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CommonMark Markdown spec.txt in WordPress: rendering is not good.

Posted by jpluimers on 2014/11/10

(not yet archived at the WayBack machine)

(not yet archived at the WayBack machine)

(not yet archived at the WayBack machine)


title: CommonMark Spec
author:
– John MacFarlane
version: 0.11
date: 2014-11-10

Introduction

What is Markdown?

Markdown is a plain text format for writing structured documents,
based on conventions used for indicating formatting in email and
usenet posts. It was developed in 2004 by John Gruber, who wrote
the first Markdown-to-HTML converter in perl, and it soon became
widely used in websites. By 2014 there were dozens of
implementations in many languages. Some of them extended basic
Markdown syntax with conventions for footnotes, definition lists,
tables, and other constructs, and some allowed output not just in
HTML but in LaTeX and many other formats.

Why is a spec needed?

John Gruber’s canonical description of Markdown’s
syntax

does not specify the syntax unambiguously. Here are some examples of
questions it does not answer:

  1. How much indentation is needed for a sublist? The spec says that
    continuation paragraphs need to be indented four spaces, but is
    not fully explicit about sublists. It is natural to think that
    they, too, must be indented four spaces, but Markdown.pl does
    not require that. This is hardly a “corner case,” and divergences
    between implementations on this issue often lead to surprises for
    users in real documents. (See this comment by John
    Gruber
    .)
  2. Is a blank line needed before a block quote or header?
    Most implementations do not require the blank line. However,
    this can lead to unexpected results in hard-wrapped text, and
    also to ambiguities in parsing (note that some implementations
    put the header inside the blockquote, while others do not).
    (John Gruber has also spoken in favor of requiring the blank
    lines
    .)

  3. Is a blank line needed before an indented code block?
    (Markdown.pl requires it, but this is not mentioned in the
    documentation, and some implementations do not require it.)

paragraph
code?

  1. What is the exact rule for determining when list items get
    wrapped in `

` tags? Can a list be partially “loose” and partially
“tight”? What should we do with a list like this?

1. one

2. two
3. three

Or this?

1. one
– a

– b
2. two

(There are some relevant comments by John Gruber
here.)

  1. Can list markers be indented? Can ordered list markers be right-aligned?

8. item 1
9. item 2
10. item 2a

  1. Is this one list with a horizontal rule in its second item,
    or two lists separated by a horizontal rule?

* a
* * * * *
* b

  1. When list markers change from numbers to bullets, do we have
    two lists or one? (The Markdown syntax description suggests two,
    but the perl scripts and many other implementations produce one.)

1. fee
2. fie
– foe
– fum

  1. What are the precedence rules for the markers of inline structure?
    For example, is the following a valid link, or does the code span
    take precedence ?

[a backtick (`)](/url) and [another backtick (`)](/url).

  1. What are the precedence rules for markers of emphasis and strong
    emphasis? For example, how should the following be parsed?

*foo *bar* baz*

  1. What are the precedence rules between block-level and inline-level
    structure? For example, how should the following be parsed?

– `a long code span can contain a hyphen like this
– and it can screw things up`

  1. Can list items include headers? (Markdown.pl does not allow this,
    but headers can occur in blockquotes.)

– # Heading

  1. Can link references be defined inside block quotes or list items?

> Blockquote [foo].
>
> [foo]: /url

  1. If there are multiple definitions for the same reference, which takes
    precedence?

[foo]: /url1
[foo]: /url2

[foo][]

In the absence of a spec, early implementers consulted Markdown.pl
to resolve these ambiguities. But Markdown.pl was quite buggy, and
gave manifestly bad results in many cases, so it was not a
satisfactory replacement for a spec.

Because there is no unambiguous spec, implementations have diverged
considerably. As a result, users are often surprised to find that
a document that renders one way on one system (say, a github wiki)
renders differently on another (say, converting to docbook using
pandoc). To make matters worse, because nothing in Markdown counts
as a “syntax error,” the divergence often isn’t discovered right away.

About this document

This document attempts to specify Markdown syntax unambiguously.
It contains many examples with side-by-side Markdown and
HTML. These are intended to double as conformance tests. An
accompanying script runtests.pl can be used to run the tests
against any Markdown program:

perl runtests.pl spec.txt PROGRAM

Since this document describes how Markdown is to be parsed into
an abstract syntax tree, it would have made sense to use an abstract
representation of the syntax tree instead of HTML. But HTML is capable
of representing the structural distinctions we need to make, and the
choice of HTML for the tests makes it possible to run the tests against
an implementation without writing an abstract syntax tree renderer.

This document is generated from a text file, spec.txt, written
in Markdown with a small extension for the side-by-side tests.
The script spec2md.pl can be used to turn spec.txt into pandoc
Markdown, which can then be converted into other formats.

In the examples, the character is used to represent tabs.

Preprocessing

A line
is a sequence of zero or more characters followed by a
line ending (CR, LF, or CRLF) or by the end of file.

A character is a unicode code point.
This spec does not specify an encoding; it thinks of lines as composed
of characters rather than bytes. A conforming parser may be limited
to a certain encoding.

Tabs in lines are expanded to spaces, with a tab stop of 4 characters:

.
→foo→baz→→bim
.

foo baz     bim

.

.
a→a
ὐ→a
.

a   a
ὐ   a

.

Line endings are replaced by newline characters (LF).

A line containing no characters, or a line containing only spaces (after
tab expansion), is called a blank line.

Blocks and inlines

We can think of a document as a sequence of
blocks—structural
elements like paragraphs, block quotations,
lists, headers, rules, and code blocks. Blocks can contain other
blocks, or they can contain inline content:
words, spaces, links, emphasized text, images, and inline code.

Precedence

Indicators of block structure always take precedence over indicators
of inline structure. So, for example, the following is a list with
two items, not a list with one item containing a code span:

.
one
- two

.

  • `one
  • two`

.

This means that parsing can proceed in two steps: first, the block
structure of the document can be discerned; second, text lines inside
paragraphs, headers, and other block constructs can be parsed for inline
structure. The second step requires information about link reference
definitions that will be available only at the end of the first
step. Note that the first step requires processing lines in sequence,
but the second can be parallelized, since the inline parsing of
one block element does not affect the inline parsing of any other.

Container blocks and leaf blocks

We can divide blocks into two types:
container blocks,
which can contain other blocks, and leaf blocks,
which cannot.

Leaf blocks

This section describes the different kinds of leaf block that make up a
Markdown document.

Horizontal rules

A line consisting of 0-3 spaces of indentation, followed by a sequence
of three or more matching -, _, or * characters, each followed
optionally by any number of spaces, forms a horizontal
rule
.

.

***


.




.

Wrong characters:

.
+++
.

+++

.

.

.

===

.

Not enough characters:

.

**
__
.


**
__

.

One to three spaces indent are allowed:

.




.




.

Four spaces is too many:

.


.

***

.

.
Foo


.

Foo


.

More than three characters may be used:

.


.


.

Spaces are allowed between the characters:

.


.


.

.


.


.

.


.


.

Spaces are allowed at the end:

.


.


.

However, no other characters may occur in the line:

.
_ _ _ _ a

a——

—a—
.

_ _ _ _ a

a——

—a—

.

It is required that all of the non-space characters be the same.
So, this is not a horizontal rule:

.

.

.

Horizontal rules do not need blank lines before or after:

.
– foo


  • bar
    .
  • foo

  • bar

.

Horizontal rules can interrupt a paragraph:

.
Foo


bar
.

Foo


bar

.

If a line of dashes that meets the above conditions for being a
horizontal rule could also be interpreted as the underline of a setext
header
, the interpretation as a
setext-header takes precedence. Thus, for example,
this is a setext header, not a paragraph followed by a horizontal rule:

.

Foo

bar
.

Foo

bar

.

When both a horizontal rule and a list item are possible
interpretations of a line, the horizontal rule is preferred:

.
* Foo


  • Bar
    .
  • Foo

  • Bar

.

If you want a horizontal rule in a list item, use a different bullet:

.
– Foo
– * * *
.

  • Foo

.

ATX headers

An ATX header
consists of a string of characters, parsed as inline content, between an
opening sequence of 1–6 unescaped # characters and an optional
closing sequence of any number of # characters. The opening sequence
of # characters cannot be followed directly by a nonspace character.
The optional closing sequence of #s must be preceded by a space and may be
followed by spaces only. The opening # character may be indented 0-3
spaces. The raw contents of the header are stripped of leading and
trailing spaces before being parsed as inline content. The header level
is equal to the number of # characters in the opening sequence.

Simple headers:

.

foo

foo

foo

foo

foo
foo

.

foo

foo

foo

foo

foo
foo

.

More than six # characters is not a header:

.
####### foo
.

####### foo

.

A space is required between the # characters and the header’s
contents. Note that many implementations currently do not require
the space. However, the space was required by the original ATX
implementation
, and it helps
prevent things like the following from being parsed as headers:

.
#5 bolt
.

#5 bolt

.

This is not a header, because the first # is escaped:

.
## foo
.

foo

.

Contents are parsed as inlines:

.

foo bar *baz*

.

foo bar *baz*

.

Leading and trailing blanks are ignored in parsing inline content:

.

foo

.

foo

.

One to three spaces indentation are allowed:

.

foo

foo

foo

.

foo

foo

foo

.

Four spaces are too much:

.

foo

.

# foo

.

.
foo

bar

.

foo

bar

.

A closing sequence of # characters is optional:

.

foo

bar

.

foo

bar

.

It need not be the same length as the opening sequence:

.

foo

foo

.

foo

foo

.

Spaces are allowed after the closing sequence:

.

foo

.

foo

.

A sequence of # characters with a nonspace character following it
is not a closing sequence, but counts as part of the contents of the
header:

.

foo ### b

.

foo ### b

.

The closing sequence must be preceded by a space:

.

foo

.

foo#

.

Backslash-escaped # characters do not count as part
of the closing sequence:

.

foo \

foo #\

foo \

.

foo ###

foo ###

foo #

.

ATX headers need not be separated from surrounding content by blank
lines, and they can interrupt paragraphs:

.


foo


.


foo


.

.
Foo bar

baz

Bar foo
.

Foo bar

baz

Bar foo

.

ATX headers can be empty:

.
##
#

#

.

.

Setext headers

A setext header
consists of a line of text, containing at least one nonspace character,
with no more than 3 spaces indentation, followed by a setext header
underline
. The line of text must be
one that, were it not followed by the setext header underline,
would be interpreted as part of a paragraph: it cannot be a code
block, header, blockquote, horizontal rule, or list. A setext header
underline

is a sequence of = characters or a sequence of - characters, with no
more than 3 spaces indentation and any number of trailing
spaces. The header is a level 1 header if = characters are used, and
a level 2 header if - characters are used. The contents of the header
are the result of parsing the first line as Markdown inline content.

In general, a setext header need not be preceded or followed by a
blank line. However, it cannot interrupt a paragraph, so when a
setext header comes after a paragraph, a blank line is needed between
them.

Simple examples:

.

Foo bar

Foo bar

.

Foo bar

Foo bar

.

The underlining can be any length:

.

Foo

Foo

.

Foo

Foo

.

The header content can be indented up to three spaces, and need
not line up with the underlining:

.

Foo

Foo

Foo

.

Foo

Foo

Foo

.

Four spaces indent is too much:

.

Foo

Foo

.

Foo
---

Foo

.

The setext header underline can be indented up to three spaces, and
may have trailing spaces:

.

Foo

.

Foo

.

Four spaces is too much:

.

Foo

.

Foo

.

The setext header underline cannot contain internal spaces:

.
Foo
= =

Foo


.

Foo
= =

Foo


.

Trailing spaces in the content line do not cause a line break:

.

Foo

.

Foo

.

Nor does a backslash at the end:

.

Foo\

.

Foo\

.

Since indicators of block structure take precedence over
indicators of inline structure, the following are setext headers:

.

`Foo

`
.

`Foo

`

<a title=”a lot

of dashes”/>

.

The setext header underline cannot be a lazy continuation
line
in a list item or block quote:

.

> Foo

.

Foo


.

.

– Foo

.

  • Foo

.

A setext header cannot interrupt a paragraph:

.
Foo

Bar

Foo

Bar

.

Foo
Bar


Foo

Bar

.

But in general a blank line is not required before or after:

.

Foo

Bar

Baz
.


Foo

Bar

Baz

.

Setext headers cannot be empty:

.

====
.

====

.

Setext header text lines must not be interpretable as block
constructs other than paragraphs. So, the line of dashes
in these examples gets interpreted as a horizontal rule:

.


.



.

.

– foo

.

  • foo

.

.

foo

.

foo

.

.

> foo

.

foo


.

If you want a header with &gt; foo as its literal text, you can
use backslash escapes:

.

\> foo

.

> foo

.

Indented code blocks

An indented code block
is composed of one or more
indented chunks separated by blank lines.
An indented chunk
is a sequence of non-blank lines, each indented four or more
spaces. An indented code block cannot interrupt a paragraph, so
if it occurs before or after a paragraph, there must be an
intervening blank line. The contents of the code block are
the literal contents of the lines, including trailing newlines,
minus four spaces of indentation. An indented code block has no
attributes.

.
a simple
indented code block
.

a simple
  indented code block

.

The contents are literal text, and do not get parsed as Markdown:

.

hi

  • one
    .
<a/>
*hi*

- one

.

Here we have three chunks separated by blank lines:

.
chunk1

chunk2

chunk3
.

chunk1

chunk2



chunk3

.

Any initial spaces beyond four will be included in the content, even
in interior blank lines:

.
chunk1

chunk2
.

chunk1
  
  chunk2

.

An indented code block cannot interrupt a paragraph. (This
allows hanging indents and the like.)

.
Foo
bar

.

Foo
bar

.

However, any non-blank line with fewer than four leading spaces ends
the code block immediately. So a paragraph may occur immediately
after indented code:

.
foo
bar
.

foo

bar

.

And indented code can occur immediately before and after other kinds of
blocks:

.

Header

foo

Header

foo

.

Header

foo

Header

foo

.

The first line can be indented more than four spaces:

.
foo
bar
.

    foo
bar

.

Blank lines preceding or following an indented code block
are not included in it:

.

foo

.

foo

.

Trailing spaces are included in the code block’s content:

.
foo
.

foo  

.

Fenced code blocks

A

(@code-fence) is a sequence
of at least three consecutive backtick characters (`) or
tildes (~). (Tildes and backticks cannot be mixed.)
A fenced code block
begins with a code fence, indented no more than three spaces.

The line with the opening code fence may optionally contain some text
following the code fence; this is trimmed of leading and trailing
spaces and called the info string.
The info string may not contain any backtick
characters. (The reason for this restriction is that otherwise
some inline code would be incorrectly interpreted as the
beginning of a fenced code block.)

The content of the code block consists of all subsequent lines, until
a closing

(#code-fence) of the same type as the code block
began with (backticks or tildes), and with at least as many backticks
or tildes as the opening code fence. If the leading code fence is
indented N spaces, then up to N spaces of indentation are removed from
each line of the content (if present). (If a content line is not
indented, it is preserved unchanged. If it is indented less than N
spaces, all of the indentation is removed.)

The closing code fence may be indented up to three spaces, and may be
followed only by spaces, which are ignored. If the end of the
containing block (or document) is reached and no closing code fence
has been found, the code block contains all of the lines after the
opening code fence until the end of the containing block (or
document). (An alternative spec would require backtracking in the
event that a closing code fence is not found. But this makes parsing
much less efficient, and there seems to be no real down side to the
behavior described here.)

A fenced code block may interrupt a paragraph, and does not require
a blank line either before or after.

The content of a code fence is treated as literal text, not parsed
as inlines. The first word of the info string is typically used to
specify the language of the code sample, and rendered in the class
attribute of the code tag. However, this spec does not mandate any
particular treatment of the info string.

Here is a simple example with backticks:

.

< >

.

<
 >

.

With tildes:

.

< >

.

<
 >

.

The closing code fence must use the same character as the opening
fence:

.

aaa
~~~

.

<pre><code>aaa
~~~
</code></pre>
.

.
~~~
aaa
“`
~~~
.

aaa
```
</code></pre>
.

The closing code fence must be at least as long as the opening fence:

.
````
aaa
```
``````
.
aaa
```

.

.
~~~~
aaa
~~~
~~~~
.
<pre><code>aaa
~~~

.

Unclosed code blocks are closed by the end of the document:

.
“`
.
<pre></pre>
.

.
““`

“`
aaa
.
<pre><code>
“`
aaa

.

A code block can have all empty lines as its content:

.

<br />

.


.

A code block can be empty:

.
“`

.
<pre></pre>
.

Fences can be indented. If the opening fence is indented,
content lines will have equivalent opening indentation removed,
if present:

.

aaa
aaa

.
<pre><code>aaa
aaa
</code></pre>
.

.

aaa
aaa
aaa

.
<pre><code>aaa
aaa
aaa
</code></pre>
.

.

aaa
aaa
aaa

.
<pre><code>aaa
 aaa
aaa
</code></pre>
.

Four spaces indentation produces an indented code block:

.

aaa

.
<pre><code>```
aaa

</code></pre>
.

Closing fences may be indented by 0-3 spaces, and their indentation
need not match that of the opening fence:

.

aaa

.
<pre><code>aaa
</code></pre>
.

.

aaa

.
<pre><code>aaa
</code></pre>
.

This is not a closing fence, because it is indented 4 spaces:

.

aaa

.
<pre><code>aaa
“`

.

Code fences (opening and closing) cannot contain internal spaces:

.

aaa
.


aaa

.

.
~~~~~~
aaa
~~~ ~~
.

aaa
~~~ ~~
</code></pre>
.

Fenced code blocks can interrupt paragraphs, and can be followed
directly by paragraphs, without a blank line between:

.
foo

bar

baz
.

foo
<pre><code>bar
</code></pre>
baz

.

Other blocks can also occur before and after fenced code blocks
without an intervening blank line:

.

<h2>foo</h2>

bar

<h1>baz</h1>

.
<h2>foo</h2>
<pre><code>bar
</code></pre>
<h1>baz</h1>
.

An <a href="#info-string">info string</a> can be provided after the opening code fence.
Opening and closing spaces will be stripped, and the first word, prefixed
with <code>language-</code>, is used as the value for the <code>class</code> attribute of the
<code>code</code> element within the enclosing <code>pre</code> element.

.

def foo(x)
return 3
end

.

<pre><code class="language-ruby">def foo(x)
return 3
end
</code></pre>

.

.
~~~~ ruby startline=3 $%@#$
def foo(x)
return 3
end
~~~~~~~
.

def foo(x)
  return 3
end

.

.
;
.


.

Info strings for backtick code blocks cannot contain backticks:

.
aa
foo
.

aa
foo

.

Closing code fences cannot have info strings:

.

``` aaa

.
<pre><code>“` aaa

.

HTML blocks

An HTML block tag is
an open tag or closing tag whose tag
name is one of the following (case-insensitive):
article, header, aside, hgroup, blockquote, hr, iframe,
body, li, map, button, object, canvas, ol, caption,
output, col, p, colgroup, pre, dd, progress, div,
section, dl, table, td, dt, tbody, embed, textarea,
fieldset, tfoot, figcaption, th, figure, thead, footer,
tr, form, ul, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, video,
script, style.

An HTML block begins with an
HTML block tag, HTML comment,
processing instruction,
declaration, or CDATA section.
It ends when a blank line or the end of the
input is encountered. The initial line may be indented up to three
spaces, and subsequent lines may have any indentation. The contents
of the HTML block are interpreted as raw HTML, and will not be escaped
in HTML output.

Some simple examples:

.

hi

okay.
.

hi

okay.

.

.

hello

.
hello

.

Here we have two HTML blocks with a Markdown paragraph between them:

.

Markdown

.

Markdown

.

In the following example, what looks like a Markdown code block
is actually part of the HTML block, which continues until a blank
line or the end of the document is reached:

.

int x = 33;

.

int x = 33;

.

A comment:

.

.

.

A processing instruction:

.
‘;
?>
.
‘;
?>
.

CDATA:

.
<![CDATA[
function matchwo(a,b)
{
if (a < b && a
.
<![CDATA[
function matchwo(a,b)
{
if (a < b && a
.

The opening tag can be indented 1-3 spaces, but not 4:

.


.

<!-- foo -->

.

An HTML block can interrupt a paragraph, and need not be preceded
by a blank line.

.
Foo

bar

.

Foo

bar

.

However, a following blank line is always needed, except at the end of
a document:

.

bar

foo
.

bar

foo
.

An incomplete HTML block tag may also start an HTML block:

.
<div class
foo
.

The only restrictions are that block-level HTML elements —
> e.g. `

`, `
`, “, “, etc. — must be separated from > surrounding content by blank lines, and the start and end tags of the > block should not be indented with tabs or spaces. In some ways Gruber’s rule is more restrictive than the one given here: – It requires that an HTML block be preceded by a blank line. – It does not allow the start tag to be indented. – It requires a matching end tag, which it also does not allow to be indented. Indeed, most Markdown implementations, including some of Gruber’s own perl implementations, do not impose these restrictions. There is one respect, however, in which Gruber’s rule is more liberal than the one given here, since it allows blank lines to occur inside an HTML block. There are two reasons for disallowing them here. First, it removes the need to parse balanced tags, which is expensive and can require backtracking from the end of the document if no matching end tag is found. Second, it provides a very simple and flexible way of including Markdown content inside HTML tags: simply separate the Markdown from the HTML using blank lines: . *Emphasized* text. .Emphasized text. 

. Compare: . *Emphasized* text. . *Emphasized* text. . Some Markdown implementations have adopted a convention of interpreting content inside tags as text if the open tag has the attribute `markdown=1`. The rule given above seems a simpler and more elegant way of achieving the same expressive power, which is also much simpler to parse. The main potential drawback is that one can no longer paste HTML blocks into Markdown documents with 100% reliability. However, *in most cases* this will work fine, because the blank lines in HTML are usually followed by HTML block tags. For example: .
.
. Moreover, blank lines are usually not necessary and can be deleted. The exception is inside “ tags; here, one can replace the blank lines with ` ` entities. So there is no important loss of expressive power with the new rule. ## Link reference definitions A [link reference definition](@link-reference-definition) consists of a [link label](#link-label), indented up to three spaces, followed by a colon (`:`), optional blank space (including up to one newline), a [link destination](#link-destination), optional blank space (including up to one newline), and an optional [link title](#link-title), which if it is present must be separated from the [link destination](#link-destination) by whitespace. No further non-space characters may occur on the line. A [link reference-definition](#link-reference-definition) does not correspond to a structural element of a document. Instead, it defines a label which can be used in [reference links](#reference-link) and reference-style [images](#image) elsewhere in the document. [Link reference definitions] can come either before or after the links that use them. . [foo]: /url “title” [foo] .foo . . [foo]: /url ‘the title’ [foo] .foo . . [Foo*bar\]]:my_(url) ‘title (with parens)’ [Foo*bar\]] .Foo*bar] . . [Foo bar]: ‘title’ [Foo bar] .Foo bar . The title may be omitted: . [foo]: /url [foo] .foo . The link destination may not be omitted: . [foo]: [foo] .[foo]:[foo] . A link can come before its corresponding definition: . [foo] [foo]: url .foo . If there are several matching definitions, the first one takes precedence: . [foo] [foo]: first [foo]: second .foo . As noted in the section on [Links], matching of labels is case-insensitive (see [matches](#matches)). . [FOO]: /url [Foo] .Foo . . [ΑΓΩ]: /φου [αγω] .αγω . Here is a link reference definition with no corresponding link. It contributes nothing to the document. . [foo]: /url . . This is not a link reference definition, because there are non-space characters after the title: . [foo]: /url “title” ok .[foo]: /url “title” ok . This is not a link reference definition, because it is indented four spaces: . [foo]: /url “title” [foo] . [foo]: /url "title" [foo].This is not a link reference definition, because it occurs inside
a code block:.
“`
[foo]: /url
“`[foo]
.[foo]: /url [foo].A [link reference definition](#link-reference-definition) cannot
interrupt a paragraph..
Foo
[bar]: /baz[bar]
.Foo
[bar]: /baz[bar].However, it can directly follow other block elements, such as headers
and horizontal rules, and it need not be followed by a blank line..
# [Foo]
[foo]: /url
> bar
.Foobar

.Several [link references](#link-reference) can occur one after another,
without intervening blank lines..
[foo]: /foo-url “foo”
[bar]: /bar-url
“bar”
[baz]: /baz-url[foo],
[bar],
[baz]
.foo,
bar,
baz.[Link reference definitions](#link-reference-definition) can occur
inside block containers, like lists and block quotations. They
affect the entire document, not just the container in which they
are defined:.
[foo]> [foo]: /url
.foo.## ParagraphsA sequence of non-blank lines that cannot be interpreted as other
kinds of blocks forms a [paragraph](@paragraph).
The contents of the paragraph are the result of parsing the
paragraph’s raw content as inlines. The paragraph’s raw content
is formed by concatenating the lines and removing initial and final
spaces.A simple example with two paragraphs:.
aaabbb
.aaabbb.Paragraphs can contain multiple lines, but no blank lines:.
aaa
bbbccc
ddd
.aaa
bbbccc
ddd.Multiple blank lines between paragraph have no effect:.
aaabbb
.aaabbb.Leading spaces are skipped:.
aaa
bbb
.aaa
bbb.Lines after the first may be indented any amount, since indented
code blocks cannot interrupt paragraphs..
aaa
bbb
ccc
.aaa
bbb
ccc.However, the first line may be indented at most three spaces,
or an indented code block will be triggered:.
aaa
bbb
.aaa
bbb..
aaa
bbb
.aaa bbb.Final spaces are stripped before inline parsing, so a paragraph
that ends with two or more spaces will not end with a [hard line
break](#hard-line-break):.
aaa
bbb
.aaa
bbb.## Blank lines[Blank lines](#blank-line) between block-level elements are ignored,
except for the role they play in determining whether a [list](#list)
is [tight](#tight) or [loose](#loose).Blank lines at the beginning and end of the document are also ignored..aaa# aaa.aaaaaa.# Container blocksA [container block](#container-block) is a block that has other
blocks as its contents. There are two basic kinds of container blocks:
[block quotes](#block-quote) and [list items](#list-item).
[Lists](#list) are meta-containers for [list items](#list-item).We define the syntax for container blocks recursively. The general
form of the definition is:> If X is a sequence of blocks, then the result of
> transforming X in such-and-such a way is a container of type Y
> with these blocks as its content.So, we explain what counts as a block quote or list item by explaining
how these can be *generated* from their contents. This should suffice
to define the syntax, although it does not give a recipe for *parsing*
these constructions. (A recipe is provided below in the section entitled
[A parsing strategy](#appendix-a-a-parsing-strategy).)## Block quotesA [block quote marker](@block-quote-marker)
consists of 0-3 spaces of initial indent, plus (a) the character `>` together
with a following space, or (b) a single character `>` not followed by a space.The following rules define [block quotes](@block-quote):1. **Basic case.** If a string of lines *Ls* constitute a sequence
of blocks *Bs*, then the result of prepending a [block quote
marker](#block-quote-marker) to the beginning of each line in *Ls*
is a [block quote](#block-quote) containing *Bs*.2. **Laziness.** If a string of lines *Ls* constitute a [block
quote](#block-quote) with contents *Bs*, then the result of deleting
the initial [block quote marker](#block-quote-marker) from one or
more lines in which the next non-space character after the [block
quote marker](#block-quote-marker) is [paragraph continuation
text](#paragraph-continuation-text) is a block quote with *Bs* as
its content.
[Paragraph continuation text](@paragraph-continuation-text) is text
that will be parsed as part of the content of a paragraph, but does
not occur at the beginning of the paragraph.3. **Consecutiveness.** A document cannot contain two [block
quotes](#block-quote) in a row unless there is a [blank
line](#blank-line) between them.Nothing else counts as a [block quote](#block-quote).Here is a simple example:.
> # Foo
> bar
> baz
.

Foo

bar
baz

.The spaces after the `>` characters can be omitted:.
># Foo
>bar
> baz
.

Foo

bar
baz

.The `>` characters can be indented 1-3 spaces:.
> # Foo
> bar
> baz
.

Foo

bar
baz

.Four spaces gives us a code block:.
> # Foo
> bar
> baz
.> # Foo > bar > baz .The Laziness clause allows us to omit the `>` before a
paragraph continuation line:.
> # Foo
> bar
baz
.

Foo

bar
baz

.A block quote can contain some lazy and some non-lazy
continuation lines:.
> bar
baz
> foo
.bar
baz
foo

.Laziness only applies to lines that are continuations of
paragraphs. Lines containing characters or indentation that indicate
block structure cannot be lazy..
> foo

.foo

..
> – foo
– bar
.

  • foo
  • bar

..
> foo
bar
.

foo

bar ..
> “`
foo
“`
.foo .A block quote can be empty:.
>

>
>
>
..A block quote can have initial or final blank lines:.
>
> foo
>
.foo

.A blank line always separates block quotes:.
> foo> bar
.foo

bar

.(Most current Markdown implementations, including John Gruber’s
original `Markdown.pl`, will parse this example as a single block quote
with two paragraphs. But it seems better to allow the author to decide
whether two block quotes or one are wanted.)Consecutiveness means that if we put these block quotes together,
we get a single block quote:.
> foo
> bar
.foo
bar

.To get a block quote with two paragraphs, use:.
> foo
>
> bar
.foo

bar

.Block quotes can interrupt paragraphs:.
foo
> bar
.foobar

.In general, blank lines are not needed before or after block
quotes:.
> aaa
***
> bbb
.aaa

bbb

.However, because of laziness, a blank line is needed between
a block quote and a following paragraph:.
> bar
baz
.bar
baz

..
> barbaz
.bar

baz..
> bar
>
baz
.bar

baz.It is a consequence of the Laziness rule that any number
of initial `>`s may be omitted on a continuation line of a
nested block quote:.
> > > foo
bar
.

foo
bar

..
>>> foo
> bar
>>baz
.

foo
bar
baz

.When including an indented code block in a block quote,
remember that the [block quote marker](#block-quote-marker) includes
both the `>` and a following space. So *five spaces* are needed after
the `>`:.
> code> not code
.

code

not code

.## List itemsA [list marker](@list-marker) is a
[bullet list marker](#bullet-list-marker) or an [ordered list
marker](#ordered-list-marker).A [bullet list marker](@bullet-list-marker)
is a `-`, `+`, or `*` character.An [ordered list marker](@ordered-list-marker)
is a sequence of one of more digits (`0-9`), followed by either a
`.` character or a `)` character.The following rules define [list items](@list-item):1. **Basic case.** If a sequence of lines *Ls* constitute a sequence of
blocks *Bs* starting with a non-space character and not separated
from each other by more than one blank line, and *M* is a list
marker *M* of width *W* followed by 0 < *N* A block quote.
.A paragraph
with two lines.indented code A block quote.

.And let *M* be the marker `1.`, and *N* = 2. Then rule #1 says
that the following is an ordered list item with start number 1,
and the same contents as *Ls*:.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.indented code> A block quote.
.

  • A paragraph
    with two lines.

    indented code
    

    A block quote.

.The most important thing to notice is that the position of
the text after the list marker determines how much indentation
is needed in subsequent blocks in the list item. If the list
marker takes up two spaces, and there are three spaces between
the list marker and the next nonspace character, then blocks
must be indented five spaces in order to fall under the list
item.Here are some examples showing how far content must be indented to be
put under the list item:.
– onetwo
.

  • one

two..
– onetwo
.

  • onetwo

..
– onetwo
.

  • one

two ..
– onetwo
.

  • onetwo

.It is tempting to think of this in terms of columns: the continuation
blocks must be indented at least to the column of the first nonspace
character after the list marker. However, that is not quite right.
The spaces after the list marker determine how much relative indentation
is needed. Which column this indentation reaches will depend on
how the list item is embedded in other constructions, as shown by
this example:.
> > 1. one
>>
>> two
.

  1. onetwo

.Here `two` occurs in the same column as the list marker `1.`,
but is actually contained in the list item, because there is
sufficent indentation after the last containing blockquote marker.The converse is also possible. In the following example, the word `two`
occurs far to the right of the initial text of the list item, `one`, but
it is not considered part of the list item, because it is not indented
far enough past the blockquote marker:.
>>- one
>>
> > two
.

  • one

two

.A list item may not contain blocks that are separated by more than
one blank line. Thus, two blank lines will end a list, unless the
two blanks are contained in a [fenced code block](#fenced-code-block)..
– foobar- foobar- “`
foobar
“`
.
<ul>
<li>foobar</li>
<li>foo</li>
</ul>
bar
<ul>
<li>
<pre><code>foo

bar
</code></pre>
</li>
</ul>
.A list item may contain any kind of block:.
1. foo“`
bar
“`baz> bam
.

  • foo
    bar
    

    baz

    bam

.2. **Item starting with indented code.** If a sequence of lines *Ls*
constitute a sequence of blocks *Bs* starting with an indented code
block and not separated from each other by more than one blank line,
and *M* is a list marker *M* of width *W* followed by
one space, then the result of prepending *M* and the following
space to the first line of *Ls*, and indenting subsequent lines of
*Ls* by *W + 1* spaces, is a list item with *Bs* as its contents.
If a line is empty, then it need not be indented. The type of the
list item (bullet or ordered) is determined by the type of its list
marker. If the list item is ordered, then it is also assigned a
start number, based on the ordered list marker.An indented code block will have to be indented four spaces beyond
the edge of the region where text will be included in the list item.
In the following case that is 6 spaces:.
– foobar
.

  • foo
    bar
    

.And in this case it is 11 spaces:.
10. foobar
.

  • foo
    bar
    

.If the *first* block in the list item is an indented code block,
then by rule #2, the contents must be indented *one* space after the
list marker:.
indented codeparagraphmore code
.indented code paragraphmore code ..
1. indented codeparagraphmore code
.

  • indented code
    

    paragraph

    more code
    

.Note that an additional space indent is interpreted as space
inside the code block:.
1. indented codeparagraphmore code
.

  •  indented code
    

    paragraph

    more code
    

.Note that rules #1 and #2 only apply to two cases: (a) cases
in which the lines to be included in a list item begin with a nonspace
character, and (b) cases in which they begin with an indented code
block. In a case like the following, where the first block begins with
a three-space indent, the rules do not allow us to form a list item by
indenting the whole thing and prepending a list marker:.
foobar
.foobar..
– foobar
.

  • foo

bar.This is not a significant restriction, because when a block begins
with 1-3 spaces indent, the indentation can always be removed without
a change in interpretation, allowing rule #1 to be applied. So, in
the above case:.
– foobar
.

  • foobar

.3. **Indentation.** If a sequence of lines *Ls* constitutes a list item
according to rule #1 or #2, then the result of indenting each line
of *L* by 1-3 spaces (the same for each line) also constitutes a
list item with the same contents and attributes. If a line is
empty, then it need not be indented.Indented one space:.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.indented code> A block quote.
.

  • A paragraph
    with two lines.

    indented code
    

    A block quote.

.Indented two spaces:.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.indented code> A block quote.
.

  • A paragraph
    with two lines.

    indented code
    

    A block quote.

.Indented three spaces:.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.indented code> A block quote.
.

  • A paragraph
    with two lines.

    indented code
    

    A block quote.

.Four spaces indent gives a code block:.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.indented code> A block quote.
.1. A paragraph with two lines. indented code > A block quote. .4. **Laziness.** If a string of lines *Ls* constitute a [list
item](#list-item) with contents *Bs*, then the result of deleting
some or all of the indentation from one or more lines in which the
next non-space character after the indentation is
[paragraph continuation text](#paragraph-continuation-text) is a
list item with the same contents and attributes. The unindented
lines are called
[lazy continuation lines](@lazy-continuation-line).Here is an example with [lazy continuation
lines](#lazy-continuation-line):.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.indented code> A block quote.
.

  • A paragraph
    with two lines.

    indented code
    

    A block quote.

.Indentation can be partially deleted:.
1. A paragraph
with two lines.
.

  • A paragraph
    with two lines.

.These examples show how laziness can work in nested structures:.
> 1. > Blockquote
continued here.
.

  1. Blockquote
    continued here.

..
> 1. > Blockquote
> continued here.
.

  1. Blockquote
    continued here.

.5. **That’s all.** Nothing that is not counted as a list item by rules
#1–4 counts as a [list item](#list-item).The rules for sublists follow from the general rules above. A sublist
must be indented the same number of spaces a paragraph would need to be
in order to be included in the list item.So, in this case we need two spaces indent:.
– foo
– bar
– baz
.

  • foo
    • bar
      • baz

.One is not enough:.
– foo
– bar
– baz
.

  • foo
  • bar
  • baz

.Here we need four, because the list marker is wider:.
10) foo
– bar
.

  • foo
    • bar

.Three is not enough:.
10) foo
– bar
.

  • foo
  • bar

.A list may be the first block in a list item:.
– – foo
.

    • foo

..
1. – 2. foo
.

      1. foo

.A list item may be empty:.
– foo

– bar
.

  • foo
  • bar

..

..A list item can contain a header:.
– # Foo
– Bar

baz
.

  • Foo

  • Bar

    baz

.### MotivationJohn Gruber’s Markdown spec says the following about list items:1. “List markers typically start at the left margin, but may be indented
by up to three spaces. List markers must be followed by one or more
spaces or a tab.”2. “To make lists look nice, you can wrap items with hanging indents….
But if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”3. “List items may consist of multiple paragraphs. Each subsequent
paragraph in a list item must be indented by either 4 spaces or one
tab.”4. “It looks nice if you indent every line of the subsequent paragraphs,
but here again, Markdown will allow you to be lazy.”5. “To put a blockquote within a list item, the blockquote’s `>`
delimiters need to be indented.”6. “To put a code block within a list item, the code block needs to be
indented twice — 8 spaces or two tabs.”These rules specify that a paragraph under a list item must be indented
four spaces (presumably, from the left margin, rather than the start of
the list marker, but this is not said), and that code under a list item
must be indented eight spaces instead of the usual four. They also say
that a block quote must be indented, but not by how much; however, the
example given has four spaces indentation. Although nothing is said
about other kinds of block-level content, it is certainly reasonable to
infer that *all* block elements under a list item, including other
lists, must be indented four spaces. This principle has been called the
*four-space rule*.The four-space rule is clear and principled, and if the reference
implementation `Markdown.pl` had followed it, it probably would have
become the standard. However, `Markdown.pl` allowed paragraphs and
sublists to start with only two spaces indentation, at least on the
outer level. Worse, its behavior was inconsistent: a sublist of an
outer-level list needed two spaces indentation, but a sublist of this
sublist needed three spaces. It is not surprising, then, that different
implementations of Markdown have developed very different rules for
determining what comes under a list item. (Pandoc and python-Markdown,
for example, stuck with Gruber’s syntax description and the four-space
rule, while discount, redcarpet, marked, PHP Markdown, and others
followed `Markdown.pl`’s behavior more closely.)Unfortunately, given the divergences between implementations, there
is no way to give a spec for list items that will be guaranteed not
to break any existing documents. However, the spec given here should
correctly handle lists formatted with either the four-space rule or
the more forgiving `Markdown.pl` behavior, provided they are laid out
in a way that is natural for a human to read.The strategy here is to let the width and indentation of the list marker
determine the indentation necessary for blocks to fall under the list
item, rather than having a fixed and arbitrary number. The writer can
think of the body of the list item as a unit which gets indented to the
right enough to fit the list marker (and any indentation on the list
marker). (The laziness rule, #4, then allows continuation lines to be
unindented if needed.)This rule is superior, we claim, to any rule requiring a fixed level of
indentation from the margin. The four-space rule is clear but
unnatural. It is quite unintuitive that“` markdown
– foobar- baz
“`should be parsed as two lists with an intervening paragraph,“` html

  • foo

bar

  • baz

“`as the four-space rule demands, rather than a single list,“` html

  • foobar
    • baz

“`The choice of four spaces is arbitrary. It can be learned, but it is
not likely to be guessed, and it trips up beginners regularly.Would it help to adopt a two-space rule? The problem is that such
a rule, together with the rule allowing 1–3 spaces indentation of the
initial list marker, allows text that is indented *less than* the
original list marker to be included in the list item. For example,
`Markdown.pl` parses“` markdown
– onetwo
“`as a single list item, with `two` a continuation paragraph:“` html

  • onetwo

“`and similarly“` markdown
> – one
>
> two
“`as“` html

  • onetwo

“`This is extremely unintuitive.Rather than requiring a fixed indent from the margin, we could require
a fixed indent (say, two spaces, or even one space) from the list marker (which
may itself be indented). This proposal would remove the last anomaly
discussed. Unlike the spec presented above, it would count the following
as a list item with a subparagraph, even though the paragraph `bar`
is not indented as far as the first paragraph `foo`:“` markdown
10. foobar
“`Arguably this text does read like a list item with `bar` as a subparagraph,
which may count in favor of the proposal. However, on this proposal indented
code would have to be indented six spaces after the list marker. And this
would break a lot of existing Markdown, which has the pattern:“` markdown
1. fooindented code
“`where the code is indented eight spaces. The spec above, by contrast, will
parse this text as expected, since the code block’s indentation is measured
from the beginning of `foo`.The one case that needs special treatment is a list item that *starts*
with indented code. How much indentation is required in that case, since
we don’t have a “first paragraph” to measure from? Rule #2 simply stipulates
that in such cases, we require one space indentation from the list marker
(and then the normal four spaces for the indented code). This will match the
four-space rule in cases where the list marker plus its initial indentation
takes four spaces (a common case), but diverge in other cases.## ListsA [list](@list) is a sequence of one or more
list items [of the same type](#of-the-same-type). The list items
may be separated by single [blank lines](#blank-line), but two
blank lines end all containing lists.Two list items are [of the same type](@of-the-same-type)
if they begin with a [list
marker](#list-marker) of the same type. Two list markers are of the
same type if (a) they are bullet list markers using the same character
(`-`, `+`, or `*`) or (b) they are ordered list numbers with the same
delimiter (either `.` or `)`).A list is an [ordered list](@ordered-list)
if its constituent list items begin with
[ordered list markers](#ordered-list-marker), and a [bullet
list](@bullet-list) if its constituent list
items begin with [bullet list markers](#bullet-list-marker).The [start number](@start-number)
of an [ordered list](#ordered-list) is determined by the list number of
its initial list item. The numbers of subsequent list items are
disregarded.A list is [loose](@loose) if it any of its constituent
list items are separated by blank lines, or if any of its constituent
list items directly contain two block-level elements with a blank line
between them. Otherwise a list is [tight](@tight).
(The difference in HTML output is that paragraphs in a loose list are
wrapped in “ tags, while paragraphs in a tight list are not.)Changing the bullet or ordered list delimiter starts a new list:.
– foo
– bar
+ baz
.

  • foo
  • bar
  • baz

..
1. foo
2. bar
3) baz
.

  • foo
  • bar
  • baz

.In CommonMark, a list can interrupt a paragraph. That is,
no blank line is needed to separate a paragraph from a following
list:.
Foo
– bar
– baz
.Foo

  • bar
  • baz

.`Markdown.pl` does not allow this, through fear of triggering a list
via a numeral in a hard-wrapped line:.
The number of windows in my house is
14. The number of doors is 6.
.The number of windows in my house is

  • The number of doors is 6.

.Oddly, `Markdown.pl` *does* allow a blockquote to interrupt a paragraph,
even though the same considerations might apply. We think that the two
cases should be treated the same. Here are two reasons for allowing
lists to interrupt paragraphs:First, it is natural and not uncommon for people to start lists without
blank lines:I need to buy
– new shoes
– a coat
– a plane ticketSecond, we are attracted to a> [principle of uniformity](@principle-of-uniformity):
> if a span of text has a certain
> meaning, it will continue to have the same meaning when put into a list
> item.(Indeed, the spec for [list items](#list-item) presupposes this.)
This principle implies that if* I need to buy
– new shoes
– a coat
– a plane ticketis a list item containing a paragraph followed by a nested sublist,
as all Markdown implementations agree it is (though the paragraph
may be rendered without “ tags, since the list is “tight”),
thenI need to buy
– new shoes
– a coat
– a plane ticketby itself should be a paragraph followed by a nested sublist.Our adherence to the [principle of uniformity](#principle-of-uniformity)
thus inclines us to think that there are two coherent packages:1. Require blank lines before *all* lists and blockquotes,
including lists that occur as sublists inside other list items.2. Require blank lines in none of these places.[reStructuredText](http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html) takes
the first approach, for which there is much to be said. But the second
seems more consistent with established practice with Markdown.There can be blank lines between items, but two blank lines end
a list:.
– foo- bar- baz
.

  • foo
  • bar
  • baz

.As illustrated above in the section on [list items](#list-item),
two blank lines between blocks *within* a list item will also end a
list:.
– foobar
– baz
.

  • foo

bar

  • baz

.Indeed, two blank lines will end *all* containing lists:.
– foo
– bar
– bazbim
.

  • foo
    • bar
      • baz

bim .Thus, two blank lines can be used to separate consecutive lists of
the same type, or to separate a list from an indented code block
that would otherwise be parsed as a subparagraph of the final list
item:.
– foo
– bar- baz
– bim
.

  • foo
  • bar
  • baz
  • bim

..
– foonotcode- foocode
.

  • foonotcode
  • foo

code .List items need not be indented to the same level. The following
list items will be treated as items at the same list level,
since none is indented enough to belong to the previous list
item:.
– a
– b
– c
– d
– e
– f
– g
.

  • a
  • b
  • c
  • d
  • e
  • f
  • g

.This is a loose list, because there is a blank line between
two of the list items:.
– a
– b- c
.

  • a
  • b
  • c

.So is this, with a empty second item:.
* a
** c
.

  • a
  • c

.These are loose lists, even though there is no space between the items,
because one of the items directly contains two block-level elements
with a blank line between them:.
– a
– bc
– d
.

  • a
  • bc
  • d

..
– a
– b[ref]: /url
– d
.

  • a
  • b
  • d

.This is a tight list, because the blank lines are in a code block:.
– a
– “`
b“`
– c
.

  • a
  • b
    
    
    
  • c

.This is a tight list, because the blank line is between two
paragraphs of a sublist. So the sublist is loose while
the outer list is tight:.
– a
– bc
– d
.

  • a
    • bc
  • d

.This is a tight list, because the blank line is inside the
block quote:.
* a
> b
>
* c
.

  • a

    b

  • c

.This list is tight, because the consecutive block elements
are not separated by blank lines:.
– a
> b
“`
c
“`
– d
.

  • a

    b

    c
    
  • d

.A single-paragraph list is tight:.
– a
.

  • a

..
– a
– b
.

  • a
    • b

.Here the outer list is loose, the inner list tight:.
* foo
* barbaz
.

  • foo
    • bar

    baz

..
– a
– b
– c- d
– e
– f
.

  • a
    • b
    • c
  • d
    • e
    • f

.# InlinesInlines are parsed sequentially from the beginning of the character
stream to the end (left to right, in left-to-right languages).
Thus, for example, in.
`hi`lo`
.hilo`.`hi` is parsed as code, leaving the backtick at the end as a literal
backtick.## Backslash escapesAny ASCII punctuation character may be backslash-escaped:.
\!\”\#\$\%\&\’\(\)\*\+\,\-\.\/\:\;\\?\@\[\\\]\^\_\`\{\|\}\~
.!”#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@[\]^_`{|}~.Backslashes before other characters are treated as literal
backslashes:.
\→\A\a\ \3\φ\«
.\ \A\a\ \3\φ\«.Escaped characters are treated as regular characters and do
not have their usual Markdown meanings:.
\*not emphasized*
\
not a tag
\[not a link](/foo)
\`not code`
1\. not a list
\* not a list
# not a header
\[foo]: /url “not a reference”
.*not emphasized*
<br/> not a tag
[not a link](/foo)
`not code`
1. not a list
* not a list
# not a header
[foo]: /url “not a reference”.If a backslash is itself escaped, the following character is not:.
\\*emphasis*
.\emphasis.A backslash at the end of the line is a [hard line
break](#hard-line-break):.
foo\
bar
.foo
bar.Backslash escapes do not work in code blocks, code spans, autolinks, or
raw HTML:.
“ \[\` “
.\[\`..
\[\]
.\[\] ..
~~~
[]
~~~
.\[\] http://example.com?find=\*..

.
 .But they work in all other contexts, including URLs and link titles,
link references, and info strings in [fenced code
blocks](#fenced-code-block):.
[foo](/bar\* “ti\*tle”)
.foo..
[foo][foo]: /bar\* “ti\*tle”
.foo..
“` foo\+bar
foo
“`
.foo .## EntitiesWith the goal of making this standard as HTML-agnostic as possible, all
valid HTML entities in any context are recognized as such and
converted into unicode characters before they are stored in the AST.This allows implementations that target HTML output to trivially escape
the entities when generating HTML, and simplifies the job of
implementations targetting other languages, as these will only need to
handle the unicode chars and need not be HTML-entity aware.[Named entities](@name-entities) consist of `&`
+ any of the valid HTML5 entity names + `;`. The
[following document](http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/entities.json)
is used as an authoritative source of the valid entity names and their
corresponding codepoints.Conforming implementations that target HTML don’t need to generate
entities for all the valid named entities that exist, with the exception
of `”` (`”`), `&` (`&`), “ (`>`), which
always need to be written as entities for security reasons..
& © Æ &Dcaron; ¾ &HilbertSpace; &DifferentialD; &ClockwiseContourIntegral;
.& © Æ Ď ¾ ℋ ⅆ ∲.[Decimal entities](@decimal-entities)
consist of `&#` + a string of 1–8 arabic digits + `;`. Again, these
entities need to be recognised and tranformed into their corresponding
UTF8 codepoints. Invalid Unicode codepoints will be written as the
“unknown codepoint” character (`0xFFFD`).
# Ӓ Ϡ &#98765432;
.# Ӓ Ϡ �.[Hexadecimal entities](@hexadecimal-entities)
consist of `&#` + either `X` or `x` + a string of 1-8 hexadecimal digits
+ `;`. They will also be parsed and turned into their corresponding UTF8 values in the AST..
” ആ ಫ
.” ആ ಫ.Here are some nonentities:.
&nbsp &x; &#; &#x; &ThisIsWayTooLongToBeAnEntityIsntIt; &hi?;
.&nbsp &x; &#; &#x; &ThisIsWayTooLongToBeAnEntityIsntIt; &hi?;.Although HTML5 does accept some entities without a trailing semicolon
(such as `&copy`), these are not recognized as entities here, because it
makes the grammar too ambiguous:.
&copy
.&copy.Strings that are not on the list of HTML5 named entities are not
recognized as entities either:.
&MadeUpEntity;
.&MadeUpEntity;.Entities are recognized in any context besides code spans or
code blocks, including raw HTML, URLs, [link titles](#link-title), and
[fenced code block](#fenced-code-block) info strings:.

.
 ..
[foo](/föö “föö”)
.foo..
[foo][foo]: /föö “föö”
.foo..
“` föö
foo
“`
.foo .Entities are treated as literal text in code spans and code blocks:.
`föö`
.f&ouml;&ouml;..
föfö
.f&ouml;f&ouml; .## Code spanA [backtick string](@backtick-string)
is a string of one or more backtick characters (“ ` “) that is neither
preceded nor followed by a backtick.A

(@code-span) begins with a backtick string and ends with a backtick
string of equal length. The contents of the code span are the
characters between the two backtick strings, with leading and trailing
spaces and newlines removed, and consecutive spaces and newlines
collapsed to single spaces.This is a simple code span:.
`foo`
.foo.Here two backticks are used, because the code contains a backtick.
This example also illustrates stripping of leading and trailing spaces:.
“ foo ` bar “
.foo ` bar.This example shows the motivation for stripping leading and trailing
spaces:.
` “ `
.``.Newlines are treated like spaces:.

foo

.foo.Interior spaces and newlines are collapsed into single spaces, just
as they would be by a browser:.
`foo bar
baz`
.foo bar baz.Q: Why not just leave the spaces, since browsers will collapse them
anyway? A: Because we might be targeting a non-HTML format, and we
shouldn’t rely on HTML-specific rendering assumptions.(Existing implementations differ in their treatment of internal
spaces and newlines. Some, including `Markdown.pl` and
`showdown`, convert an internal newline into a `
` tag.
But this makes things difficult for those who like to hard-wrap
their paragraphs, since a line break in the midst of a code
span will cause an unintended line break in the output. Others
just leave internal spaces as they are, which is fine if only
HTML is being targeted.).
`foo “ bar`
.foo `` bar.Note that backslash escapes do not work in code spans. All backslashes
are treated literally:.
`foo\`bar`
.foo\bar`.Backslash escapes are never needed, because one can always choose a
string of *n* backtick characters as delimiters, where the code does
not contain any strings of exactly *n* backtick characters.Code span backticks have higher precedence than any other inline
constructs except HTML tags and autolinks. Thus, for example, this is
not parsed as emphasized text, since the second `*` is part of a code
span:.
*foo`*`
.*foo*.And this is not parsed as a link:.
[not a `link](/foo`)
.[not a link](/foo).But this is a link:.
`
.http://foo.bar.`baz`.And this is an HTML tag:.
`
.
`.When a backtick string is not closed by a matching backtick string,
we just have literal backticks:.
“`foo“
.“`foo“..
`foo
.`foo.## Emphasis and strong emphasisJohn Gruber’s original [Markdown syntax
description](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax#em) says:> Markdown treats asterisks (`*`) and underscores (`_`) as indicators of
> emphasis. Text wrapped with one `*` or `_` will be wrapped with an HTML
> `` tag; double `*`’s or `_`’s will be wrapped with an HTML ``
> tag.
This is enough for most users, but these rules leave much undecided,
especially when it comes to nested emphasis. The original
`Markdown.pl` test suite makes it clear that triple `***` and
`___` delimiters can be used for strong emphasis, and most
implementations have also allowed the following patterns:“` markdown
***strong emph***
***strong** in emph*
***emph* in strong**
**in strong *emph***
*in emph **strong***
“`The following patterns are less widely supported, but the intent
is clear and they are useful (especially in contexts like bibliography
entries):“` markdown
*emph *with emph* in it*
**strong **with strong** in it**
“`Many implementations have also restricted intraword emphasis to
the `*` forms, to avoid unwanted emphasis in words containing
internal underscores. (It is best practice to put these in code
spans, but users often do not.)“` markdown
internal emphasis: foo*bar*baz
no emphasis: foo_bar_baz
“`The following rules capture all of these patterns, while allowing
for efficient parsing strategies that do not backtrack:1. A single `*` character [can open emphasis](@can-open-emphasis)
iff it is not followed by
whitespace.2. A single `_` character [can open emphasis](#can-open-emphasis) iff
it is not followed by whitespace and it is not preceded by an
ASCII alphanumeric character.3. A single `*` character [can close emphasis](@can-close-emphasis)
iff it is not preceded by whitespace.4. A single `_` character [can close emphasis](#can-close-emphasis) iff
it is not preceded by whitespace and it is not followed by an
ASCII alphanumeric character.5. A double `**` [can open strong emphasis](@can-open-strong-emphasis)
iff it is not followed by
whitespace.6. A double `__` [can open strong emphasis](#can-open-strong-emphasis)
iff it is not followed by whitespace and it is not preceded by an
ASCII alphanumeric character.7. A double `**` [can close strong emphasis](@can-close-strong-emphasis)
iff it is not preceded by
whitespace.8. A double `__` [can close strong emphasis](#can-close-strong-emphasis)
iff it is not preceded by whitespace and it is not followed by an
ASCII alphanumeric character.9. Emphasis begins with a delimiter that [can open
emphasis](#can-open-emphasis) and ends with a delimiter that [can close
emphasis](#can-close-emphasis), and that uses the same
character (`_` or `*`) as the opening delimiter. There must
be a nonempty sequence of inlines between the open delimiter
and the closing delimiter; these form the contents of the emphasis
inline.10. Strong emphasis begins with a delimiter that [can open strong
emphasis](#can-open-strong-emphasis) and ends with a delimiter that
[can close strong emphasis](#can-close-strong-emphasis), and that
uses the same character (`_` or `*`) as the opening delimiter.
There must be a nonempty sequence of inlines between the open
delimiter and the closing delimiter; these form the contents of
the strong emphasis inline.11. A literal `*` character cannot occur at the beginning or end of
`*`-delimited emphasis or `**`-delimited strong emphasis, unless it
is backslash-escaped.12. A literal `_` character cannot occur at the beginning or end of
`_`-delimited emphasis or `__`-delimited strong emphasis, unless it
is backslash-escaped.Where rules 1–12 above are compatible with multiple parsings,
the following principles resolve ambiguity:13. The number of nestings should be minimized. Thus, for example,
an interpretation `` is always preferred to
``.14. An interpretation `` is always
preferred to `..`.15. When two potential emphasis or strong emphasis spans overlap,
so that the second begins before the first ends and ends after
the first ends, the first is preferred. Thus, for example,
`*foo _bar* baz_` is parsed as `foo _bar baz_` rather
than `*foo bar* baz`. For the same reason,
`**foo*bar**` is parsed as `foobar*`
rather than `foo*bar`.16. When there are two potential emphasis or strong emphasis spans
with the same closing delimiter, the shorter one (the one that
opens later) is preferred. Thus, for example,
`**foo **bar baz**` is parsed as `**foo bar baz`
rather than `foo **bar baz`.17. Inline code spans, links, images, and HTML tags group more tightly
than emphasis. So, when there is a choice between an interpretation
that contains one of these elements and one that does not, the
former always wins. Thus, for example, `*[foo*](bar)` is
parsed as `*foo*` rather than as
`[foo](bar)`.These rules can be illustrated through a series of examples.Rule 1:.
*foo bar*
.foo bar.This is not emphasis, because the opening `*` is followed by
whitespace:.
a * foo bar*
.a * foo bar*.Intraword emphasis with `*` is permitted:.
foo*bar*
.foobar..
5*6*78
.5678.Rule 2:.
_foo bar_
.foo bar.This is not emphasis, because the opening `*` is followed by
whitespace:.
_ foo bar_
._ foo bar_.Emphasis with `_` is not allowed inside ASCII words:.
foo_bar_
.foo_bar_..
5_6_78
.5_6_78.But it is permitted inside non-ASCII words:.
пристаням_стремятся_
.пристанямстремятся.Rule 3:This is not emphasis, because the closing `*` is preceded by
whitespace:.
*foo bar *
.*foo bar *.Intraword emphasis with `*` is allowed:.
*foo*bar
.foobar.Rule 4:This is not emphasis, because the closing `_` is preceded by
whitespace:.
_foo bar _
._foo bar _.Intraword emphasis:.
_foo_bar
._foo_bar..
_пристаням_стремятся
.пристанямстремятся..
_foo_bar_baz_
.foo_bar_baz.Rule 5:.
**foo bar**
.foo bar.This is not strong emphasis, because the opening delimiter is
followed by whitespace:.
** foo bar**
.** foo bar**.Intraword strong emphasis with `**` is permitted:.
foo**bar**
.foobar.Rule 6:.
__foo bar__
.foo bar.This is not strong emphasis, because the opening delimiter is
followed by whitespace:.
__ foo bar__
.__ foo bar__.Intraword emphasis examples:.
foo__bar__
.foo__bar__..
5__6__78
.5__6__78..
пристаням__стремятся__
.пристанямстремятся..
__foo, __bar__, baz__
.foo, bar, baz.Rule 7:This is not strong emphasis, because the closing delimiter is preceded
by whitespace:.
**foo bar **
.**foo bar **.(Nor can it be interpreted as an emphasized `*foo bar *`, because of
Rule 11.)Intraword emphasis:.
**foo**bar
.foobar.Rule 8:This is not strong emphasis, because the closing delimiter is
preceded by whitespace:.
__foo bar __
.__foo bar __.Intraword strong emphasis examples:.
__foo__bar
.__foo__bar..
__пристаням__стремятся
.пристанямстремятся..
__foo__bar__baz__
.foo__bar__baz.Rule 9:Any nonempty sequence of inline elements can be the contents of an
emphasized span..
*foo [bar](/url)*
.foo bar..
*foo
bar*
.foo
bar
.In particular, emphasis and strong emphasis can be nested
inside emphasis:.
_foo __bar__ baz_
.foo bar baz..
_foo _bar_ baz_
.foo bar baz..
__foo_ bar_
.foo bar..
*foo *bar**
.foo bar..
*foo **bar** baz*
.foo bar baz.But note:.
*foo**bar**baz*
.foobarbaz.The difference is that in the preceding case,
the internal delimiters [can close emphasis](#can-close-emphasis),
while in the cases with spaces, they cannot..
***foo** bar*
.foo bar..
*foo **bar***
.foo bar.Note, however, that in the following case we get no strong
emphasis, because the opening delimiter is closed by the first
`*` before `bar`:.
*foo**bar***
.foobar**.Indefinite levels of nesting are possible:.
*foo **bar *baz* bim** bop*
.foo bar baz bim bop..
*foo [*bar*](/url)*
.foo bar.There can be no empty emphasis or strong emphasis:.
** is not an empty emphasis
.** is not an empty emphasis..
**** is not an empty strong emphasis
.**** is not an empty strong emphasis.Rule 10:Any nonempty sequence of inline elements can be the contents of an
strongly emphasized span..
**foo [bar](/url)**
.foo bar..
**foo
bar**
.foo
bar
.In particular, emphasis and strong emphasis can be nested
inside strong emphasis:.
__foo _bar_ baz__
.foo bar baz..
__foo __bar__ baz__
.foo bar baz..
____foo__ bar__
.foo bar..
**foo **bar****
.foo bar..
**foo *bar* baz**
.foo bar baz.But note:.
**foo*bar*baz**
.foobarbaz**.The difference is that in the preceding case,
the internal delimiters [can close emphasis](#can-close-emphasis),
while in the cases with spaces, they cannot..
***foo* bar**
.foo bar..
**foo *bar***
.foo bar.Indefinite levels of nesting are possible:.
**foo *bar **baz**
bim* bop**
.foo bar baz
bim
bop
..
**foo [*bar*](/url)**
.foo bar.There can be no empty emphasis or strong emphasis:.
__ is not an empty emphasis
.__ is not an empty emphasis..
____ is not an empty strong emphasis
.____ is not an empty strong emphasis.Rule 11:.
foo ***
.foo ***..
foo *\**
.foo *..
foo *_*
.foo _..
foo *****
.foo *****..
foo **\***
.foo *..
foo **_**
.foo _.Note that when delimiters do not match evenly, Rule 11 determines
that the excess literal `*` characters will appear outside of the
emphasis, rather than inside it:.
**foo*
.*foo..
*foo**
.foo*..
***foo**
.*foo..
****foo*
.***foo..
**foo***
.foo*..
*foo****
.foo***.Rule 12:.
foo ___
.foo ___..
foo _\__
.foo _..
foo _*_
.foo *..
foo _____
.foo _____..
foo __\___
.foo _..
foo __*__
.foo *..
__foo_
._foo.Note that when delimiters do not match evenly, Rule 12 determines
that the excess literal `_` characters will appear outside of the
emphasis, rather than inside it:.
_foo__
.foo_..
___foo__
._foo..
____foo_
.___foo..
__foo___
.foo_..
_foo____
.foo___.Rule 13 implies that if you want emphasis nested directly inside
emphasis, you must use different delimiters:.
**foo**
.foo..
*_foo_*
.foo..
__foo__
.foo..
_*foo*_
.foo.However, strong emphasis within strong emphasisis possible without
switching delimiters:.
****foo****
.foo..
____foo____
.foo.Rule 13 can be applied to arbitrarily long sequences of
delimiters:.
******foo******
.foo.Rule 14:.
***foo***
.foo..
_____foo_____
.foo.Rule 15:.
*foo _bar* baz_
.foo _bar baz_..
**foo*bar**
.foobar*.Rule 16:.
**foo **bar baz**
.**foo bar baz..
*foo *bar baz*
.*foo bar baz.Rule 17:.
*[bar*](/url)
.*bar*..
_foo [bar_](/url)
._foo bar_..
*
.*..
**
.
**..
__
.
__..
*a `*`*
.a *..
_a `_`_
.a _..
**a
.**ahttp://foo.bar?q=**..
__a
.__ahttp://foo.bar?q=__.## LinksA link contains [link text](#link-label) (the visible text),
a [destination](#destination) (the URI that is the link destination),
and optionally a [link title](#link-title). There are two basic kinds
of links in Markdown. In [inline links](#inline-links) the destination
and title are given immediately after the link text. In [reference
links](#reference-links) the destination and title are defined elsewhere
in the document.A [link text](@link-text) consists of a sequence of zero or more
inline elements enclosed by square brackets (`[` and `]`). The
following rules apply:- Links may not contain other links, at any level of nesting.- Brackets are allowed in the link text only if (a) they are
backslash-escaped or (b) they appear as a matched pair of brackets,
with an open bracket `[`, a sequence of zero or more inlines, and
a close bracket `]`.- Backtick

(#code-span), [autolinks](#autolink), and
raw [HTML tags](#html-tag) bind more tightly
than the brackets in link text. Thus, for example,
“ [foo`]` “ could not be a link text, since the second `]`
is part of a code span.- The brackets in link text bind more tightly than markers for
[emphasis and strong emphasis](#emphasis-and-strong-emphasis).
Thus, for example, `*[foo*](url)` is a link.A [link destination](@link-destination) consists of either- a sequence of zero or more characters between an opening “ that contains no line breaks or unescaped “
characters, or- a nonempty sequence of characters that does not include
ASCII space or control characters, and includes parentheses
only if (a) they are backslash-escaped or (b) they are part of
a balanced pair of unescaped parentheses that is not itself
inside a balanced pair of unescaped paretheses.A [link title](@link-title) consists of either- a sequence of zero or more characters between straight double-quote
characters (`”`), including a `”` character only if it is
backslash-escaped, or- a sequence of zero or more characters between straight single-quote
characters (`’`), including a `’` character only if it is
backslash-escaped, or- a sequence of zero or more characters between matching parentheses
(`(…)`), including a `)` character only if it is backslash-escaped.An [inline link](@inline-link)
consists of a [link text](#link-text) followed immediately
by a left parenthesis `(`, optional whitespace,
an optional [link destination](#link-destination),
an optional [link title](#link-title) separated from the link
destination by whitespace, optional whitespace, and a right
parenthesis `)`. The link’s text consists of the inlines contained
in the [link text](#link-text) (excluding the enclosing square brackets).
The link’s URI consists of the link destination, excluding enclosing
“ if present, with backslash-escapes in effect as described
above. The link’s title consists of the link title, excluding its
enclosing delimiters, with backslash-escapes in effect as described
above.Here is a simple inline link:.
[link](/uri “title”)
.link.The title may be omitted:.
[link](/uri)
.link.Both the title and the destination may be omitted:.
[link]()
.link..
[link]()
.link.If the destination contains spaces, it must be enclosed in pointy
braces:.
[link](/my uri)
.[link](/my uri)..
[link]()
.link.The destination cannot contain line breaks, even with pointy braces:.
[link](foo
bar)
.[link](foo
bar).One level of balanced parentheses is allowed without escaping:.
[link]((foo)and(bar))
.link.However, if you have parentheses within parentheses, you need to escape
or use the “ form:.
[link](foo(and(bar)))
.[link](foo(and(bar)))..
[link](foo(and\(bar\)))
.link..
[link]()
.link.Parentheses and other symbols can also be escaped, as usual
in Markdown:.
[link](foo\)\:)
.link.URL-escaping should be left alone inside the destination, as all
URL-escaped characters are also valid URL characters. HTML entities in
the destination will be parsed into their UTF-8 codepoints, as usual, and
optionally URL-escaped when written as HTML..
[link](foo%20bä)
.link.Note that, because titles can often be parsed as destinations,
if you try to omit the destination and keep the title, you’ll
get unexpected results:.
[link](“title”)
.link.Titles may be in single quotes, double quotes, or parentheses:.
[link](/url “title”)
[link](/url ‘title’)
[link](/url (title))
.link
link
link.Backslash escapes and entities may be used in titles:.
[link](/url “title \”””)
.link.Nested balanced quotes are not allowed without escaping:.
[link](/url “title “and” title”)
.[link](/url “title “and” title”).But it is easy to work around this by using a different quote type:.
[link](/url ‘title “and” title’)
.link.(Note: `Markdown.pl` did allow double quotes inside a double-quoted
title, and its test suite included a test demonstrating this.
But it is hard to see a good rationale for the extra complexity this
brings, since there are already many ways—backslash escaping,
entities, or using a different quote type for the enclosing title—to
write titles containing double quotes. `Markdown.pl`’s handling of
titles has a number of other strange features. For example, it allows
single-quoted titles in inline links, but not reference links. And, in
reference links but not inline links, it allows a title to begin with
`”` and end with `)`. `Markdown.pl` 1.0.1 even allows titles with no closing
quotation mark, though 1.0.2b8 does not. It seems preferable to adopt
a simple, rational rule that works the same way in inline links and
link reference definitions.)Whitespace is allowed around the destination and title:.
[link]( /uri
“title” )
.link.But it is not allowed between the link text and the
following parenthesis:.
[link] (/uri)
.[link] (/uri).The link text may contain balanced brackets, but not unbalanced ones,
unless they are escaped:.
[link [foo [bar]]](/uri)
.link [foo [bar]]..
[link] bar](/uri)
.[link] bar](/uri)..
[link [bar](/uri)
.[link bar..
[link \[bar](/uri)
.link [bar.The link text may contain inline content:.
[link *foo **bar** `#`*](/uri)
.link foo bar #..
[![moon](moon.jpg)](/uri)
.moon.However, links may not contain other links, at any level of nesting..
[foo [bar](/uri)](/uri)
.[foo bar](/uri)..
[foo *[bar [baz](/uri)](/uri)*](/uri)
.[foo [bar baz](/uri)](/uri).These cases illustrate the precedence of link text grouping over
emphasis grouping:.
*[foo*](/uri)
.*foo*..
[foo *bar](baz*)
.foo *bar.These cases illustrate the precedence of HTML tags, code spans,
and autolinks over link grouping:.
[foo
.[foo..
[foo`](/uri)`
.[foo](/uri)..
[foo
.[foohttp://example.com?search=](uri).There are three kinds of [reference links](@reference-link):
[full](#full-reference-link), [collapsed](#collapsed-reference-link),
and [shortcut](#shortcut-reference-link).A [full reference link](@full-reference-link)
consists of a [link text](#link-text), optional whitespace, and
a [link label](#link-label) that [matches](#matches) a
[link reference definition](#link-reference-definition) elsewhere in the
document.A [link label](@link-label) begins with a left bracket (`[`) and ends
with the first right bracket (`]`) that is not backslash-escaped.
Unescaped square bracket characters are not allowed in
[link labels](#link-label). A link label can have at most 999
characters inside the square brackets.One label [matches](@matches)
another just in case their normalized forms are equal. To normalize a
label, perform the *unicode case fold* and collapse consecutive internal
whitespace to a single space. If there are multiple matching reference
link definitions, the one that comes first in the document is used. (It
is desirable in such cases to emit a warning.)The contents of the first link label are parsed as inlines, which are
used as the link’s text. The link’s URI and title are provided by the
matching [link reference definition](#link-reference-definition).Here is a simple example:.
[foo][bar][bar]: /url “title”
.foo.The rules for the [link text](#link-text) are the same as with
[inline links](#inline-link). Thus:The link text may contain balanced brackets, but not unbalanced ones,
unless they are escaped:.
[link [foo [bar]]][ref][ref]: /uri
.link [foo [bar]]..
[link \[bar][ref][ref]: /uri
.link [bar.The link text may contain inline content:.
[link *foo **bar** `#`*][ref][ref]: /uri
.link foo bar #..
[![moon](moon.jpg)][ref][ref]: /uri
.moon.However, links may not contain other links, at any level of nesting..
[foo [bar](/uri)][ref][ref]: /uri
.[foo bar]ref..
[foo *bar [baz][ref]*][ref][ref]: /uri
.[foo bar baz]ref.(In the examples above, we have two [shortcut reference
links](#shortcut-reference-link) instead of one [full reference
link](#full-reference-link).)The following cases illustrate the precedence of link text grouping over
emphasis grouping:.
*[foo*][ref][ref]: /uri
.*foo*..
[foo *bar][ref][ref]: /uri
.foo *bar.These cases illustrate the precedence of HTML tags, code spans,
and autolinks over link grouping:.
[foo[ref]: /uri
.[foo..
[foo`][ref]`[ref]: /uri
.[foo][ref]..
[foo[ref]: /uri
.[foohttp://example.com?search=][ref].Matching is case-insensitive:.
[foo][BaR][bar]: /url “title”
.foo.Unicode case fold is used:.
[Толпой][Толпой] is a Russian word.[ТОЛПОЙ]: /url
.Толпой is a Russian word..Consecutive internal whitespace is treated as one space for
purposes of determining matching:.
[Foo
bar]: /url[Baz][Foo bar]
.Baz.There can be whitespace between the [link text](#link-text) and the
[link label](#link-label):.
[foo] [bar][bar]: /url “title”
.foo..
[foo]
[bar][bar]: /url “title”
.foo.When there are multiple matching [link reference
definitions](#link-reference-definition), the first is used:.
[foo]: /url1[foo]: /url2[bar][foo]
.bar.Note that matching is performed on normalized strings, not parsed
inline content. So the following does not match, even though the
labels define equivalent inline content:.
[bar][foo\!][foo!]: /url
.[bar][foo!].[Link labels](#link-label) cannot contain brackets, unless they are
backslash-escaped:.
[foo][ref[][ref[]: /uri
.[foo][ref[][ref[]: /uri..
[foo][ref[bar]][ref[bar]]: /uri
.[foo][ref[bar]][ref[bar]]: /uri..
[[[foo]]][[[foo]]]: /url
.[[[foo]]][[[foo]]]: /url..
[foo][ref\[][ref\[]: /uri
.foo.A [collapsed reference link](@collapsed-reference-link)
consists of a [link
label](#link-label) that [matches](#matches) a [link reference
definition](#link-reference-definition) elsewhere in the
document, optional whitespace, and the string `[]`. The contents of the
first link label are parsed as inlines, which are used as the link’s
text. The link’s URI and title are provided by the matching reference
link definition. Thus, `[foo][]` is equivalent to `[foo][foo]`..
[foo][][foo]: /url “title”
.foo..
[*foo* bar][][*foo* bar]: /url “title”
.foo bar.The link labels are case-insensitive:.
[Foo][][foo]: /url “title”
.Foo.As with full reference links, whitespace is allowed
between the two sets of brackets:.
[foo]
[][foo]: /url “title”
.foo.A [shortcut reference link](@shortcut-reference-link)
consists of a [link
label](#link-label) that [matches](#matches) a [link reference
definition](#link-reference-definition) elsewhere in the
document and is not followed by `[]` or a link label.
The contents of the first link label are parsed as inlines,
which are used as the link’s text. the link’s URI and title
are provided by the matching link reference definition.
Thus, `[foo]` is equivalent to `[foo][]`..
[foo][foo]: /url “title”
.foo..
[*foo* bar][*foo* bar]: /url “title”
.foo bar..
[[*foo* bar]][*foo* bar]: /url “title”
.[foo bar].The link labels are case-insensitive:.
[Foo][foo]: /url “title”
.Foo.If you just want bracketed text, you can backslash-escape the
opening bracket to avoid links:.
\[foo][foo]: /url “title”
.[foo].Note that this is a link, because a link label ends with the first
following closing bracket:.
[foo*]: /url*[foo*]
.*foo*.This is a link too, for the same reason:.
[foo`]: /url[foo`]`
.[foo].Full references take precedence over shortcut references:.
[foo][bar][foo]: /url1
[bar]: /url2
.foo.In the following case `[bar][baz]` is parsed as a reference,
`[foo]` as normal text:.
[foo][bar][baz][baz]: /url
.[foo]bar.Here, though, `[foo][bar]` is parsed as a reference, since
`[bar]` is defined:.
[foo][bar][baz][baz]: /url1
[bar]: /url2
.foobaz.Here `[foo]` is not parsed as a shortcut reference, because it
is followed by a link label (even though `[bar]` is not defined):.
[foo][bar][baz][baz]: /url1
[foo]: /url2
.[foo]bar.## ImagesSyntax for images is like the syntax for links, with one
difference. Instead of [link text](#link-text), we have an [image
description](@image-description). The rules for this are the
same as for [link text](#link-text), except that (a) an
image description starts with `![` rather than `[`, and
(b) an image description may contain links, but not images
(even deeply nested). An image description has inline elements
as its contents. When an image is rendered to HTML,
this is standardly used as the image’s `alt` attribute..
![foo](/url “title”)
.foo..
![foo *bar*][foo *bar*]: train.jpg “train & tracks”
.foo bar..
![foo ![bar](/url)](/url2)
.![foo bar](/url2)..
![foo [bar](/url)](/url2)
.foo bar.Though this spec is concerned with parsing, not rendering, it is
recommended that in rendering to HTML, only the plain string content
of the [image description](#image-description) be used. Note that in
the above example, the alt attribute’s value is `foo bar`, not `foo
[bar](/url)` or `foo bar`. Only the plain string
content is rendered, without formatting..
![foo *bar*][][foo *bar*]: train.jpg “train & tracks”
.foo bar..
![foo *bar*][foobar][FOOBAR]: train.jpg “train & tracks”
.foo bar..
![foo](train.jpg)
.foo..
My ![foo bar](/path/to/train.jpg “title” )
.My foo bar..
![foo]()
.foo..
![](/url)
..Reference-style:.
![foo] [bar][bar]: /url
.foo..
![foo] [bar][BAR]: /url
.foo.Collapsed:.
![foo][][foo]: /url “title”
.foo..
![*foo* bar][][*foo* bar]: /url “title”
.foo bar.The labels are case-insensitive:.
![Foo][][foo]: /url “title”
.Foo.As with full reference links, whitespace is allowed
between the two sets of brackets:.
![foo]
[][foo]: /url “title”
.foo.Shortcut:.
![foo][foo]: /url “title”
.foo..
![*foo* bar][*foo* bar]: /url “title”
.foo bar.Note that link labels cannot contain unescaped brackets:.
![[foo]][[foo]]: /url “title”
.![[foo]][[foo]]: /url “title”.The link labels are case-insensitive:.
![Foo][foo]: /url “title”
.Foo.If you just want bracketed text, you can backslash-escape the
opening `!` and `[`:.
\!\[foo][foo]: /url “title”
.![foo].If you want a link after a literal `!`, backslash-escape the
`!`:.
\![foo][foo]: /url “title”
.!foo.## Autolinks[Autolinks](@autolink) are absolute URIs and email addresses inside “.
They are parsed as links, with the URL or email address as the link
label.A [URI autolink](@uri-autolink)
consists of `<`, followed by an [absolute
URI](#absolute-uri) not containing “. It is parsed
as a link to the URI, with the URI as the link’s label.An [absolute URI](@absolute-uri),
for these purposes, consists of a [scheme](#scheme) followed by a colon (`:`)
followed by zero or more characters other than ASCII whitespace and
control characters, “. If the URI includes these characters,
you must use percent-encoding (e.g. `%20` for a space).The following [schemes](@scheme)
are recognized (case-insensitive):
`coap`, `doi`, `javascript`, `aaa`, `aaas`, `about`, `acap`, `cap`,
`cid`, `crid`, `data`, `dav`, `dict`, `dns`, `file`, `ftp`, `geo`, `go`,
`gopher`, `h323`, `http`, `https`, `iax`, `icap`, `im`, `imap`, `info`,
`ipp`, `iris`, `iris.beep`, `iris.xpc`, `iris.xpcs`, `iris.lwz`, `ldap`,
`mailto`, `mid`, `msrp`, `msrps`, `mtqp`, `mupdate`, `news`, `nfs`,
`ni`, `nih`, `nntp`, `opaquelocktoken`, `pop`, `pres`, `rtsp`,
`service`, `session`, `shttp`, `sieve`, `sip`, `sips`, `sms`, `snmp`,`
soap.beep`, `soap.beeps`, `tag`, `tel`, `telnet`, `tftp`, `thismessage`,
`tn3270`, `tip`, `tv`, `urn`, `vemmi`, `ws`, `wss`, `xcon`,
`xcon-userid`, `xmlrpc.beep`, `xmlrpc.beeps`, `xmpp`, `z39.50r`,
`z39.50s`, `adiumxtra`, `afp`, `afs`, `aim`, `apt`,` attachment`, `aw`,
`beshare`, `bitcoin`, `bolo`, `callto`, `chrome`,` chrome-extension`,
`com-eventbrite-attendee`, `content`, `cvs`,` dlna-playsingle`,
`dlna-playcontainer`, `dtn`, `dvb`, `ed2k`, `facetime`, `feed`,
`finger`, `fish`, `gg`, `git`, `gizmoproject`, `gtalk`, `hcp`, `icon`,
`ipn`, `irc`, `irc6`, `ircs`, `itms`, `jar`, `jms`, `keyparc`, `lastfm`,
`ldaps`, `magnet`, `maps`, `market`,` message`, `mms`, `ms-help`,
`msnim`, `mumble`, `mvn`, `notes`, `oid`, `palm`, `paparazzi`,
`platform`, `proxy`, `psyc`, `query`, `res`, `resource`, `rmi`, `rsync`,
`rtmp`, `secondlife`, `sftp`, `sgn`, `skype`, `smb`, `soldat`,
`spotify`, `ssh`, `steam`, `svn`, `teamspeak`, `things`, `udp`,
`unreal`, `ut2004`, `ventrilo`, `view-source`, `webcal`, `wtai`,
`wyciwyg`, `xfire`, `xri`, `ymsgr`.Here are some valid autolinks:..http://foo.bar.bazhttp://foo.bar.baz?q=hello&id=22&booleanirc://foo.bar:2233/baz.Uppercase is also fine:..MAILTO:FOO@BAR.BAZ.Spaces are not allowed in autolinks:..<http://foo.bar/baz bim>.An [email autolink](@email-autolink)
consists of “. The link’s label is the email address,
and the URL is `mailto:` followed by the email address.An [email address](@email-address),
for these purposes, is anything that matches
the [non-normative regex from the HTML5
spec](http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/forms.html#e-mail-state-%28type=email%29):/^[a-zA-Z0-9.!#$%&’*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+@[a-zA-Z0-9](?:[a-zA-Z0-9-]{0,61}[a-zA-Z0-9])?
(?:\.[a-zA-Z0-9](?:[a-zA-Z0-9-]{0,61}[a-zA-Z0-9])?)*$/Examples of email autolinks:..foo@bar.example.comfoo+special@Bar.baz-bar0.com.These are not autolinks:..<>…<heck://bing.bong>…< http://foo.bar >…<foo.bar.baz>…<localhost:5001/foo>..
http://example.com
.http://example.com..
foo@bar.example.com
.foo@bar.example.com.## Raw HTMLText between “ that looks like an HTML tag is parsed as a
raw HTML tag and will be rendered in HTML without escaping.
Tag and attribute names are not limited to current HTML tags,
so custom tags (and even, say, DocBook tags) may be used.Here is the grammar for tags:A [tag name](@tag-name) consists of an ASCII letter
followed by zero or more ASCII letters or digits.An [attribute](@attribute) consists of whitespace,
an [attribute name](#attribute-name), and an optional
[attribute value specification](#attribute-value-specification).An [attribute name](@attribute-name)
consists of an ASCII letter, `_`, or `:`, followed by zero or more ASCII
letters, digits, `_`, `.`, `:`, or `-`. (Note: This is the XML
specification restricted to ASCII. HTML5 is laxer.)An [attribute value specification](@attribute-value-specification)
consists of optional whitespace,
a `=` character, optional whitespace, and an [attribute
value](#attribute-value).An [attribute value](@attribute-value)
consists of an [unquoted attribute value](#unquoted-attribute-value),
a [single-quoted attribute value](#single-quoted-attribute-value),
or a [double-quoted attribute value](#double-quoted-attribute-value).An [unquoted attribute value](@unquoted-attribute-value)
is a nonempty string of characters not
including spaces, `”`, `’`, `=`, “, or “ ` “.A [single-quoted attribute value](@single-quoted-attribute-value)
consists of `’`, zero or more
characters not including `’`, and a final `’`.A [double-quoted attribute value](@double-quoted-attribute-value)
consists of `”`, zero or more
characters not including `”`, and a final `”`.An [open tag](@open-tag) consists of a “ character.A [closing tag](@closing-tag) consists of the
string “.An [HTML comment](@html-comment) consists of the
string “.A [processing instruction](@processing-instruction)
consists of the string “, and the string
`?>`.A [declaration](@declaration) consists of the
string “, and
the character `>`.A [CDATA section](@cdata-section) consists of
the string “, and the string `]]>`.An [HTML tag](@html-tag) consists of an [open
tag](#open-tag), a [closing tag](#closing-tag), an [HTML
comment](#html-comment), a [processing
instruction](#processing-instruction), an [element type
declaration](#element-type-declaration), or a [CDATA
section](#cdata-section).Here are some simple open tags:.

.
 .Empty elements:.

. .Whitespace is allowed:.

. .With attributes:.
<a foo=”bar” bam = ‘baz
_boolean zoop:33=zoop:33 />
.<a foo=”bar” bam = ‘baz
_boolean zoop:33=zoop:33 />.Illegal tag names, not parsed as HTML:..<33> <__>.Illegal attribute names:.

Hi
Hi


.

<a h*#ref=”hi”>

.

Illegal attribute values:

.

.

<a href=”hi’> <a href=hi’>

.

Illegal whitespace:

.

.

< a><
foo><bar/ >

.

Missing whitespace:

.

.

<a href=’bar’title=title>

.

Closing tags:

.

.

.

Illegal attributes in closing tag:

.

.

</a href=”foo”>

.

Comments:

.
foo
.

foo

.

.
foo
.

foo <!– not a comment — two hyphens –>

.

Processing instructions:

.
foo
.

foo

.

Declarations:

.
foo
.

foo

.

CDATA sections:

.
foo &
.

foo &

.

Entities are preserved in HTML attributes:

.

.

 

.

Backslash escapes do not work in HTML attributes:

.

.

 

.

.

.

<a href=”””>

.

Hard line breaks

A line break (not in a code span or HTML tag) that is preceded
by two or more spaces and does not occur at the end of a block
is parsed as a hard line break (rendered
in HTML as a tag):

.
foo
baz
.

foo
baz

.

For a more visible alternative, a backslash before the newline may be
used instead of two spaces:

.
foo\
baz
.

foo
baz

.

More than two spaces can be used:

.
foo
baz
.

foo
baz

.

Leading spaces at the beginning of the next line are ignored:

.
foo
bar
.

foo
bar

.

.
foo\
bar
.

foo
bar

.

Line breaks can occur inside emphasis, links, and other constructs
that allow inline content:

.
foo
bar

.

foo
bar

.

.
foo\
bar

.

foo
bar

.

Line breaks do not occur inside code spans

.
code
span

.

code span

.

.
code\
span

.

code\ span

.

or HTML tags:

.

.

 

.

.

.

 

.

Hard line breaks are for separating inline content within a block.
Neither syntax for hard line breaks works at the end of a paragraph or
other block element:

.
foo\
.

foo\

.

.
foo
.

foo

.

.

foo\

.

foo\

.

.

foo

.

foo

.

Soft line breaks

A regular line break (not in a code span or HTML tag) that is not
preceded by two or more spaces is parsed as a softbreak. (A
softbreak may be rendered in HTML either as a newline or as a space.
The result will be the same in browsers. In the examples here, a
newline will be used.)

.
foo
baz
.

foo
baz

.

Spaces at the end of the line and beginning of the next line are
removed:

.
foo
baz
.

foo
baz

.

A conforming parser may render a soft line break in HTML either as a
line break or as a space.

A renderer may also provide an option to render soft line breaks
as hard line breaks.

Strings

Any characters not given an interpretation by the above rules will
be parsed as string content.

.
hello $.;’there
.

hello $.;’there

.

.
Foo χρῆν
.

Foo χρῆν

.

Internal spaces are preserved verbatim:

.
Multiple spaces
.

Multiple spaces

.

Appendix A: A parsing strategy {-}

Overview {-}

Parsing has two phases:

  1. In the first phase, lines of input are consumed and the block
    structure of the document—its division into paragraphs, block quotes,
    list items, and so on—is constructed. Text is assigned to these
    blocks but not parsed. Link reference definitions are parsed and a
    map of links is constructed.
  • In the second phase, the raw text contents of paragraphs and headers
    are parsed into sequences of Markdown inline elements (strings,
    code spans, links, emphasis, and so on), using the map of link
    references constructed in phase 1.

  • The document tree {-}

    At each point in processing, the document is represented as a tree of
    blocks. The root of the tree is a document block. The document
    may have any number of other blocks as children. These children
    may, in turn, have other blocks as children. The last child of a block
    is normally considered open, meaning that subsequent lines of input
    can alter its contents. (Blocks that are not open are closed.)
    Here, for example, is a possible document tree, with the open blocks
    marked by arrows:

    -> document
    -> block_quote
    paragraph
    "Lorem ipsum dolornsit amet."
    -> list (type=bullet tight=true bullet_char=-)
    list_item
    paragraph
    "Qui *quodsi iracundia*"
    -> list_item
    -> paragraph
    "aliquando id"

    How source lines alter the document tree {-}

    Each line that is processed has an effect on this tree. The line is
    analyzed and, depending on its contents, the document may be altered
    in one or more of the following ways:

    1. One or more open blocks may be closed.
    2. One or more new blocks may be created as children of the
      last open block.
    3. Text may be added to the last (deepest) open block remaining
      on the tree.

    Once a line has been incorporated into the tree in this way,
    it can be discarded, so input can be read in a stream.

    We can see how this works by considering how the tree above is
    generated by four lines of Markdown:

    > Lorem ipsum dolor
    sit amet.
    > – Qui *quodsi iracundia*
    > – aliquando id

    At the outset, our document model is just

    -> document

    The first line of our text,

    > Lorem ipsum dolor

    causes a block_quote block to be created as a child of our
    open document block, and a paragraph block as a child of
    the block_quote. Then the text is added to the last open
    block, the paragraph:

    -> document
    -> block_quote
    -> paragraph
    "Lorem ipsum dolor"

    The next line,

    sit amet.

    is a “lazy continuation” of the open paragraph, so it gets added
    to the paragraph’s text:

    -> document
    -> block_quote
    -> paragraph
    "Lorem ipsum dolornsit amet."

    The third line,

    > – Qui *quodsi iracundia*

    causes the paragraph block to be closed, and a new list block
    opened as a child of the block_quote. A list_item is also
    added as a child of the list, and a paragraph as a child of
    the list_item. The text is then added to the new paragraph:

    -> document
    -> block_quote
    paragraph
    "Lorem ipsum dolornsit amet."
    -> list (type=bullet tight=true bullet_char=-)
    -> list_item
    -> paragraph
    "Qui *quodsi iracundia*"

    The fourth line,

    > – aliquando id

    causes the list_item (and its child the paragraph) to be closed,
    and a new list_item opened up as child of the list. A paragraph
    is added as a child of the new list_item, to contain the text.
    We thus obtain the final tree:

    -> document
    -> block_quote
    paragraph
    "Lorem ipsum dolornsit amet."
    -> list (type=bullet tight=true bullet_char=-)
    list_item
    paragraph
    "Qui *quodsi iracundia*"
    -> list_item
    -> paragraph
    "aliquando id"

    From block structure to the final document {-}

    Once all of the input has been parsed, all open blocks are closed.

    We then “walk the tree,” visiting every node, and parse raw
    string contents of paragraphs and headers as inlines. At this
    point we have seen all the link reference definitions, so we can
    resolve reference links as we go.

    document
    block_quote
    paragraph
    str "Lorem ipsum dolor"
    softbreak
    str "sit amet."
    list (type=bullet tight=true bullet_char=-)
    list_item
    paragraph
    str "Qui "
    emph
    str "quodsi iracundia"
    list_item
    paragraph
    str "aliquando id"

    Notice how the newline in the first paragraph has been parsed as
    a softbreak, and the asterisks in the first list item have become
    an emph.

    The document can be rendered as HTML, or in any other format, given
    an appropriate renderer.

    2 Responses to “CommonMark Markdown spec.txt in WordPress: rendering is not good.”

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