Praising Textile

by Adriano Ferreira

There are nice markup languages out there. One of these is Textile. When writing the basic stuff, it lets you write uncluttered code (even with attributes, classes, ids). And when needed, you can jump the gun and write raw HTML.

You find Textile implementations in many programming languages, including the four P languages: PHP, Python, Perl and Ruby (the P language with R :).

Textile looks to me like a stripped HTML variant, one that gets rid of all those angle brackets. It makes me feel lighter. Such a piece of text seems just right to me.

h1. Header

A paragraph with a *bold phrase* and an _italic phrase_.

"Nice looking quotes"! Pretty ellipsis... and beautiful rendering of 2 x 2, one(TM), two(R), and others. I also enjoy footnotes[1], @pieces of code
in monotype@, and %{color:red}more%. Try to paste that code into the "Textile development page": .

fn1. Cool, isn't?

Who uses Textile? Do you feel the same as I do? Or am I wrong and these distinguishing features are just too common?

Update: fixed link mistake pointed by Tj.

And this is my first blog entry for O'Reilly. It's such a horrible thing to do something for the first time. I wish I started it by the second one and I hope you enjoy the topics here. Maybe I even try an introduction some other time.


2007-05-09 14:19:45
The Textile link is incorrect: is 404. It should be
2007-05-09 14:27:30
Interesting. I can't necessarily find a direct correlation for this in any of my current web based projects (I guess my love of XHTML makes me a glutton for punishment). However, I will definitely be thinking about this the next time I have to implement user comments or a forum. I've had to fix some pretty hellacious bugs due to the fact that users aren't good with HTML, so it breaks the rest of the page.

It feels like bbcode, on steroids!

2007-05-09 15:29:02
Textile is pretty common in most blog and wiki software now.

Until the GUI editors get better, we will have to do raw markup. So we might as well, have a decent markup that is as easy to read and non-obtrusive as possible.

2007-05-10 00:22:18
I tried Textile and didn't like it. It tries to be too smart and tends to think every single funny character is some kind of markup command.

Markdown is the spartan alternative to Textile, and looks even more natural in your text editor, but it's so slim that it's still missing things like tables and definition lists.

Lately, I'm liking reStructuredText (aka "reST").

Shawn Wheatley
2007-05-10 11:18:09
Another ReST fan here. I'm getting ready to launch my blog using this as my markup.
2007-05-10 18:47:18
Another +1 for reST.

It can be super-powerful, but doesn't have to encumber you w/ the details if you don't need it.

2007-05-11 01:03:49
I'm using Markdown and must say that the average user doesn't do any efforts to write Markdown code. So I'm planning to switch over to a regular HTML editor like TinyMCE. I realise it will - in some cases - produce crappy code, but it requires less efforts from the users and after all it's the user you want to make happy.
2007-05-15 03:30:48
Textile module in CPAN is very cool. But sadly Textile cannot handle unicode characters well. :-(