What do I really want from structured text for a CMS?
My wish list, in a rough order of importance:
The ability to just type normal text and get paragraphs and probably line breaks (not that I use them often).
Lists—I tend to organize my thoughts in lists — often nested. So ideally lists should be nestable. It would be great if list items could contain whole multiple paragraphs too.
Some inline formatting, like emphasis.
The ability to mix in HTML without having to do any extra escaping dance.
Do What I Mean—have it just work, for most cases, without having to do too much second-guessing.
The ability to quote blocks of code (pre).
Extensible shortcuts—little sequences that it replaces with other sequences. Perhaps parameterized, like a google search for a word, for example.
Be fairly easy to parse, and automatically change format, if I change my mind later on.
Given my predisposition towards nested lists, perhaps the best overall way to drive the formating from text would be indent-driven. In the same way that python derives block-structure from indenting, so could my structured text. It's not exactly original, but it's the way that seems to sit best with my requirements.
Update: 2004-03-15 — I've finally released the code for my PHP Structured Text.