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Geocaching Logs switching from HTML to Markdown

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In our continued effort to increase site security and promote cross platform compatibility, we will remove support for HTML and UBB code in logs in favor of Markdown on February 2, 2016. These codes are used to add emphasis to text, such as with bold or italic type, or to add website links. HTML and UBB code may not always look exactly as you intended them to on some devices, while Markdown will consistently look good across all devices.


This change affects less than 3.5% of existing cache and trackable logs. Existing logs will display any old HTML and UBB code as of February 2. Note that starting to use Markdown language now will ensure logs display properly following the transition.


Other things for you to know:

  • After the switch to Markdown, HTML or UBB code will be displayed in all logs, since we will not respect or render the HTML or UBB Code on output.
  • The biggest change is that Font Color and Font Name will not be supported by Markdown. But users will gain the ability to edit Font Size using the "Header." Opening and closing #s are required to create a header.
  • Markdown has many advantages, including a better experience for mobile app users and GPX file users (the Markdown plain text formatting is more understandable than unsupported HTML code).
  • Links will hyperlink when using Markdown code.
  • Links not within the Geocaching/Groundspeak domains will prompt if they are to an external site (as they do now within Message Center).
  • Smileys will continue to be supported as they are today.
  • We will continue to respect line breaks in old logs, so these do not need to be adjusted.
  • There will be an obvious WYSIWYG editor and preview window on the log page, meaning there is no need to learn code to personalize logs.

Why are we making this change?

  • Markdown offers increased site security.
  • Markdown is a modern notation that works on many platforms (Web, Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, GPS-Unit, GPX-File, API).
  • HTML is web-only.
  • Unlike HTML, Markdown displays clearly on platforms even when they are not optimised to support it.
  • Geocachers will now have the ability to preview the styling of their logs via a WYSIWYG and preview window to the web logging page.
  • Only 0.45% of logs currently use HTML; 3% use UBB code.

How can you learn more about Markdown?

For a feel of what Markdown options can look like, see this site. It shows essentially how the web view will look at the top of the page - including the WYSIWYG and preview. Not all features listed there will be supported, such as inline image support (use of gallery images is the only way to add images to logs) or anything under "Extras Mode", and <enter> will result in a line break.


Why aren't we converting old logs?

Our tech team discussed the possibility of cleaning up old logs. Unfortunately, the risks associated with altering/scrubbing 560 million logs (not counting trackables) is too high to run any kind of cleanup without some bad consequences: i.e., loss of data, corruption, etc. Therefore we have decided to recommend that users convert their own logs.


Information about the switch is also available in an article in our Help Center.

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