Lightweight Markup Languages
Wikipedia has a neat page on Lightweight Markup Languages, which I didn’t know was a formal genre (an acronym even: “LML”).
They have a list of many, which is longer than I expected. We have Markdown and Textile, of course, but also a bunch I didn’t know of: Creole, Texy, Org-Mode, etc. In addition, there are languages that have been driven by specific software: BBCode, Slack, and others.
I confess to reading the all the pages, and there’s a lovely philosophic undercurrent throughout about symbolism and the separation of intention from implementation.
LMLs seek to give editors a way to signal their intentions for text formatting separate from the actual implementation in a way that would make sense both in the raw and processed forms. Additionally, this is done “in the open,” where the markup is not intended to be hidden like HTML tags – call it “self-documenting text formatting.”