Throughout my design career I've always had a hard time with web design because I am a visual person. My mind works better on the right side. It's also the reason I suck at math.
I tried to work with programs like Dreamweaver and Fireworks for their WYSIWYG interfaces and their automatic generation of HTML and all the other web languages. But I always ended up taking forever to make something exactly the way I wanted. Then when I started writing blog posts I felt I was taking too long to format text and insert links. I was trying to format as I wrote.
And then things would act weird. The italics would continue on to the next line, which I wanted in plain text. Clicking the WYSIWYG buttons wouldn't help. Then I'd have to go into the raw HTML to make sure the italics code was surrounding the correct stuff. By the time I fixed all the glitches I'd forget what I was going to write next. My fact that my memory is terrible doesn't help either.
Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah...
Then I Discovered Markdown
Markdown is a wonderful language created by John Gruber of daring fireball fame.
Markdown is simply an easier way to interpret the html language in a more readable format making it easy to just write.
<p data-preserve-html-node="true"><strong data-preserve-html-node="true">bold text</strong></p>
<p data-preserve-html-node="true"><em data-preserve-html-node="true">Italics</em></p>
<p data-preserve-html-node="true"><a data-preserve-html-node="true" href="http://daringfireball.net/">daring fireball</a></p>
Turns into this
Either way gives you this result
Which would you rather read?
With markdown you can format text, create links, tables, and image links.
Why Is Markdown Such A Revolutionary Way Of Writing?
Markdown can be written on any device because it's not in a proprietary format like a Microsoft Word document (.docx). It's in good old plain text (.txt) which can be opened in just about any platform and isn't constrained to a single program.
You don't need to worry about having the same version of Microsoft Word to make sure that other people can read your documents. All you need is a simple plain text application to write it and then a markdown compatible app to translate it to the web.
I know what you're thinking, "You just said I didn't have to worry about using specific software". First of all, I didn't say it with an attitude. Second, I said that there isn't a monopoly on software that translates markdown to formatted text; quite the contrary. New markdown apps are popping up all over the place for every platform and many are free.
You can find all the little nuances of Markdown here at Daring Fireball and when you want to get more advanced in Markdown I highly recommend Markdown by David Sparks and Eddie Smith.