In web applications where you want to provide an option to the users to enter text and want to display the entered text in the form of an HTML, then the user should have some understanding of HTML. Then he/she has to embed the text along with HTML tags and you just bring back whatever he/she entered. Now there are two major disadvantages with this approach. One the user must know HTML and the second any malformed HTML is going to spoil the entire page. A quick alternative would be to use some simple markup languages and then convert them into appropriate format. One of them is Almost Plain Text (APT). The aptconvert tool is a command line tool available for windows and UNIX that can help convert apt text files to formats like HTML, PDF etc. Maven extensively uses APT to generate site as well as help creating user manuals in the form of PDF. Refer this APT format description page Maven web site. Doxia is a content generation framework part of Maven that can parse, convert and render an APT document into other formats.
Read through my series of posts on “Mavenizing your project“.