Looking Out To Sea

Octopress uses a non-conformant Markdown processor as standard

I have just discovered, while adding an about page to this blog, that the standard Markdown processor used by Octopress (called RDiscount) doesn’t conform to the Markdown standard. I mean in particular the reference-style links, which I happen to be quite fond of. You should be able to include < and > characters around URLs like so:

[eg]: <http://www.example.com> "The canonical example page"

Instead of stripping out these optional characters RDiscount passes them on and they get translated into HTML entities (&lt;) which causes further steps in the chain to choke. Ultimately you end up with a very broken web page.

A simple An [example link] [eg] turns into the following mess — oh dear.

<p>An <a href="&lt;http://www.example.com>&#8221; 
         title=&#8221;The canonical example page&#8221;>example link</a>.</p>

Notice how the opening quote never gets closed? The rest of that paragraph is the href for that link! So I will have to learn to omit the angle brackets:

[eg]: http://www.example.com "The canonical example page"

PS. While writing this post I discovered that Pygments.rb (which does syntax highlighting for Octopress) doesn’t support Markdown as a highlightable language (fair enough, can’t cover everything) — but also that it crashes if you name a language it doesn’t know. Not having a good day.

 ``` markdown I will kill your highlighter
 [eg]: <http://www.example.com> "The canonical example page"