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    Markdown is “good enough” and that’s why many people use it.

    For more complex documents there is AsciiDoc/DocBook, then LaTex. For websites, obviously, HTML/CSS. For documentation, SGML/man pages… and let’s not forget Word/Openoffice, although it’s not plain text.

    Markdown is the Google Docs of text files: good enough for most of the use cases. I don’t think it needs alternatives, because it is the alternative. Pro users already have their preferred document toolchain

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      There are a substantial number of Pro users not really happy with their document toolchain, though. I see more and more academics using some variant of Markdown to write papers, because it feels more uncluttered than writing in LaTeX (and to people outside of areas of math/science that already use LaTeX, less weird than learning LaTeX). This is just about possible with the pandoc version of Markdown that includes citation support, but still a bit of a hassle, which is what this post seems to be about.

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      Although it seems lesser known, AsciiDoc should probably be mentioned. As in the article, while Markdown can be seen as syntax sugar for HTML, AsciiDoc is like syntax sugar for DocBook. It supports the full range of things that are required in more long-form writing like footnotes, cross-references, external include files, and bibliographies. I’ve been using it to write a tech book for Manning and have been pretty pleased. The syntax overhead is similar to Markdown and in some cases the two formats use the same notation.

      The two implementations that I know about are the original, and asciidoctor. A big bummer, for me at least, is that AsciiDoc isn’t an input format to pandoc. This means there’s no clear way into that swiss-army knife world.

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        A big bummer, for me at least, is that AsciiDoc isn’t an input format to pandoc. This means there’s no clear way into that swiss-army knife world.

        DocBook is though, so you could do asciidoc -o - file.txt | pandoc -f docbook -t [whatever] :-)

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        The only time I use Markdown is when I’m interacting with GitHub, Otherwise LaTeX is just far more superior, I can convert from tex files to pretty much any other format I need.

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          Just use Org Mode. It is all around vastly superior to Markdown.

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            Am I missing something? How does org mode address the example of i vs em vs cite?

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              You can add a citation type in org-mode if you’re clever (or find someone else that has) which properly converts to LaTeX with bibtex and all that jazz.

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                I have to hunt down a citation mechanism? I’m fine with LaTeX for now, then.

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                  This is clearly for people who do not want to use latex directly. And even with latex, the first time doing citations in it will be a lot of hunting down of information.

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                    True. Getting a comfortable and useable environment to write stuff in takes time and hunting stuff down.

                    Hopefully someday I’ll find something that suits me, although I probably won’t.