I find myself using technologies that are easy to write in plain text. This is partly so I can use Vim, but also because I find it less distracting. I write my blog posts in Markdown with Vim for example, and much prefer this approach to web-based blog engines.
Markdown doesn't work so well for books, however, particularly if you want things like figures and equations. I stumbled onto a Show HN about a new markup language called dllup, created by Daniel Lawrence Lu. This markup language solves the problems of Markdown for academic writing, and has a pretty sensible philosophy:
- The raw text file must be fast to type up
- The output must be semantically correct HTML5
- It should be simple, consistent, correct
The documentation is here: http://www.dllu.net/programming/dllup/, and there are examples for article headers, code, equations, tables, and more. It definitely feels like a compelling combination of LaTeX and Markdown. It even supports compilation to LaTeX, so you can use the standard LaTeX-based tools for generating PDFs.
There's even a Vim syntax file, so you can start writing dllup documents in Vim right away.
Because dllup supports article headers it seems like a good solution for static blog generators as well. Particularly technical blogs, where code highlight and equation support is useful.