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Bypass iOS

Bypass is a markdown rendering library that can directly render markdown as stylized text to a UIView. The Bypass git repository also contains an Android project that accomplish the same task. In the git repo, there is also code that handles markdown parsing and representing that markdown as a tree structure, similar to the HTML DOM. This code is shared between both platforms.

Bypass is very easy to use. Ultimately, you will end up creating a BPMarkdownView, supplying that view with markdown as an NSString, and then displaying it like you would any other view in your heirarchy. BPMarkdownView descends from UIScrollView, so you can supply large bodies of markdown.

It features nicely stylized text for typical usage, tappable links, and a smooth crossfade between representations for different device orientations.


Bypass requires iOS version 6.0 or greater. You will also need to install Boost if you don't already have it installed.


Clone bypass from Github.

git clone

Drag bypass/platform/ios/Bypass/Bypass.xcodeproj into your project from the Finder.

Drag Bypass.xcodeproj into your project

Open your target settings.

Open your target settings

Select the Build Phases tab.

Select the Build Phases tab

Add Bypass as a target dependency.

Add Bypass as a target dependency

Add libBypass.a, CoreGraphics.framework, CoreText.framework, Foundation.framework, and QuartzCore.framework, and UIKit.framework to the list of required libraries to link against, if they aren't already included.

Adding libraries the list of libraries to link against

Modify your build settings so they have the following values:

  • Linking
    • Other Linker Flags: -ObjC
  • Search Paths
    • Header Search Paths: $(SRCROOT)/<relative path to bypass home>/Bypass/Bypass
  • Apple LLVM Compile 4.2 - Language
    • C++ Standard Library: libc++ (LLVM C++ standard library with C++11 support)

Modify your build settings


Bypass is very easy to use in terms of displaying markdown. Essentially, you directly instantiate a BPMarkdownView and supply it with markdown to render. It handles the rest. An example would be:

// Initialize the markdown view
CGRect markdownRect = CGRectMake(0.f, 0.f, 100.f, 100.f);
BPMarkdownView *markdownView = [[BPMarkdownView alloc] initWithFrame:markdownRect];

// Obtain some markdown
NSString *markdown = @""
	"# Hello, world!"
    "This is my text body. There are many more like it, "
    "but this one is mine.";

// Supply the markdown view with markdown to render
[markdownView setMarkdown:markdown];

// Add the markdown view to a superview
[[self view] addSubview:markdownView];

Feel free to directly embed a BPMarkdownView in a Nib or Storyboard, but ensure that you have configured your Other Linker Flags to contain -ObjC if you do this. The BypassSample project included in the repo shows an example of this use case.


It's a bit challenging to compare Bypass to, say a UITextView representing an attributed string, because the interesting work happens in different places. Essentially, what I deemed most appropriate to compare were a UIViewController that populates a UITextView with an NSAttributedString, and BPMarkdownView's layoutSubviews method. A UITextView uses a conversion process that leverages HTML to display the text in a stylized manner. A BPMarkdownView drops down to the Core Text layer and renders the attributed string directly.

The results are as follows (I included drawRect: for an additional degree of transparency):

Running   Time     Self    Symbol Name
135.0ms   36.3%    94.0    -[BPTextViewController viewWillAppear:]
 39.0ms   10.5%     0.0    -[BPMarkdownView layoutSubviews]
  5.0ms    1.3%     5.0    -[BPMarkdownPageView drawRect:]

I encourage you to profile the BypassSample project yourself. It's interesting to see everything a UITextView is doing, and for what it's doing, it's doing it very quickly. Bypass is simply faster, though, because it was designed for this particular purpose from the ground up.


I hope you enjoy Bypass. Remember that it is a new project, and that there are probably many enhancements and improvements to be had. Feel free to get involved and open issues and enhancements, and also feel free to contribute back.