not limited to that, though – TBG is using a full-fledged PHP markdown parser (PHP markdown lib) which means you’ll get full support for the regular markdown syntax as well as advanced markdown features.
Of course, to keep up with the advanced features of the wiki, we’ve had to extend the markdown syntax ourselves. Nothing big, but I’ll list the most notable extensions:
- As mentioned earlier, every line break counts – not as with the mediawiki syntax where only double line breaks counts (and they count as double linebreaks) or having to type “<br>” to get a linebreak.
- We’ve kept the issue autoparsing – writing “issue #12″, “bug report #1680″, etc. automatically turns into links
- Links and emails are automatically parsed, but we’ve also kept the category and internal linking syntax – [[Articlename]] and [[Articlename|Link text]] will turn into links to the articles specified
Some of you may still want to use the mediawiki syntax for your rich text content, and some of you may want to use the markdown syntax by default for issues and comments but prefer the more powerful mediawiki syntax for articles. You’ll be happy to know that this can be specified in your profile, and in all cases you can switch the specified syntax for any given item by using the syntax switcher as illustrated at the top.
What do you think of the new markdown syntax support? Does it solve your problems? Comment below!