Python Markdown

New updates will be made here rather than there (at least that is what I am thinking now).

Table of Contents

Auto-Generating HTML5 with a Table of Contents

One of the things I like about dokuwiki is that it automatically generates a table of contents. When I saw the extensions for Markdown at it occurred to me that Markdown might actually provide what I need. The Python file that was used to convert the markdown file to an HTML5 file is The Python file is short enough to show here.

This is a combination of actual Python with multi-line string objects that contain some pre-written HTML.

import markdown
import os, sys

mkin = open(sys.argv[1])
md = markdown.Markdown(extensions = ['toc(title=Table of Contents)', 'codehilite','meta'], output_format="html5")
gen_html = md.convert(
md_meta =  md.Meta
doc_title = md_meta.get('title')[0] # [0] -> converts one element list to string

output = [ """<!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <link href="white.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <link href="default.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" />

""" % { 'title' : doc_title }

output.append( gen_html )

output.append( """


""" )

outfile = open(sys.argv[2], 'w')

# end

The line that converts the Markdown text to html is

gen_html = md.convert(

Markdown does not include code for opening the top of the HTML file or closing at the end so literal multi-line strings are used to add those and the HTML converted from Markdown is inserted in the middle.

The Python file was invoked as follows:

python make_toc.html

The CSS Style Sheets Used

I copied the CSS style Sheets used here from the web since they were available and shared freely.

Syntax Highlighting Using Pygments

Installing Pygments

On my Debian system Pygments was not pre-installed but it is a standard Debian Package.

sudo apt-get install python-pygments

For a MS Windows computer that is not going to work. See installing-python-pygments-on-windows

Example of C with Syntax Highlighting

#include <stdio.h>

void main(void)
    printf("Hello World");

Meta Extension to Read Title from Markdown File

The Markdown file requires the following on the first line:

title:{page title goes here}

For this to be seen as meta data it must occur on the first line. The first blank line in the file indicates the end of the meta data.

Code as been added to the file to read the title and add it between title tags in the generated HTML5 file.

Converting from DokuWiki

I have worked out a method to convert my dokuwiki pages to static html using markdown as the new working file format. The method was inspired by Despite the name given to that page this is relevant since he actually talks a lot about converting dokuwiki to markdown

The steps I am using are

  1. Convert the DokuWiki page to HTML. This is done using dokucli.php which should be put in the dokuwiki/bin folder. On my Rasperry Pi it is at /var/www/danp/dokuwiki/bin/dokucli.php.

    The command is

     **php /var/www/danp/dokuwiki/bin/dokucli.php  < {dokuwiki_file.txt} > {newfile.html_}**

    The file dokuwiki.php comes from

  2. The new HTML file may or may not require some cleanup as references to the path on the raspberry pi need to be removed and some non-Ascii characters may be pressent and need to be removed or converted to Ascii (Markdown will not work with non-Ascii in the file.

     **python newfile.html_ > newfile.html__ **

    (note that the input file ends in one underscore and the output file name ends in two underscores)

    I wrote myself and I am adding new non-ascii characters as I go. Notes on the webpage that gave me insight into this have be lost.

  3. Now the file should be ready to be converted to Markdown markup language. ./ < newfile.html__ > -> {if cleanup was needed use the cleaned file} is from

  4. A few adjustments are edited into the markdown file. This generally easy to do in a text editor (I typically using vim).

    1. I am using the meta extension and put


      at the top of each markdown page.

    2. I put TOC in square brackets where I want the Table of Contents to go (using the TOC extension).

    3. In dokuwiki the local links are just the name of the page without an extension. I add the html extension and tweek the path if needed.

    4. Images that are in a subdirectory require the : be replaced with a / in the path.

  5. The markdown file is converted to an HTML file.

     python newfile.html

    My was modified from See make_toc.html.

BeatifulSoup for Extracting Section of Web Page

Sometimes one needs only part of an existing webpage for conversion to Markdown.BeatifulSoup can be used to extract some part of a bigger page. A simple example in which I wanted to backup only particular divisions of a page generated by a CMS before the site was to be migrated to a different CMS.


import urllib2 
from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulSoup

soup = BeautifulSoup(urllib2.urlopen('').read())

idcontent = soup.find("div", {"id": "content"}) 
print idcontent

idsidebar = soup.find("div", {"id": "sidebar"}) 
print idsidebar

This finds the div tag in which the id was set to "content" and the id for which the id was set to "sidebar"