Precisely which type of markdown (afaik there are quite a few variants) and editor (the one I am typing in right now) is Stack Overflow using?

I understand, there must be a JavaScript realtime implementation (which shows me the preview below). Where could I get that?

I hope there's also a PHP implementation, so I can turn markdown into HTML in the backend?

Ultimately I want to turn a very proprietary wordpress theme into being markdown based, since I find this the exact right balance between complexity and ease of use. Many 'wiki syntaxes' are in my opinion off to one side or the other.

  • 1
    The de facto standard Markdown library for PHP is PHP Markdown.
    – user149432
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 8:54
  • 1
    See We're switching to CommonMark. The answers here are (mostly) obsolete now. (They still use some of their own Markdown implementations for Stack-Exchange-specific features.) Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 1:56

2 Answers 2


You're looking for:

  • MarkdownSharp - C# Markdown processor
  • pagedown - A JavaScript Markdown converter and editor
  • prettify - A Javascript module and CSS file that allows syntax highlighting of source code snippets in an html page.

You can find the full supported Markdown syntax in the editing help page.


StackExchange uses the MarkdownSharp implementation, written in C#. Converting it to php would likely be quite the task.

See also: Which tools and technologies build the Stack Exchange Network?

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