Using the Markdown plugin
In creating my blog I wanted to be able to go beyond plain text entries but avoid having to hand-code HTML. I looked at various schemes for marking up plain text to indicate the presence of links, ordered and unordered lists, preformatted text, etc.
In particular I was familar with Textile and Pod from having used them in my Blosxom annotations project. (I didn't look at all of these, but some other entrants in the "plain text markup" space include ReStructured Text, Texturize, and the various implementations of text markup for Wikis.)
After looking at some alternatives I have to say that Markdown is the best thing of its kind I've yet found; I really like it and plan to use it exclusively on my blog. I liked Markdown (and SmartyPants) so well that I wanted to show my gratitude in a more concrete way, so I made a $25 donation through the Daring Fireball site. (I'm a Mac user so the site is of interest to me for other reasons, and I can make use of a site membership.)
Other than having one bug that I patched, the only other change
I'd like to see in Markdown is an easy way to switch dynamically
between generating HTML and XHTML; this would be useful if I ever
decided to revive my attempts at doing content negotiation and serving
up both HTML and XHTML flavours. As it happens this should be almost a
trivial change to implement, since there is only one line in Markdown
that is different for HTML vs. XHTML, and one could add a conditional
statement to that line to check the value of
do the appropriate thing. (Now that I think of it, I should do this
anyway, since I suspect it might needed for the Atom flavour.)
UPDATE: I did in fact create a second Markdown patch for dynamically switching between HTML and XML empty element suffixes based on the flavour currently in effect. I use this for my Atom feed.