[Haskell-cafe] [ANNOUNCE] Fmark markup language

José Lopes jose.lopes at ist.utl.pt
Tue Sep 18 13:53:08 CEST 2012

Hello Ivan,

I agree with your point: if you want a heading that ends with a punctuation
sign then you cannot do it in Fmark (for now). That gives me something to
think about. However, I will still look for a way that avoids (as much as
possible) special syntax. Do you have any suggestion?

I also agree with you on the "natural" conventions. I want to find a good
tradeoff between syntax and expressiveness. In other words, I want to
avoid as much those "odd choices" you mentioned. For example, I have
been thinking seriously about emphasis and what would be a good way
to do it. So far I could only come up with quotes (either " or '). What do
you think?


On 18-09-2012 06:05, Ivan Lazar Miljenovic wrote:
> On 18 September 2012 13:57, José Lopes <jose.lopes at ist.utl.pt> wrote:
>> Hello Kris,
>> Thank you for your email.
>> At this moment, Fmark is not as powerful as Markdown, also because Fmark
>> just started.
>> Markdown offers things such as Blockquotes, Lists, Code blocks, links,
>> emphasis, images, etc.
>> Fmark does not offer as many features: for now, there are only paragraphs,
>> headings,
>> subsections (endless nesting) and footnotes. In the near future, I want to
>> bolds/italics,
>> ordered and unordered lists, links, and later on as many elements as
>> possible :)
>> The problem with Fmark is also its greatest feature. While other markup
>> languages
>> introduce special syntactic characters to give meaning to the document's
>> elements,
>> I would like to take a different approach: I want to use characters that
>> people already
>> use in document writing to achieve the same result. For example, in
>> Mediawiki a
>> heading is some text surrounded by equal signs. But in Fmark a heading is
>> simply some
>> text that does not end in a punctuation character, such as period or an
>> exclamation mark.
>> I argue that this is a more "natural" approach.
> Is it possible to override this?  What happens if I want a heading of
> "This is the greatest Heading Ever!!!!!" ?
> "Natural" conventions seem to be to be rather hacky and with lots of
> corner cases; I think it's better to define a specific syntax for
> markup (e.g. what is the "natural" way of emphasising text?) and stick
> to it (though I agree that Markdown has some odd choices; in
> particular, the ability to use both _ and * for italics whilst
> requiring ** for bold).
>> I want to find a natural way of not burdening the user with the task of
>> having to learn
>> some special syntax in order to write a document. Instead I want to find
>> "natural" ways
>> of writing and use those ways to reconstruct the elements in a document. Of
>> course,
>> what is natural is subjective and that is why I want to find a good tradeoff
>> between
>> expressiveness and simplicity in the syntax. For example, in Fmark a
>> footnote is some
>> text surrounded by square brackets. Maybe you find this natural, maybe you
>> don't. If a
>> handful of people defend a more natural way of writing footnotes I want to
>> implement
>> the way they say. If there is a more natural way of doing this I want to
>> find it. But for now
>> I think square brackets are better than the equal signs or any other strange
>> syntactic
>> character such as exclamation marks and so on...
>> Another thing about Fmark is styles. I want to use fmark personally to write
>> papers, using
>> Latex as backend. While experimenting with previous versions of Fmark I
>> realized that I
>> could not specify the title, the author, the date, and the abstract. which
>> are essential in a
>> paper. I came up with an idea which I think is quite interesting. I wrote
>> another document
>> also using Fmark which only had the words "Title", "Author", "Date", and
>> "Abstract". And
>> then I combined these two documents together, such that, Fmark associated
>> title, author,
>> date and abstract, with the corresponding content. I thought the idea was
>> interesting
>> because the content and style documents have both the same structure and are
>> both
>> written in Fmark. Of course, there is still a long way to go, in order to be
>> able to fully
>> customize a document.
>> But styles are a good and simple approach, similar to document classes in
>> Latex: the idea is
>> to write one document (content) and then use multiple (predefined, user
>> defined) styles, such
>> as, article, report, etc, to stylize your document. Another interesting
>> thing I have been thinking
>> about (but not implemented yet) is recursion in document styling. In a way,
>> weaving a style
>> with content can be compared to matching a regular expression.
>> Anyway, these are just some key ideas. I see Fmark as a work in progress and
>> in a way as a
>> research project, trying to find a natural way of writing documents while
>> escaping as much
>> as possible from the syntax of a programming language. I also have a
>> metagoal with this
>> project: if my father (the non programming guy) could use it to write his
>> PhD dissertation,
>> I would be quite happy :)
>> If you have any more questions I would be happy to answer.
>> But if you're interested in using markup languages for blogs perhaps a HTML
>> backend
>> in Fmark would be more interesting for you. Although, XML + JavaScript + CSS
>> is also possible.
>> Best regards,
>> José
>> On 18-09-2012 04:25, Kristopher Micinski wrote:
>>> Jose,
>>> So I'm interested to hear you opinion on this as well...
>>> I use Pandoc with Markdown through Hakyll, which allows you to do a
>>> fair amount of cute things that are just really helpful for
>>> maintaining a blog (for example..).  But I didn't get this from
>>> reading your github readme: what makes your markup language special?
>>> Could you give an example of how the language is more expressive than
>>> (say) markdown processed through Pandoc (I only mention because it
>>> lets you process LaTeX, very helpful, right...) or something
>>> comparable?
>>> kris
>>> On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM, José Lopes <jose.lopes at ist.utl.pt>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Hello everyone,
>>>> I just wanted to share a package I created called Fmark, now available
>>>> on HackageDB.
>>>> Feedback both on the project and on the code is greatly appreciated :)
>>>> Fmark (Friendly Markup) is a very simple markup language without
>>>> syntax and simple but sophisticated document styling, capable of
>>>> producing PDF and XML files.
>>>> The key philosophy behind this markup language is to eliminate the
>>>> strange syntactic characters seen in most markup languages, but
>>>> at the same time try to maintain a high level of expressiveness, using
>>>> only document reconstruction.
>>>> Check it out
>>>> http://hackage.haskell.org/package/fmark
>>>> https://github.com/jabolopes/fmark
>>>> Best regards,
>>>> José
>>>> --
>>>> José António Branquinho de Oliveira Lopes
>>>> 58612 - MEIC-A
>>>> Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (UTL)
>>>> jose.lopes at ist.utl.pt
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> José António Branquinho de Oliveira Lopes
>> Instituto Superior Técnico
>> Technical University of Lisbon
>> _______________________________________________
>> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
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José António Branquinho de Oliveira Lopes
Instituto Superior Técnico
Technical University of Lisbon

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