reStructuredText vs HTML

Lately I have been quite worried in seeing how much people care more about the look of a page instead of just concentrating on the content of that page. That seems quite wrong to me.

For large community sites at least, the look (fonts, colours, borders, spacing, and anything settable by css) should not be a choice of the individual user, but manifested by the skin settings.

The content created by a contributor should automatically inherit the look&feel which has been provided.

There is an alternative to HTML which allows the writer almost as much flexibility as the HTML, while being easier to grasp and use, and maintain a "look&feel" more respectful of the global tone of the site.

This alternative to HTML is called reStructuredText, and, as you know, this format (or microformat, as somebody calls it) is available on any Plone site.

You can read here about the simple syntax of reStructuredText.

Here is why I think reStructuredText is a good choice versus other microformats:

  1. It is very easy to understand and use (definitely better than HTML)
  2. It has the largest community of developers among all microformats (like Textile, Markdown, etc)
  3. It has a very powerful directives, that would allow us to add any custom use we need
  4. reStructuredText can generate not only HTML (like it is done in Plone), but XML, PDF, slides, DocBook, and other formats like LaTeX.

You can read more about reStructuredText here: XML Matters: Lighter than microformats: Picoformats

Let us all write as an inspiration to others.

You can find some here: You Should Write Blogs


PS This post has been written using reStructuredText!

Below is a photograph from my gallery. Notice how it is centered, and has a caption precisely positioned underneath it. All without Dreaweaver!

Shardul's reflection

Shardul's reflection at Barnes&Nobles