From: IETF Applications Area Working Group (APPSAWG) To: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Response Contact: email@example.com Technical Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Purpose: Request for input Attachments: (none) Body:
The Applications Area Working Group (APPSAWG) of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has taken up a proposed work item to register a new Media Type,
text/markdown, for the purposes of identifying content in the Markdown format. The current version of the document can be viewed here:
We know Sean Leonard approached the Markdown community about starting this work previously (see http://six.pairlist.net/pipermail/markdown-discuss/2014-July/thread.html) and some of the questions that were discussed in that thread are also being asked in the working group. In the interests of ensuring that any choices we make will not conflict with the positions and course of the Markdown community, APPSAWG would like to solicit feedback on a few important questions.
Part of the impetus here is that an unregistered and unspecified media type
text/x-markdown appears to be in use. This work seeks to formalize this use and register the name.
Our questions for the Markdown community:
We understand there is not a standard Markdown format, but rather a number of variants based on one original proposal. This leads us to wonder how a consumer would be expected to interpret this media type once it is registered. Typically, a media type registration includes a reference to a single, stable, definition document, but we are not aware of such a thing for Markdown. Can or should this work proceed without one?
Note that the IETF has no intention to undertake the work of publishing an RFC that contains a Markdown syntax or otherwise blessing any particular Markdown variant, or calling one of them “standard". Any Markdown definition document(s) would be referenced by this work and would be external to the IETF.
One proposal to address this issue is to include a parameter that indicates which flavor of Markdown should be applied in order to translate the input when the media type is encountered. For example:
Content-Type: text/markdown; flavor="foobar"
This would likely necessitate a registry of known variants and their respective defining documents so that a consumer has implementation guidance. This puts some burden on the Markdown community to begin formally documenting and registering all of its variants that might use this media type.
The solution in (2) above further raises the question of whether there should be a default variant (i.e., what to do if no
flavorclause is present), and if so, which one should be the default. If there is no default, then how should a consumer interpret the absence of the
At the same time, it has been observed that regardless of which variant is in use as input, any Markdown processor will generally produce something useful as output. Given this, is it necessary to know the
flavorin use at all? Put another way: Rather than being concerned with variants, should
text/markdownmerely be a hint to consumers that the content is in some Markdown variant, and beyond that, caveat implementer?
Does the Markdown community have any alternative suggestions in response to any of these questions?
We look forward to your replies, hopefully within the next several weeks, which can be sent to the response and technical contacts listed in the header of this liaison. Markdown community participants are also invited to subscribe and reply to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to address the entire working group directly.
for the Applications Area Working Group, IETF