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Great post about implementing a version of Markdown for scholarly writing by +Martin Fenner.
Markdown is a lightweight markup language, originally created by John Gruber for writing content for the web. Other popular lightweight markup languages are Textile and Mediawiki. Whereas Mediawiki ma...
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Brian Koberlein's profile photoRobert Jacobson's profile photoDana Ernst's profile photoMichael Grant's profile photo
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LaTeX is great, but not ideal for writing on the web. Moreover, Markdown is lightweight.
 
I'm still confused about the problem Markdown is trying to solve. The only feature that isn't solved by standard HTML is math support, and that problem is triviallysolve by MathJax. If people are wanting to write papers, they shouldn't be targeting for the web in the first place. If people want to write for the web, what is wrong with current technologies?
 
+Robert Jacobson: what if my application would benefit from nicely formatted HTML and PDF versions of the same document?
 
Markdown plus LaTeX equations would be ideal.  In the past I used a plugin by Jacques Distler called itex2MML, where you could write most equations in LaTeX and it would convert it to MathML.  The other formatting could be done via Markdown.  I would love to have a way to write basic LaTeX and have it render on pages.
 
Markdown + LaTeX is in widespread use, such as in the StackExchange web sites. I use it on my CVX Q&A site and it works well.
 
Another scenario for +Robert Jacobson: suppose I write a decent amount of content in both HTML and LaTeX. I could certainly set up one workflow for my HTML production and another workflow for my LaTeX production. But it would be beneficial to have just a single workflow that produces either type of output with only minimal changes---even if no particular document is not intended for both formats. 

Furthermore, I might frequently seek to share excerpts and snippets from my LaTeX work in HTML, or vice versa. It would be helpful if I did not always have to rewrite the content in the new format.
 
+Michael Grant: LaTeX-->HTML has always been a trivial exercise for me in the past using TeX4ht (http://www.tug.org/tex4ht/). Other similar tools already exist. 

Copying and pasting snippets from LaTeX onto the web is possible with MathJax but probably only really feasible for the simplest content. Of course, NO tool will make this kind of copying and pasting easy.

It seems to me all of these tools you are wanting ALREADY exist, and I have had positive experiences with them. It could be that my stuff is too simple to test the limits of existing tools, but in principle it doesn't strike me as an issue with the markup language.
 
I'm aware of LaTeX2HTML and tex4ht. If you're willing to stay with LaTeX as your source it's not a bad option. The biggest disadvantage is it isn't well integrated with many CMS'es or other publishing options.
 
Any new markup language will have even less support.
 
Markdown---even Markdown + LaTeX---actually has quite a bit of online support. It has more support in live environments than LaTeX.
 
And I don't think you'll get much support for LaTeX in disciplines that don't make use of equations.
 
I think that "academic blogging" will grow in popularity in the near future and there isn't a simple tool for the job.  As +Martin Fenner mentions in his post, one needs support for things like citations and internal references.  Moreover, my guess is that the whole landscape of scholarly publishing will change.  I love LaTeX and the PDFs that it produces, but imagine what we could produce if we allow ourselves to think outside the static figures that we include in a paper?  I often have to include several figures to capture the ideas of a lemma.  I could convey the ideas more effectively and efficiently if I included an animation with a slider for the reader to play with.  These types of things and more are possible if we branch outside the PDF-paradigm.
 
Perhaps the driving factor is not the markup language but the platform.

Markdown+LaTeX is probably as popular as it is largely because of its adoption on StackExchange. Not only does this mean that a large number of people are exposed to this particular markup combination, but it means that there are resources devoted to its maintenance and improvement.

But I think we should look at it this way: Markdown+LaTeX benefits from the fact that StackExchange is such a compelling system. So perhaps we shouldn't be discussing the markup language so much as the platforms it will be used on. That little light bulb went on when you brought up "academic blogging",
+Dana Ernst.

Consider a Wordpress-like CMS that makes it dead simple to create an individual journaling and blogging platform. Something that makes it convenient to take notes, scratch out some derivations, and collect relevant citations in private journal posts. As I collect my thoughts, it is constructing a centralized bibliographic database of every citation I make, so I don't have to re-enter the same article more than once. Obviously, I'll need to be able to include figures, source code, and equations on demand. Perhaps my posts include links to other people's "aca-blogs".

When I have something public to say, I flip a switch and one of these private journal posts becomes a blog.

When I have something public and longer to say, I push a button and the initial framework of a publishable paper is created, including a full bibliography, including perhaps citations of other "aca-blogs".

Now, if this platform sounds compelling, something that a lot of people will use, there is a lot of flexibility on what the markup language should be. Sure, Markdown+LaTeX sounds good, but so might the texvc subset of LaTeX.
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