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Hoedown is a revived fork of Sundown, the Markdown parser based on the original code of the Upskirt library by Natacha Porté.


  • Fully standards compliant

    Hoedown passes out of the box the official Markdown v1.0.0 and v1.0.3 test suites, and has been extensively tested with additional corner cases to make sure its output is as sane as possible at all times.

  • Massive extension support

    Hoedown has optional support for several (unofficial) Markdown extensions, such as non-strict emphasis, fenced code blocks, tables, autolinks, strikethrough and more.

  • UTF-8 aware

    Hoedown is fully UTF-8 aware, both when parsing the source document and when generating the resulting (X)HTML code.

  • Tested & Ready to be used on production

    Hoedown has been extensively security audited, and includes protection against all possible DOS attacks (stack overflows, out of memory situations, malformed Markdown syntax...).

    We've worked very hard to make Hoedown never leak or crash under any input.

    Warning: Hoedown doesn't validate or post-process the HTML in Markdown documents. Unless you use HTML_ESCAPE or HTML_SKIP, you should strongly consider using a good post-processor in conjunction with Hoedown to prevent client-side attacks.

  • Customizable renderers

    Hoedown is not stuck with XHTML output: the Markdown parser of the library is decoupled from the renderer, so it's trivial to extend the library with custom renderers. A fully functional (X)HTML renderer is included.

  • Optimized for speed

    Hoedown is written in C, with a special emphasis on performance. When wrapped on a dynamic language such as Python or Ruby, it has shown to be up to 40 times faster than other native alternatives.

  • Zero-dependency

    Hoedown is a zero-dependency library composed of some .c files and their headers. No dependencies, no bullshit. Only standard C99 that builds everywhere.

  • Additional features

    Hoedown comes with a fully functional implementation of SmartyPants, a separate autolinker, escaping utilities, buffers and stacks.


You can see a community-maintained list of Hoedown bindings at the wiki. There is also a migration guide available for authors of Sundown bindings.

Help us

Hoedown is all about security. If you find a (potential) security vulnerability in the library, or a way to make it crash through malicious input, please report it to us by emailing the private Hoedown Security mailing list. The Hoedown security team will review the vulnerability and work with you to reproduce and resolve it.

Unicode character handling

Given that the Markdown spec makes no provision for Unicode character handling, Hoedown takes a conservative approach towards deciding which extended characters trigger Markdown features:

  • Punctuation characters outside of the U+007F codepoint are not handled as punctuation. They are considered as normal, in-word characters for word-boundary checks.

  • Whitespace characters outside of the U+007F codepoint are not considered as whitespace. They are considered as normal, in-word characters for word-boundary checks.


Just typing make will build Hoedown into a dynamic library and create the hoedown and smartypants executables, which are command-line tools to render Markdown to HTML and perform SmartyPants, respectively.

If you are using CocoaPods, just add the line pod 'hoedown' to your Podfile and call pod install.

Or, if you prefer, you can just throw the files at src into your project.


Standards compliant, fast, secure markdown processing library in C







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  • C 95.9%
  • Perl 2.3%
  • Python 1.8%