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Lightweight markup language

A lightweight markup language is a markup language with a simple syntax, designed to be easy for a human to enter with a simple text editor, and easy to read in its raw form.

Lightweight markup languages are used in applications where people might be expected to read the document source as well as the rendered output. For instance, a person downloading a software library might prefer to read the documentation in a text editor instead of a browser.

A further application is for entry in web-based publishing, such as weblogs and wikis, where the input interface is a simple text box. The server software converts the input to a common document markup language like HTML or XHTML.

History

Lightweight markup languages were originally used on text-only displays which could not display characters in italics or bold, so informal methods to convey this information had to be developed. This formatting choice was naturally carried forth to plain-text email communications.

List of lightweight markup languages

The following is a partial list of lightweight markup languages.

Presentation oriented

Almost Free Text ()

Almost Plain Text ()

AsciiDoc ()

atx (markup language) ()

BBCode

BlogMe ()

Creole (proposed common wiki markup)

CrossMark

Deplate ()

Epytext ()

EtText ()

Grutatext ()

Haml ()

jemdoc ()

JsonML ()

Markdown ()

WakabaMark ()

Muse Mode () of Emacs

o7aCode ()

Pandoc ()

Perl Text To HTML ()

POD

reStructuredText ()

Ruby Document format

Setext ()

SiSU ()

Skribe ()

Spip ()

Structured text

Stx2any()

Texy! ()

Textile

Terence's Markup Language ()

txt2tags ()

UDO ()

Wikitext

Xilize ()

Yodl ()

Data serialization oriented

CurlyML

JSON ()

OGDL

PL ()

Record-Jar ()

Simple Declarative Language ()

YAML ()

Comparison of lightweight markup language syntax

Text/font-face formatting

Comparing text formatting syntax
LanguageBoldItalicMonospace (teletype)Notes
Almost Free Text_bold text_

''italic text''

|monospace text|

Formatting will not occur across line breaks unless the first formatting character is the first character on the line.

BBCodebold text

italic text

[code]monospace text[/code]

Formatting works across line breaks.

Creole**bold text**

//italic text

{{{monospace text}}}

Triple curly braces are for nowiki which is optionally monospace in Creole (the choice of the implementor). Future Creole additions may introduce double hash marks (##) for monospace.

Markdown**bold text**

or__bold text__

*italic text*

or_italic text_

Non-monospace text

monospace text more monospace textInline `monospaced` text.

Markdown doesn't use bold and italic tags, but rather em (typically italic) and strong (typically bold) tags.

Monospace text is created by indenting that line 4 spaces or one tab character, or enclosing text in backticks: `monospaces`.

o7aCode'''bold text'''

''italic text''

°°°

monospace textmonospace text°°°

o7aCode uses em (typically italic) and strong (typically bold) tags.

All attributes of all markups can be filled in.Monospace text can be colored up by GeSHi.

PODB

I

C

Indented text is also shown as monospaced code.

reStructuredText**bold text**

*italic text*

``monospace text``

Textile*bold text*

or**bold text**

_italic text_

or__italic text__

@monospace text@

Textile uses em (typically italic) and strong (typically bold) tags

on single symbols, and i and b tags on double symbols.

Texy!**bold text**

*italic text*or

//italic text

`monospace text`

Texy uses by default em (typically italic) and strong (typically bold) tags. It is possible to configure library to use another tags.

txt2tags**bold text**

//italic text

``monospace text``

MediaWiki'''bold text'''

''italic text''

monospace text


Section headers

Comparing section header formatting
LanguageFormatNotes
Almost Free Text* Level 1 Header

** Level 2 Header

Up to 4 levels

BBCode

Does not support section headers

Markdown# Level 1 Header

## Level 2 HeaderorLevel 1 Header==============Level 2 Header--------------

It's possible to optionally "close" the #-style headers with an equal number of #'s. The #-style headers support up to 6 levels. The = and - style headers support only the two shown.

o7aCode= Level 3 Header =

== Level 4 Header ==

The title first level can be set (by default : 3).

POD=head1 Level 1 heading

=head2 Level 2 heading

reStructuredTextChapter 1 Title

===============Section 1.1 Title-----------------Subsection 1.1.1 Title~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Section 1.2 Title-----------------Chapter 2 Title===============

Any of the following characters can be used as the "underline": = - ` : ' " ~
_ * + # < >. The same character must be used for the same indentation level and may not be used for a new indentation level.

Textileh1. Level 1 Header

h2. Level 2 Header

Up to 6 levels

Texy!### Level 1 Header

## Level 2 HeaderorLevel 1 Header==============Level 2 Header--------------

It's possible to optionally "close" the #-style headers with an equal number of #'s. The #-style headers support up to 6 levels. The underlined style headers support four levels (### *** === ----). Real levels are calculated dynamically.

txt2tags= Level 1 Header =

== Level 2 Header ===== Level 3 Header ===

Using + characters instead of = characters creates numbered headers (the default being unnumbered).

MediaWiki== Level 2 Header ==

=== Level 3 Header ===

= is available for level 1 header, but its use is discouraged in Wikipedia (reserved for page title). More = are possible, up to 6.


Link Syntax

Comparing link syntax
LanguageSyntaxNotes
Almost Free Text[Link text (http://www.example.com)]

Also has support for targeting references within the same text, not just URLs.

BBCode[url]http://www.example.com[/url]

[url=http://www.example.com]Link text[/url]

Some BBCode implementations can auto-parse URLs as well and convert them to a elements.

Markdown[Link text](http://www.example.com "optional title attribute")

or[Link text]and elsewhere: http://www.example.com "optional title attribute"

Allows for an optional title attribute.

o7aCode[http://o7aCode.net/ :: official website of o7aCode :: en]o7aCode

[http://o7aCode.net/]o7aCode[]http://o7aCode.net/[http://o7aCode.net/ ;; id = id_for_the_link :: official website]o7aCodeLightweight markup language...

All attributes can be filled in (href, title, lang ...).

The last example allows to make a link to a wikipedia article.

PODL

LL

The core POD standard does not support external links with titles.

reStructuredText`Link text `_

Can also be done in a non-embedded format which may be seen as more readable.

Textile"Link text (optional title attribute)":http://www.example.com

or"Link text":aliasand elsewhere[alias (optional title attribute)]http://www.example.com

Allows for an optional title attribute.

Texy!"Link text .(optional title)[opt. class or ID]{opt. style}":http://www.example.com

or"Link text":aliasand elsewhere[alias]: http://www.example.com .(optional title)[opt. class or ID]{opt. style}

Texy! modifiers allows for an optional title attribute, CSS classes, ID, inline style and HTML element attributes. Example: "Link .(title)[class#id]{color: blue;rel:nofollow}"

txt2tags[[Link text www.example.com]]

MediaWiki[[Internal page]]

[[Internal page|Displayed text]][http://www.example.com][http://www.example.com External link]

Wikitext can auto-parse URLs as well and convert them to a elements.


Comparison of language features

A lot of this was taken from http://bluebones.net/2005/02/humane-text-formats/

Comparing language features
LanguageHTML export toolHTML import toolTablesLink titlesclass attributeid attributeExportable formatsLicense
Almost Free TextYes

No

No

No

No

No

HTML, LaTeX, lout, DocBook, RTF

Clarified Artistic License

BBCodeNo

No

No

No

No

No

?

?

MarkdownYes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

XHTML

BSD-style & GPL (both)

o7aCodeYes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

XHTML HTML ...

?

PODYes

?

No

Yes

?

?

HTML, man, LaTeX, plain text

Artistic License, Perl's license

reStructuredTextYes

No

Yes

No

Yes

auto

Latex, XML, PseudoXML, HTML

Python License

TextileYes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XHTML

Textile License

Texy!Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XHTML or HTML (always valid wellformed code)

GNU GPL v2 License

txt2tagsYes

?

Yes

Yes

?

?

HTML, XHTML, SGML, LaTeX, Lout, UNIX man, MoinMoin, MagicPoint, PageMaker

GPL

MediaWikiYes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

?

GNU GPL




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