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Daniel Doubrovkine

aka dB., @awscloud, former CTO @artsy, +@vestris, NYC

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I keep antagonizing OSS contributors trying to wrap text in Markdown files, e.g. here and here.

Should one wrap text in .markdown files at 80 columns or should one not?

First, let me say that I don’t care. Except that I do. Wrapped text in markdown really feeds my OCD in the worst possible way, right behind missing periods at the end of sentences, and two spaces. Oddly, I don’t care about tabs vs. spaces.

Here’s a logical argument for not wrapping text in markdown.

Markdown doesn’t use line the breaks: whether you include a line break in your markdown or not the rendered result is the same, unless you use 2 line breaks.

For example, consider the following text wrapped at 23 characters for illustration purposes.

A quick brown fox jumps 
over the lazy dog.

We swap “a” and “the”, producing the following new text.

The quick brown fox 
jumps over a lazy dog.

Because of a line wrap, this 2-word change is now a 2-line change. It hurts.

Without the wrap the diff would have been super clean.

>A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
<The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.

Furthermore, GitHub does an even better job at the 1-line diff.


Notice how the word “jumps” was highlighted, even though it wasn’t actually changed.

For an argument for wrapping text, see this comment.