Visual Studio Marketplace is moving to a new markdown parser

Visual Studio Marketplace is moving its markdown parser to markdown-it which is based on the CommonMark specification. If you are a Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) extension publisher, this would impact formatting of your extension markdown content and thus its presentation to marketplace users. Impacted extension content is:

  • Extension details page (overview.md)
  • License
  • Pricing
  • Privacy
  • Change log

Based on our analysis, approx. 1/3rd of VSTS extensions need to be updated to ensure consistent formatting. The key impacted areas we found were multi-level lists, embedded links and images inside HTML.

To help VSTS publishers smoothly transition to the new markdown parser, we have enabled a ‘try it’ experience on the extension details page.

How do you know if your VSTS extension content is impacted?

  • Log in to Visual Studio Marketplace and browse to your extension
  • You can view the experience to test your extension content with the new markdown parser
  • ‘Click here’ opens the page in a new tab to help you compare the content and formatting with the new markdown

What do you do next?

  • If you are happy with the content formatting with the new markdown parser, no action is required; on December 1st, your extension will start using the new parser.
  • If you’d like to change/update the content or remove the ‘try it’ experience on your extension details page
    • Update the extension with the new content. You can test the content using the Manifest editor extension in VSCode.
    • Set the below flag in the extension manifest file to use the new parser for your extension

               “galleryProperties”: [{ “markdownItParser”: “true” }]

    • Update your extension VSIX using TFX CLI or from the publisher’smanage page. Note: Ensure to update to the latest TFX CLI version 0.4.10.
    • Browse to the extension and ensure the content formatting is as expected
    • If the content needs further updates or you need more bake time you can switch back to the older parser by setting the markdownItParse property to false.

All new extensions published henceforth will use the new markdown-it parser.

For VSCode publishers, there isn’t any impact as VSCode already uses markdown-it parser.

The new markdown-it parser will be mandated starting December 1st, 2017 so please review and update extension content before this date for well formatted content on marketplace. Note, no content will be lost.

Thank you for publishing your extension and contributing to our thriving ecosystem. We appreciate you being part of our community.

Please reach out to the Marketplace team if you have any questions / feedback.

Thank you,

Divya Vaishnavi | Program Manager | Visual Studio Marketplace

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