GitHub Markdown Compatibility

GitHub-Flavored Markdown has some stuff that Dactyl doesn't do and vice-versa, and various edge cases that the two may interpret differently.

GFM Features Not Supported

Dactyl doesn't do any of the following:

Suggestion: Avoid using these.

Line Breaks

You can have hard-wrapped paragraphs in Markdown. This means that not every single-line break introduces a new paragraph (<p> tag). Generally, we don't write hard-wrapped text for docs, though. (It introduces unnecessary churn in diffs.)

Two paragraphs should be separated by an empty line.

According to Markdown syntax, you can force a mid-paragraph line break by ending a line with two spaces
as demonstrated in this paragraph.

But watch out -- some editors (like Atom) tend to strip off trailing spaces!


Dactyl does preprocessing with Jinja, so you can do conditional text and includes. GitHub doesn't have stuff like that.

Suggestion: For docs that are meant to be viewed on GitHub, use Dactyl's "Githubify mode" (TODO: better docs on that) to do pre-processing only and export a markdown file you can push elsewhere. Be careful not to overwrite the original (with the prepropessing directives) with the processed export version.

Caution: The pre-processing doesn't know anything about Markdown syntax, so it might catch Jinja-esque syntax in things that weren't meant to be interpreted as such. Use Jinja's escaping syntax to fix that. E.g.:

The {% raw %} block type leaves things inside of it unprocessed.

You can also use the variable delimiter to print a literal, e.g. {{ '{{' }} will come out as {{

Header IDs

You can link to headers within a markdown document because each header has a unique ID based on its text.

Beware of slight differences across markdown parsers. In most cases, Dactyl's header formula matches GitHub's.

Caution: Header IDs are case-sensitive and always lower case, for both GitHub-Flavored and Dactyl markdown.

For a detailed comparison of many edge cases, see Header Stress Test (Dactyl) vs. Header Stress Test (GitHub Gist).

Code Blocks

You can do code blocks either by the "indented" syntax or with code fences.

Generally, we recommend using code fences. Code blocks inside lists are an exception where you should use indentation to demarcate code blocks.

Dactyl automatically does syntax highlighting on included code blocks. If you use a language definition in the code blocks, Dactyl uses that to apply the correct syntax highlighting where possible.