Supporting Markdown in upcoming Django releases

Upcoming releases of Django will remove django.contrib.markup, but I still want to use it. I looked around for alternatives (perhaps a third party app?), before deciding to roll my own.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s ridiculously easy.
  2. It means I can enforce which extensions are turned on1, and enable safe mode, and generally do things a third party library would have to make optional.
  3. It means I can add quick extensions to Markdown to support features that I might need on my site, and do that in one place (e.g. allow convenient referencing of usernames).
  4. I don’t have to care about supporting old versions of Markdown.

Here’s the code, which I’ve stolen from Django 1.4, and then gutted:

import markdown
from django import template
from django.template.defaultfilters import stringfilter
from django.utils.encoding import force_unicode
from django.utils.safestring import mark_safe

register = template.Library()

def my_markdown(value):
    extensions = ["nl2br", ]

    return mark_safe(

I just need to stick that in a file in my templatetags folder, then in my template:

{% load myapp_markup %}
{{ value|my_markdown }}

That’s it.

  1. I always enable nl2br, which makes newlines act like newlines. Generally, most users of my sites are non-technical, and find “end a line with two spaces for a linebreak” confusing.

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