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Virtual Machine for standard compliant markdown

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Back in the infocom days, text based games were often compiled into byte codes that are run in a virtual machine. This allows for multiple machines of different architecture to support an interactive fiction as long as it ran the same interpreter.

I wonder if the same approach for promoting standardized markdown could be done with this approach.

Say, write the 'gold standard' markdown in C, and compile it into a distributable file that can be ran via an interpreter in multiple different languages like python, javascript, ruby, php, go, etc...

The benefit to this approach is that updating the markdown engine is just a case of switching the bytecodes.

Virtual machines is more suitable for 'gold standard' markdown, compared to other applications because a markdown program is essentially an stdin --> stdio (markdown text in --> html out).

Plus if you want to 'extend markdown' but have it available on all platform, you could just replace the bytecode as well. Heck it may not even have to be markdown, could be asciidoc or something else.

Is this a viable approach? And if so, is there an existing minimal interpreter that can efficiently deal with textual processing with minimal overhead?


Possible VM candidate for this idea: microperl?

You want a virtual machine with minimal instruction set for ease of implementation

Perhaps its not purely a virtual machine but exposes regexs (which is usually processing heavy)

mofosyne, Jul 05 2014

Emscripten is an LLVM to JavaScript compiler. https://github.com/...ken/emscripten/wiki
Perhaps distributing via LLVM compiled to multiple platform is a better alternative? [mofosyne, Jul 05 2014]


       so... java?
Voice, Jul 05 2014

       It could be done in java perhaps, but you want the virtual machine to be implementable in as few lines of codes. RISC style perhaps?   

       Otherwise implementing a JVM in javascript to run a a markdown app does sound pretty massive overkill and bloated.
mofosyne, Jul 05 2014

       "markdown" seems like a pretty nifty idea.   

       But it doesn't seem complicated enough to require more than a couple lines of code.   

       Maybe write a Notepad for it, for editing and simple display, and include it in .html renderers in the same manner you'd put a .txt file inline (however that would be accomplished).
FlyingToaster, Jul 05 2014

       That is okay for a single implementation, but when every coder 'makes their own' implementation... the standard starts to diverge, and diverging standards and quirks are annoying. (e.g. markdown in one viewer looks different from another viewer).   

       There is effort at creating a 'markdown' compliance test suite, which is our first line of defence.   

       But a common 'engine' will also help solidify the standard, and encourage code reuse.
mofosyne, Jul 05 2014

       The WP article mentions the basics: titles, subtitles, list, numbered list, italic, bold, underlines, etc. I assume it might get as complicated as simple tables.   

       The point of markdowning seems to be for user convenience: why not make it as such; just have user-defined display parameters. Some people might want text in 14pt, titles in 22 and sub's in 18. Others might be happy with bolded underlined for titles and non-bolded underline for subtitles.   

       At that point all you'd be arguing about is the default set, for users who aren't advanced enough, or can't be arsed, to personalize it. And, if all the display defaults are different across different programs, so what ?   

       It's pretty nifty, and you've my vote for including it in <whatever>, but the concept itself limits scope, since the more complex the rendering, the less legible the simple text. For instance, it seems usage of "*" is a bit deprecated as a simple character, also " ' ", which would annoy some people who use the single-quotes, regularly.
FlyingToaster, Jul 05 2014


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