v0.3.0 (Dec 13, 2016)
Nov 13, 2011
May 4, 2019 (Retired)
Mark Murphy (commonsguy)
Mark Murphy (commonsguy)
Tommy Alex (iptux)
Source code
APK file


CWAC AndDown: Markdown. Android. Perfect Together.

Markdown is a popular markup language for wikitext and the like. While there are Java-based Markdown processors available, these are likely to be slow on Android, where they run at all.

This project offers an Android-compliant wrapper around hoedown, a C-based Markdown parser and HTML generator. By using the NDK with this C library, parsing speeds are nice and fast -- 5K of input can be converted into HTML in about 1 millisecond.

If your objective is to put the results of Markdown in a TextView, or something else in Android that understands Spanned objects, you are perhaps better served using Markwon. That project goes straight from Markdown to a Spanned, bypassing HTML.

If you would prefer a Markdown->HTML converter that does not involve native code, consider commonmark-java.


Option #1: Clone the repository and add the anddown/ subdirectory as an Android library project to your application. You will also need to install the NDK and run ndk-build from the project root directory, in order to build the .so file.

Option #2: Use the AAR artifact for use with Gradle. To use that, add the following blocks to your build.gradle file:

repositories {
    maven {
        url ""

dependencies {
    compile 'com.commonsware.cwac:anddown:0.4.0'

Or, if you cannot use SSL, use for the repository URL.

The AAR artifact contains compiled binaries for all CPU architectures, so you do not need the NDK to use the library. You will need it if you want to build the library from source code.


Create an instance of com.commonsware.cwac.anddown.AndDown, then call markdownToHtml() on it, supplying a String containing your Markdown source. This method returns a String containing HTML generated from that source.

AndDown andDown=new AndDown();

String result=andDown.markdownToHtml("Hello, world");

There is also a three-parameter version of markdownToHtml(), taking a pair of int values after the Markdown. The first represents a bitfield of "extensions" that hoedown offers; the second represents a bitfield of "flags" to the HTML generator in hoedown.

AndDown andDown=new AndDown();

String result=andDown.markdownToHtml("This \"contains\" a quote", AndDown.HOEDOWN_EXT_QUOTE, 0);

The AndDown source shows the available values for the extensions and flags. In terms of what they mean... hoedown does not really document them. YMMV.

And, that's pretty much it, at least at this time.

There is no statefulness in the AndDown object. It should be reusable without having to create a fresh instance each time. It might even be thread-safe, though this has not been tested.


Upgrading to v0.3.0 from earlier versions should work without changes, except that the minSdkVersion of the library is now 8 instead of 7. If you are still supporting API Level 7, you are a saint, insane, or possibly both.


The Markdown spec says that Markdown converted to HTML should use <em> and <strong> tags. On most browsers, those map to italics and boldface, respectively. However, the Html.fromHtml() method in Android that creates a SpannedString from HTML source flips those, so what you might be used to seeing in boldface turns into italics and vice-versa. This should only be an issue if you are displaing the Markdown-generated HTML in a TextViewWebView in particular should behave more normally.

Also, while hoedown is very fast, using the resulting HTML will inevitably be slower. The same 5K sample file that hoedown processes in about 1 millisecond takes a 100+ milliseconds to convert into a SpannedString via Html.fromHtml().

The author of this project is a complete klutz when it comes to C/JNI/NDK development. You have been warned.


This project has no dependencies. This repository includes a copy of the relevant files from the hoedown project.

This project should work on API Level 8 and higher — please report bugs if you find otherwise.


The latest version of this library is v0.4.0. Um, yay?


In the demo/ sub-project you will find a sample activity that demonstrates the use of AndDown, loading the hoedown README out of a raw resource and displaying it in a TextView wrapped in a ScrollView.

Additional Documentation

JavaDocs are available, though since the API is pretty limited, there is little information to be found there.

The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development contains a chapter on the NDK that includes coverage of this library.


The code in this project is licensed under the Apache Software License 2.0, per the terms of the included LICENSE file.

The hoedown source code is available under its own license, which appears to be a modified BSD license.


If you have questions regarding the use of this code, please post a question on StackOverflow tagged with commonsware-cwac and android after searching to see if there already is an answer. Be sure to indicate what CWAC module you are having issues with, and be sure to include source code and stack traces if you are encountering crashes.

You are also welcome to join the CommonsWare Community and post questions and ideas to the CWAC category.

If you have encountered what is clearly a bug, please post an issue. Be certain to include complete steps for reproducing the issue. The contribution guidelines provide some suggestions for how to create a bug report that will get the problem fixed the fastest.

Do not ask for help via social media.

Release Notes

  • v0.4.0: updated to CMake-based build
  • v0.3.0: reorganized code to Android Studio-standard structure, added stub test suite, exposed hoedown's "extensions" and "flags"
  • v0.2.4: added 64-bit x86 and ARM support
  • v0.2.3: better, updated to hoedown 3.0.1
  • v0.2.2: updated for Android Studio 1.0 and new AAR publishing system
  • v0.2.1: updated Gradle, fixed manifest for merging
  • v0.2.0: migrated to hoedown and Gradle
  • v0.1.1: added to support both x86 and ARM
  • v0.1.0: initial release

Who Made This?