input plugin weirdness

There are some great input plugins for WordPress out there, like textile1, textile2 and markdown. However, I think they all miss an obvious but important feature.

So here’s the problem — these plugins do the conversion from their syntaxes to well formed HTML when a post is displayed. This causes a number of problems:

  • The conversion has to happen each time the post is displayed (modulo caching)
  • If tomorrow I stop using this plugin/start using some other plugin, then all the posts get screwd up. Asterisks and underscores and weird URLs will plague your blog!

And the solution is quite simple as well — do the conversion once, when the post is written. After that WordPress just displays the post as-is. With this semantics, we are guaranteed that no matter which input plugin you used to write your post, it will be displayed correctly. I wonder why no one has raised this issue before, because I find it very irritating if I have to try out some new input plugin. I mean, either they should not be called input plugins and called output plugins (which doesn’t make sense, because I want what I wanted to write in the database, and not created/transformed on the fly); or the semantics should be changed.

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