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I was answering a question on Stack Overflow and required to use a trailing space in one of my code snippets.

I formatted it like so:

`<a `

And it renders without the trailing space: <a

Using the <code> tag does account for trailing spaces, though in my case it busts because of the <. Here's my formatting with the <code> tag:

<code><a </code>

Here's how it renders: (Yes, you should see nothing there).

This is a pretty annoying bug. Can we get it fixed?

share|improve this question
Indent the line with 4 spaces. – Cody Gray Feb 27 '12 at 2:16
@CodyGray: What do you mean? – Mystery Feb 27 '12 at 2:20
Your original comment made more sense before it was edited: You want this to appear inline. – Cody Gray Feb 27 '12 at 7:14
@CodyGray: Well, then, I want it inline. :P – Mystery Feb 27 '12 at 7:14
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Is there some reason you can't just use the Unicode character U+00A0 (NO-BREAK SPACE) for that trailing space? It should work in comments too. To type the actual character on Windows, you can use the key combination ALT+0160.

Here's how it looks: <a 

share|improve this answer
Using Alt+0160 works. – Mystery Feb 27 '12 at 2:31
Good, I thought it shoudl. Of course, that’s only if you have your keyboard configured for Unicode input. I usually leave mine on the U.S. or U.S. International keyboard, and only switch to the Unicode input keyboard for entering a bunch of character by their code point number. Otherwise, I just use murine snarf-n-barf. – tchrist Feb 27 '12 at 2:33
Uh, I use the US keyboard layout, but Alt+0160 works just fine for me... – Cody Gray Feb 27 '12 at 7:13
@CodyGray You must be a prisoner of bill, then, right? – tchrist Feb 27 '12 at 11:45
Reference to Bill Gates? Not really. I'm actually a Mac user and have been for a long time. But I also do Windows programming, so yeah I use Windows for that. I've never used Alt+xxx keyboard shortcuts on the Mac, so I assumed you were talking about Windows. I guess they work in Ubuntu et al? – Cody Gray Feb 27 '12 at 17:06

Markdown strips leading and trailing whitespace in code spans:

The same is true for John Gruber's original Perl version. The comment before the function _DoCodeSpans also explains why:

#   *   You can use spaces to get literal backticks at the edges:
#         ... type `` `bar` `` ...

When you start a code span with, say, three backticks, you also have to end it with precisely three backticks. If the trailing whitespace was significant, it would be impossible to have a backtick at the end, since

```backtick: ````

is not a legal code span.

By the way, the reason that your <code><a </code> doesn't display anything is simple: It's broken HTML. You're opening an <a> tag, but you're not putting a closing angle bracket. So the sanitizer will remove the illegal HTML "tag" <a </code>, and then the tag balancer will remove the opening <code> tag, since it doesn't have a closing </code> anymore.

When you write your own HTML, Markdown won't do any encoding for you; you'l have to replace <a by &lt;a yourself:

foo <code>&lt;a </code> bar -> foo <a bar

foo <code>&lt;a&nbsp;</code> bar -> foo <a  bar

Between the last two, note the tiny difference in whitespace after the code, resulting from the browser's whitespace condensing.

share|improve this answer
Hmm, the fact that the original implementation uses [ \t]* seems inconsistent with the syntax guide's statement that "The backtick delimiters surrounding a code span may include spaces — one after the opening, one before the closing" (emphasis mine). Of course, even with the example in this question I still don't understand the use case that benefits from leaving extra spaces in, so the implementation makes more sense to me anyway. – Tim Stone Feb 27 '12 at 7:40
See this question for a use case of trailing spaces. – Andres Riofrio May 29 '12 at 5:09

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