Markdown is a markup language for creating formatted text using a plain-text editor. Its key design goal is readability: the language is readable as-is, without an abundance of tags or formatting instructions. This in contrast to HTML, for example, which has obvious tags and formatting instructions that make it harder to read for humans.
Markdown is widely used in:
- blogging and CMS software (like WordPress),
- instant messaging and chat (like Discord),
- online forums,
- collaborative software,
- documentation systems,
- readme files (GitHub repositories)
John Gruber and Aaron Swartz created Markdown in 2004 as a markup language that is readable and appealing to human readers in its source code form. The result: it generally improves the readability of your plain text instead of worsening it. However, it can also be converted to other formats, like HTML, PDF, or RTF, because of the used conventions.
Markdown’s main inspiration was the existing convention for marking up plain text in e-mail, although it also draws from earlier markup languages like reStructuredText.