Textile Formatting

By Deane Barker on February 26, 2003

One of the perennial problems with Web-based content management is that people don’t want to code HTML for their formatting. They don’t want to surround italic text with the right tags, form IMG tags, write link tags, etc.

So there are several WYSIWYG options — ActiveX components like Ektron, and I remember a DHTML version from a Vietnamese programming group — that you can use instead of a TEXTAREA tag.

Well, here’s a handy system that at first glance looks like kludge but is actually extremely elegant and usable. Textile Formatting is a method of embedding codes in your text to create formatting. Yes, I know, HTML does this too. But these codes are shorter and easier to use. Surround text with asterisks, and it comes out bold. Surround it with underscores and it comes out in italics. Do this…

=="I like James Bond":http://www.ianfleming.org==

…and it renders like this…

I like James Bond

You never have to take your fingers off the keys (like you would with a WYSIWYG editor — you know, buttons and all), and once you get used to it you can just fly. Besides, there’s a plugin for MT. I couldn’t be happier with it.



  1. Your Textile plug-in seems to be broken. The formatting isn’t rendering correctly in the article. I realize this is an older entry. So maybe it’s obsolete. But I came here via Google searching for “Textile formatting” . So you might want to note it here if you’ve moved on from Textile.


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