The Markdown Preprocessor is a Python module designed to add extended features on top of the excellent Markdown syntax defined by John Gruber. These additions are mainly focused on creating larger technical documents without needing to use something as heavy and syntactically complex as Docbook.

MarkdownPP uses a set of selectable modules to apply a series of transforms to the original document, with the end goal of generating a new Markdown document that contains sections or features that would be laborious to generate or maintain by hand.

Documents designed to be preprocessed by MarkdownPP should try to follow the convention of naming files with a .mdpp extension, so that MarkdownPP can generate a document with the same name, but with the standard .md extension. As an example, this document in raw format is named “readme.mdpp”, and the generated document from MarkdownPP is named “readme.md” so that GitHub can find and process that document when viewing the repository.

1. Installation and Usage
2. Modules
2.1. Includes
2.2. Table of Contents
2.3. Reference
3. Examples
4. Support
5. References

1. Installation and Usage

Currently, you’ll need to download the source code from GitHub or clone the repository. There are two components to the project: a Python module, MarkdownPP, and a Python script that acts as a simple command line interface to the module, markdown-pp.py.

Assuming you have a file named foo.mdpp, you can generate the preprocessed file foo.md by running the following command:

$ path/to/markdown-pp.py foo.mdpp foo.md

Because the current CLI script is very simple, it just automatically selects all available modules for the preprocessor to use. I will eventually get to the point of adding command parameters and switches to select modules. In the mean time, if you only want to use a subset of modules, you can either modify markdown-pp.py directly, or duplicate its usage of the core module with your own list of preferred modules.

2. Modules

2.1. Includes

In order to facilitate large documentation projects, MarkdownPP has an Include module that will replace a line of the form !INCLUDE "path/to/filename" with the contents of that file, recursively including other files as needed.

File foo.mdpp:

Hello

File bar.mdpp:

World!

File index.mdpp:

!INCLUDE "foo.mdpp"
!INCLUDE "bar.mdpp"

Compiling index.mdpp with the Include module will produce the following:

Hello
World!

2.2. Table of Contents

The biggest feature provided by MarkdownPP is the generation of a table of contents for a document, with each item linked to the appropriate section of the markup. The table is inserted into the document wherever the preprocessor finds !TOC at the beginning of a line. Named <a> tags are inserted above each Markdown header, and the headings are numbered hierarchically based on the heading tag that Markdown would generate.

2.3. Reference

Similarly, MarkdownPP can generate a list of references that follow Markdown’s alternate link syntax, eg [name]: <url> "Title". A list of links will be inserted wherever the preprocessor finds a line beginning with !REF. The generated reference list follows the same alternate linking method to ensure consistency in your document, but the link need not be referenced anywhere in the document to be included in the list.

3. Examples

Example file.mdpp:

# Document Title

!TOC

## Header 1
### Header 1.a
## Header 2

!REF

[github]: http://github.com "GitHub"

The preprocessor would generate the following Markdown-ready document file.md:

# Document Title

1\. [Header 1](#header1)
1.1\. [Header 1.a](#header1a)
2\. [Header 2](#header2)

<a name="header1"></a>
## Header 1
<a name="header1a"></a>
### Header 1.a
<a name="header2"></a>
## Header 2

*   [GitHub][github]

[github]: http://github.com "GitHub"

4. Support

If you find any problems with MarkdownPP, or have any feature requests, please report them to my bugtracker, and I will respond when possible. Code contributions are always welcome, and ideas for new modules, or additions to existing modules, are also appreciated.

5. References