The Markua Manual
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The Markua Manual

How to Write in Markua on Leanpub

About the Book

Imagine you owned a magical typewriter.

When you used this magical typewriter, you wrote with fewer distractions. You didn't just write faster, you wrote better.

With your magical typewriter, you never worried about layout. The book formatted itself.

You could hit a key on your magical typewriter to create an ebook from your manuscript with one click.

All ebook formats would be created, and they'd all look good. You'd have PDF for computers, MOBI for Kindle, and EPUB for everywhere else. The book would look great on phones.

With your magical typewriter, you could publish your book before it was even done, and get feedback from readers all over the world. You could automatically share book updates with them. You would press one key on your magical typewriter to publish a new version, and all your readers would have it instantly.

With your magical typewriter, you could easily compare your current manuscript to any other version of your manuscript that had ever existed.

When the book was done, if you decided to make a print book, you could press a key on your magical typewriter to generate InDesign with one click. Your designer or publisher could use this as a starting point for producing a great looking print book.

With your magical typewriter, you'd only have to do one thing: Write.

Wouldn't it be great if such a magical typewriter existed?

It does. At Leanpub, we're building it.

But there's one requirement for this magical typewriter to exist: a simple, coherent, open source, free, plain text format for a book manuscript.

This simple format is what authors will write their books in, instead of Word. It will enable an ecosystem of tools to emerge around it.

This simple format will be the basis for the magical typewriter.

This simple format is called Markua.

This is its user manual.

About the Author

Peter Armstrong
Peter Armstrong

Peter Armstrong is the founder and CEO of Leanpub. He has over two decades of experience in software, including eight years as a developer at Silicon Valley startups. He founded Ruboss in 2008, and launched Leanpub in 2010.

Peter coined the term Lean Publishing. Lean Publishing is the act of publishing an in-progress book using lightweight tools and many iterations to get reader feedback, pivot until you have the right book and build traction once you do.

Peter is the creator of Markua, the Markdown dialect used on Leanpub. He is the author of a number of books, including Lean PublishingThe Markua Manual and Programming for Kids. He has a BSc in Computer Science and Psychology from the University of Victoria.

He lives in Victoria, BC with his wife and son.

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • The Magical Typewriter
    • How to Write a Novel in Markua
    • How to Write a Computer Programming Book in Markua
    • How to Write a Course (MOOC) in Markua
    • Markua: Markdown for Books and Courses
    • Why the Name “Markua”?
    • The Markua Manual vs. The Markua Spec
    • Markua 0.10 and Markua 0.29
    • Differences with Leanpub Flavoured Markdown (LFM)
    • Acknowledgments
  • Text Formatting
  • Headings
  • Paragraphs and Blank Lines
  • Resources
    • Resource Insertion Methods
      • Figures
      • Spans
      • Inserting Resources Into a Span Context
    • Resource Locations
      • Local Resources
      • Web Resources
      • Inline Resources
    • Resource Types and Formats
      • Images
      • Video
      • Audio
      • Code
      • Math
      • Tables
  • Whitespace: Spaces, Tabs and Newlines
    • Newlines
      • Single Newline = Forced Line Break
      • Three or More Newlines = Two Newlines = One Blank Line
      • One Blank Line Is Added When Concatenating Manuscript Files
      • All Blank Lines at the Beginning and End of a File are Removed
    • Spaces and Tabs
      • Spaces and Tabs at the Beginning of a Line are Only to Determine List Containment, and Extra Spaces are Removed
      • Spaces and Tabs at the End of a Line are Removed
      • Internal Spaces are Collapsed to One Space, Except At the End of Sentences
  • Lists
  • Definition Lists
  • Block Elements
    • Scene Breaks (* * *)
    • Blockquotes (>)
    • Asides (A> or {aside})
    • Blurbs (B> or {blurb})
      • Supported Attributes for Blurbs
      • Syntactic Sugar for Specific Blurb Classes: D>, E>, I>, Q, T, W>, X>
      • Using Blurbs to Center Text with C>
      • Using Extension Attributes on Blurbs to add icon Support
  • Quizzes and Exercises
    • Quiz and Exercise Headings and Other Content
    • An Empty Quiz or Exercise is Not an Error
    • A Malformed Quiz or Exercise is an Error
    • Supported Attributes on Quizzes and/or Exercises
    • Question Types: Multiple Choice, Fill In The Blank
      • Multiple Choice Questions
      • Fill In The Blank Questions
    • Creating a Course or MOOC from a Markua Document
    • Question Alternates
  • Span Elements
    • Links
      • Inline Links
      • Automatic Links
    • Explicitly Creating Spans with []
      • Sometimes a Square Bracket is Just a Square Bracket
    • Footnotes and Endnotes
      • Footnotes
      • Endnotes
      • Single Reference to Footnotes and Endnotes
      • Footnotes and Endnotes Support Required for Paragraphs Only
    • Crosslinks and ids
      • Defining an id
      • Referencing an id With a Crosslink
      • Rules for ids and Crosslinks
    • Character Substitution (X-- for X—, X -- for X –, ... for …)
      • Optional Automatic Curly Quotes Outside of Code Blocks and Spans
    • Escaping Special Characters with Backslash (\)
    • Code Spans and Backticks (`)
  • Metadata
    • Attributes
      • Attribute List Format
      • Attribute Keys
      • Attribute Values
      • id Attributes
      • Conditional Inclusion Attributes on Headings: book, sample
    • Directives
    • Page Breaks
  • Appendices
    • No Inline HTML
    • Differences with Markdown

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Leanpub is a magical typewriter for authors: just write in plain text, and to publish your ebook, just click a button. (Or, if you are producing your ebook your own way, you can even upload your own PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI files and then publish with one click!) It really is that easy.

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