I can still use HTML with my tool. It's just that I've limited the case where you have to. Sure, using XML or HTML gives you more theoretical flexibility, and when I first started to writing tools to create my presentations (and I've written many, which all worked till I became dissattisfied), I used markup to declare my title.
But then I realized I always put the title on the first line. So now, the first line is the title. Leave blank for no title. Same with the lists - I could use <ul>, and <li>, and sometimes I write a slide using that (usually after typing some HTML elsewhere). Works fine, and no need to remove it if I did. But I find '*' shorter.
However, if your method works for you, go for it. ;-)