Tutorial :Compare and contrast the lightweight markup languages [closed]


Please identify the most popular lightweight markup languages and compare their strengths and weaknesses. These languages should be general-purpose markup for technical prose, such as for documentation (for example, Haml doesn't count).

See also: Markdown versus ReStructuredText


I know of three main languages used commonly in the greater programming and tech community: Textile, Markdown, and reStructuredText. All three can be learned in a couple of hours or "winged" with the cheat sheet nearby.


  • Used by Redmine and the Ruby community
  • 113 questions currently tagged on Stack Overflow
  • The most similar to HTML, but least readable source
  • Easiest nested lists of all three languages
  • Not understandable to non-programmers or the HTML-ignorant
  • Ideal for complex short documents (with links, nested lists, code, custom HTML); for example: short documentation, how-tos, blog or CMS content
  • Syntax reference


  • Doesn't seem to have a home language "community" but...
  • 1274 questions tagged on Stack Overflow*
  • Emphasizes source code readability, similar to email traditions
  • Straightforward HTML embedding (you just type the tags out)
  • No way to make tables besides embedding HTML
  • You know it already if you know Stack Overflow
  • Easy to learn if you already know reStructuredText
  • Automatic email address obfuscation for the format <address@example.com> (with angle brackets)
  • Syntax reference

reStructuredText (A.K.A. ReST)

  • Popular in the Python community
  • 285 questions tagged on Stack Overflow
  • A bit persnickety about whitespace and alignment if you ask me
  • Lists (especially nested lists) and paragraphs always seem to get in fights
  • Readable by non-programmers
  • Only format which can build a table of contents (via an extension in the Python reference implementation)
  • Directly converts to other formats like PDF and XML
  • Ideal for large documents with lots of prose (e.g. an alternative to docbook for a user manual)
  • Syntax reference


You might also consider asciidoc

  • relatively readable markup
  • straightforward command-line use
  • some might perceive it as relatively 'picky' (vs. flexible) with respect to syntax
  • docbook and (x)html output


The Wikipedia page on lightweight markup languages has a good comparison between the various options, as well as showing syntax for common uses (headings, bold, italics, etc.)


I am attempting to cover all the various lightweight markup languages here:


As you can see, it started with "how can I make a secure blog" - i.e. one that generates static HTML, and I found myself ensnared in markup languages, templating systems, etc.


I refocused only on LWMLs with python implementations, and theyre here:


So far I've tried markdown and ReST, and I like the latter better for anything but HTML snippets embedded in other pages. Tables, cross refs, indirect links, etc...


for documentation? how about doxygen?
I've use it for some of c/c++ project that I need to documentize. Even you can 'abuse' it just like doxygen author uses for doxygen documentation

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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