I suspect this might have already been brought up somewhere, but I can’t find any threads that seem to be related, so I’m posting a new topic.
Is there a good term to use that means “simple markup language for formatting text, a la Markdown”? I.e., a term that encompasses all similar markup languages? For example, if we had a term (let’s say it’s “SML” for “simple markup language”), we could say “Markdown is one of the earliest SMLs; CommonMark is a standardized and extensible SML based on Markdown.”
The word “markdown” (without the uppercase “M”) seems like it could be used in such a way; the relationship to the generic term “markup” is intuitive and self-descriptive, and I suspect there are people who already use the term in this way. Gruber, however, has made it clear that he thinks of “Markdown” as something that, in some sense, belongs to him. But he also seems to be okay with the existence of “flavors” of Markdown (such as Github-flavored Markdown) that don’t actually fit his original spec, which would seem to imply that markdown is a more “generic” term than it would seem at first.
One other drawback of the term “markdown” is that googling it leads to…well, Markdown, rather than an explanation of SMLs (let alone CommonMark). This is, of course, a fairly biased reason not to use the term, though.
In any case, I don’t think there’s necessarily a “right” answer to this question; I do, however, think that such a term would be a useful piece of vocab, and I think that as a community working together to create a spec for a SML that (IMO) has a good chance of becoming one of the most widely-used SMLs (if not the most widely-used), we have a prime opportunity to choose a particular term to use and promote.
I can’t think of any good alternatives to “markdown,” so I’ll just spitball some bad ones to get the ball rolling:
- textmark (note that “TextMarks” is an unrelated SMS product, though…)
- marktext (because it’s “markup” text that looks like text)
- textup (same idea)
- SML (pronounced “simul”) (yes, it’s terrible and I hate it)
- BML (pronounced “bimul”; the B is for “basic”)
- simplemark (sounds too much like yet another M******…)
- cleantext (because the text looks “clean” regardless of whether it’s rendered or in text-only form; also sounds a bit like “cleartext,” which is possibly a good thing because that is, in some ways, an analogous concept)
- easytext, easymark… these all sound too much like brand-names to me…