Did you ever notice how footnotes make your writing seem more important1 somehow?
Maybe one reason is that "real" books use footnotes. At a glance, it looks like I have references2 backing up everything I say. In reality, I don't, but the connotation carries through somehow3. Now my blog seems scholarly and authoritative.
And if you're like me, you can't resist clicking footnotes to see what they refer to4. According to my estimates, by utilizing footnotes, in one fell swoop I have decreased my readers' average reading efficiency by 73%.
In any case, I've added experimental, rudimentary support for footnotes to cow-blog.
I'm loosely copying the syntax from Markdown Extra for this. Markdown is great, except when it isn't. The standard doesn't have support for some useful extensions. I use Showdown for Markdown support, and I'm probably going to work on adding more features of Markdown Extra to Showdown in the near future.
I just dread actually doing it. Showdown (like Markdown itself) is implemented as a series of hackish regex transformations of blobs of text. It's not a proper grammar. Implementing more of Markdown Extra means more regex blobbing. It's brittle and fragile and even getting incomplete support for footnotes was less than enjoyable. But at the same time I find myself wanting to do things that Markdown can't so, so I may have to bite the bullet.
(If there's a Showdown Extra out there already, drop me a URL. It'd be most appreciated. But I couldn't find one.)