Markdown is a markup language in the same way that HTML is, allowing for dictating content structure.
The advantage of markdown is that it has a much simpler syntax when compared to HTML, which we will go through in ths guide.
Markdown also provides a subset of the features of HTML, meaning that markdown can be translated to HTML.
For this reason, it is extensively used in documentation websites as they don’t require complicated layouts. Some examples of this is the Next.js documentation, Gatsby documentation, and many more, including this website.
Contributing to documentation is a great way to get started with open source as it doesn’t require in depth knowledge of the codebase and can even be done directly in the GitHub website.
As well as in documentation, Markdown is used for README files, so whenever you see one of these in an open source project, it is made using Markdown.
The file extension for markdown files is
.md. You may also see files with the
.mdx, such as the ones for this site, this is a superset of
markdown, so you can use markdown inside it. I may also explain what you can do
.mdx in more advanced versions of this guide.