Why don’t we send all our emails in Markdown format?

The other day this question occurred to me.

And I just had to investigate.

Markdown Provides sufficient formatting options

You can enrich your plain text mails:

  • Links
  • (inline) images
  • quotes and even code listings would all readily work.

Plus, Markdown comes with a built-in human-readable fallback, should clients be unable to properly render it.

Fixes common email issues by omission

While I’m sure there are some people who find this a disadvantage, some elements just won’t properly work for Markdown-formatted mails:

  • Tracker pixels would be way harder to implement and hide
  • No JavaScript.

    Not having access to JavaScript also means there are no heavy Polyfills needed for the mail renderer.

  • No CSS support.

    Having next to no styling means clients will be able to adapt the content to any user device1

Okay, so why don’t we then just do it?

Surely somebody on the Internet must have had this idea already.

And yes they have: Turns out nobody does this because no mail client currently supports it.

It was even suggested as early as 2016!

There’s no Markdown standard

While it is true that there is no true Markdown standard.

Or at least a commonly accepted subset formatting options that can be relied on to work everywhere, this has never stopped people from sending HTML emails. Don’t get me wrong there certainly are HTML Standards, but nobody cares to properly use them.

Less is more

To be honest: less features in this case is an advantage. If you absolutely have to send pictures within nested tables, use HTML.

Now what?

The more I think about it, the more I wish for this to be a thing. I just don’t know where to start.

  1. Think Wearables, Screen Readers, Notifications