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      1 Optimizing for Archival
      2 -----------------------
      3 Sun Nov 21 13:56:35 EST 2021
      5 ---
      6 Written on my desktop while Jennie mod-podge's the puzzle
      7 we put together last weekend for framing.
      8 ---
     10 If you've read any of my previous posts, it's no secret that
     11 one of the reasons I'm really enjoying phlogging is the
     12 plaintext content. I wanted to call out one of my favorite
     13 side-effects of plaintext entries: ease of archiving.
     15 Browsing gopherspace, it's clear that plaintext is among the
     16 most suitable formats for long term storage. Look at's
     17 treasure trove of historical documents. Or all of the IETF
     18 RFC's. Plain ascii-encoded files seem to be a guaranteed way
     19 to ensure your content is not only readable in the future,
     20 but easy to archive for that future.
     22 This is actually one of my biggest beefs with mdoc(7). It's
     23 a great semantic language, but it's not really that legible
     24 in its raw form. It's a safe bet for archival--given that so
     25 much of our historical manuals are written in it, it seems
     26 that interpreters like mandoc(1) will be around for a while;
     27 however, it's still dependent on external tools for proper
     28 viewing.
     30 Same with HTML--you need a browser or interpreter to read it.
     32 I think this is one of the strengths of markdown--even in a
     33 post-HTML future, the markdown source will be archived and
     34 readable. However, I kind-of like explicitly scoping the
     35 content to _just_ ascii and not focusing on *any* other
     36 presentation format other than the source. It's all too common
     37 to get markdown files that are illegible because the author
     38 cares more about the way GitHub renders it than the way
     39 it looks in an editor (unwrapped lines, massive amounts of
     40 image URLs, non-prettified tables, etc).
     42 I take comfort knowing I'll be able to `cat` this file
     43 two decades from now and still remember what I was thinking :)