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profile = wp
postid = 802
title = BlogLiterately
ghci = true
wplatex = true
page = true
publish = true
toc = true
[`BlogLiterately`][] is a tool for uploading blog posts to servers
that support the [MetaWeblog API][metaweblog] (such as
[WordPress][]-based blogs and many others). Blog posts to be
published via `BlogLiterately` are written in [markdown][] or
[reStructuredText][] format, with [extensions
by [pandoc][]. Posts may be actual "bird-style" literate Haskell
files, with commentary formatted using markdown or reStructuredText.
Though `BlogLiterately` offers special support for literate Haskell in
particular, it is also useful for writing posts including code written
in other languages, or even no code at all. You may also be
interested in the [BlogLiterately-diagrams][] package, a plugin for
`BlogLiterately` which allows embedding images in your posts defined
using the [diagrams][] vector graphics framework.
`BlogLiterately` includes support for syntax highlighting, $\LaTeX$
(including special support for WordPress blogs), automatic image
uploading, and automatic generation and formatting of `ghci` sessions.
Each of these features is explained in more detail below.
Example usage
If you do not specify a blog URL, by default `BlogLiterately` simply
prints the generated HTML to stdout. So, to preview the generated
HTML before uploading requires merely something like
BlogLiterately Sample.lhs
To actually post to, say, a WordPress blog, a basic command line would
be something like
BlogLiterately --blog \
--user myname --password mypasswd --title "Sample" Sample.lhs
(which creates a new post). You can also omit the `--password` option,
in which case `BlogLiterately` will prompt you for your password.
If the post ID of that post (which `BlogLiterately` prints when it
uploads a new post) is '37', then to update the post, the command
would be something like
BlogLiterately --postid 37 --blog \
--user myname --password mypasswd --title "Sample" Sample.lhs
and the post will be updated with the new text. In both cases the
post is uploaded as a draft. To publish the post, you can pass the
`--publish` option (or, of course, you can flip the publish bit
manually on the server).
The above examples only show the most basic usage. In particular, the
pain of constructing long command lines like the above is unnecessary,
and can be replaced by the use of profiles and embedding options
within the source file itself; these features are explained below.
Markdown and pandoc
`BlogLiterately` can take as input files written using the
[markdown][] format (as well as [reStructuredText][]). See the
[markdown website][markdown] for detailed documentation.
`BlogLiterately` uses [pandoc][] for reading markdown, which also
[supports a few extensions](
to the basic format.
By default, `BlogLiterately` assumes that markdown files should be
parsed as if they contain literate Haskell code. To disable
processing of markdown files with literate Haskell extensions, use the
`--no-lit-haskell` command-line argument. This makes a difference,
for example, when processing paragraphs set off by "bird tracks"
(*i.e.* leading `>` characters): in literate Haskell, these are code
blocks, whereas in plain markdown they are blockquotes. In addition,
section headings beginning with hash signs (`#`, `##`, etc.) cannot be
used in literate Haskell mode; only section headings underlined with
hyphens or equals signs are supported.
Determining input format
`BlogLiterately` takes the following steps to determine whether an
input file is in markdown or reStructuredText format:
1. If the format is explicitly specified on the command line with
`--format=markdown` or `--format=rst`, the specified format will be
used regardless of the file name.
2. Otherwise, the filename extension is consulted: if it is `.rst`,
`.rest`, or `.txt`, reStructuredText will be assumed; otherwise,
markdown is assumed.
Code blocks and syntax highlighting
Code segments (including actual source lines from literate haskell
files, as well as markdown or reStructuredText code blocks) may be
syntax highlighted. Two different syntax highlighting libraries are
* [hscolour][] is specifically for syntax highlighting of Haskell
code, and is the standard highlighter used on [Hackage][] and
* [highlighting-kate][] is a general syntax highlighting library
that can be used for highlighting a wide range of languages
(including Haskell).
You may independently specify whether to use `hscolour` or
`highlighting-kate` to highlight Haskell code; other languages will be
highlighted with `highlighting-kate`.
In basic markdown, a generic code block is set off from normal text
by indenting at least four spaces:
-- This is a code segment, but what language is it?
foo :: String -> String
Similarly, in reStructuredText, a code block is constructed by a double colon
followed by an indented block:
-- This is a code segment, but what language is it?
foo :: String -> String
However, markdown does not have a way of specifying the language used
in a code block, making support for syntax highlighting problematic.
Pandoc offers
[an alternative syntax](
for code segments which does allow specifying the language:
~~~~ { .haskell }
-- This is a Haskell code segment!
foo :: String -> String
The above syntax works only with markdown. `BlogLiterately` also
supports one additional style which works with both markdown and
reStructuredText, consisting of a normal code block (indented and/or
preceded by a double colon) with an extra tag at the top, enclosed in
square brackets:
-- This is also a Haskell code segment!
foo :: String -> String
Of course, languages other than Haskell may be specified as well.
By default, `hscolour` will be used for highlighting Haskell code,
using "inline" CSS style attributes. The default styling is similar
to that used for source code in documentation on [Hackage][]. You can
also specify a configuration file containing a Haskell value of type
`[(String,String)]` which specifies a CSS style for each syntax
class. An example (corresponding to the default configuration) is
provided in the package archive (`hs-style`).
With `highlighting-kate`, the style for syntax segments is specified
using "class" attributes, so the stylesheet must be provided
separately. You may optionally use a similar scheme with `hscolour`.
Sample stylesheets are provided in the package archive file
(`kate.css`, `hscolour.css`).
`BlogLiterately` can take advantage of `pandoc`'s ability to process
and typeset citations. To include citations in your blog post:
1. Specify a bibliography---either the name of a bibliography file, or
an explicit list of references---as metadata in your document. With
Markdown, this is accomplished with a YAML document enclosed by `---`
at the beginning of the file (see the Pandoc documentation on [YAML
For example,
title: My Blog Post
bibliography: references.bib
Foo bar [@doe2006].
(There is no support yet for citations if you are using
reStructuredText; yell if you want it.) You can specify the name of a
file containing a bibliography, as in the example above; here is [a
list of the bibliography formats that are
Alternately, you can [give an explicit list of references](
2. Include citations, formatted like `[@doe2006]` for a normal
citation like (Doe, 2006); `@doe2006` for a text citation like Doe
(2006), or `[-@doe2006]` for a citation without the name (for
situations when the name already occurred elsewhere in the sentence).
See the [pandoc documentation for more details and
3. Simply run `BlogLiterately`; citation processing is on by
default. (You can explicitly turn it on with the `--citations` flag;
to turn it off, use `--no-citations`.) Citations will be typeset and
a bibliography will be appended at the end. You may want to include a
section heading like `# References` or `# Bibliography` at the end of
your post, to go above the generated bibliography.
LaTeX can be included in documents using single dollar signs to
enclose inline LaTeX, and double dollar signs to enclose
"display-style" LaTeX. For example, `$\pi^2 / 6$` produces $\pi^2 /
6$, and `$$\sum_{k=0}^\infty 1/k^2$$` (when put by itself in its own
paragraph) produces
$$\sum_{k=0}^\infty 1/k^2.$$
Using the `--math` option, any
[Pandoc math rendering method may be chosen](,
including MathML, MathJax, and others. Note that for some
methods to work properly, you may need to ensure that the generated
HTML ends up in the proper CSS or JavaScript environment. (What that
means depends on the method used.)
Alternatively, blogs hosted on
[]( have built-in
support for LaTeX, compiling LaTeX expressions to embedded images
on-the-fly. Passing the `--wplatex` option to `BlogLiterately` causes
any embedded LaTeX to be output in the format expected by WordPress.
Note that an extra `$latex...` won't be added to the beginning of
LaTeX expressions which already appear to be in WordPress format.
Finally, to simply pass LaTeX math through unchanged (for example, if
your blog hosting software will do LaTeX processing), you can use the
`--rawlatex` option.
Special links
Certain special link types can be replaced with appropriate URLs. A
special link is one where the URL is of the form `<name>::<text>`
where `<name>` is used to identify the special link type, and `<text>`
is passed as a parameter to a function which can use it to generate a
URL. Currently, four types of special links are supported by default
(and you can easily add your own):
: The first Google result for `<search>`.
: The Wikipedia page for `<title>`. (Note that the page is not
checked for existence.)
: Link to the blog post on your blog with post ID `nnnn`. Note that
this form of special link is invoked when `nnnn` consists of all
digits, so it only works on blogs which use numerical identifiers for
post IDs (as Wordpress does).
: Link to the most recent blog post (among the
20 most recent posts) containing `<search>` in its title.
For example, a post written in Markdown format containing
This is a post about the game of [Go](wiki::Go (game)).
will be formatted in HTML as
<p>This is a post about the game of <a href="">Go</a>.</p>
You can easily add your own new types of special links. See the
`SpecialLink` type and the `mkSpecialLinksXF` function.
Table of contents
`BlogLiterately` can also take advantage of pandoc's ability to
generate a table of contents. Just pass the `--toc` option to
`BlogLiterately` and a table of contents will be added to the top of
your post. See this documentation itself for an example of the
`ghci` sessions
When writing literate Haskell documents, it is often useful to show a
sample `ghci` session illustrating the behavior of the code being
described. However, manually pasting in the results of sample
sessions is tedious and error-prone, and it can be difficult keeping
sample sessions "in sync" when making changes to the code.
For these reasons, `BlogLiterately` supports special `[ghci]` code
blocks, consisting of a list of Haskell expressions (or, more
generally, arbitrary `ghci` commands), one per line. These
expressions/commands are evaluated using `ghci`, and the results
typeset along with the original expressions in the output document.
The entire literate Haskell document itself will be loaded into `ghci`
before evaluating the expressions, so expressions may reference
anything in scope. Note also that all expressions in the entire
document will be evaluated in the *same* `ghci` session, so names
bound with `let` or `<-` will also be in scope in subsequent
expressions, even across multiple `[ghci]` blocks.
For example, consider the following definition:
> hailstone x
> | even x = x `div` 2
> | otherwise = 3*x + 1
Now, given the input
:t hailstone
hailstone 15
takeWhile (/= 1) . iterate hailstone $ 7
txt <- readFile "BlogLiteratelyDoc.lhs"
length txt
`BlogLiterately` generates the following output:
:t hailstone
hailstone 15
takeWhile (/= 1) . iterate hailstone $ 7
txt <- readFile "BlogLiteratelyDoc.lhs"
length txt
(And yes, of course, the above output really *was* generated by
`BlogLiterately`!) Additionally, lines indented by one or more spaces
are interpreted as *expected outputs* instead of inputs. Consecutive
indented lines are interpreted as one multi-line expected output, with
a number of spaces removed from the beginning of each line equal to
the number of spaces at the start of the first indented line.
If the output for a given input is the same as the expected output (or
if no expected output is given), the result is typeset normally. If
the actual and expected outputs differ, the actual output is typeset
first in red, then the expected output in blue. For example,
reverse "kayak"
hailstone 15
reverse "kayak"
hailstone 15
There are currently a few known limitations of this feature:
* The code for interfacing with `ghci` is not very robust. In
particular, expressions which generate an error (*e.g.* ones which
refer to an out-of-scope name, or do not typecheck) will simply lack
any accompanying output; it would be much more useful to display the
accompanying error message.
* If the literate document itself fails to load (*e.g.* due to
improper formatting) `BlogLiterately` may hang.
* The formatting of `ghci` sessions currently cannot be
customized. Suggestions for customizations to allow are welcome.
* Due to the very hacky way that `ghci` interaction is implemented,
the usual `it` variable bound to the result of the previous
expression is not available (well, to be more precise, it *is*
available... but is always equal to `()`).
Uploading embedded images
When passed the `--upload-images` option, `BlogLiterately` can take
any images referenced locally and automatically upload them to the
server, replacing the local references with appropriate URLs.
To include images in blog posts, use the Markdown syntax
![alt text](URL "title")
(or the corresponding reStructuredText syntax).
The URL determines whether the image will be uploaded. A *remote* URL
is any beginning with `http` or a forward slash (interpreted as a URL
relative to the server root). In all other cases it is assumed that
the URL in fact represents a relative path on the local file system.
Such images, if they exist, will be uploaded to the server (using the
`metaWeblog.newMediaObject` RPC call), and the local file name
replaced with the URL returned by the server.
Uploaded images, and their associated server URLs, will be tracked in
a file called `.BlogLiterately-uploaded-images`. A given image will
only be uploaded once, even across multiple runs of `BlogLiterately`.
In practice, this means that the `--upload-images` option can be left
on while uploading multiple draft versions of a post, and only new
images will be uploaded each time. Note, however, that images are
tracked by *file name*, not contents, so modifications to an image
(while leaving the name the same) will be ignored. As a workaround,
delete `.BlogLiterately-uploaded-images` (or just the entry for the
modified image), or give the modified image a different name.
A few caveats:
* The `newMediaObject` call has an optional `replace` parameter, but
`BlogLiterately` does not use it, since it's too dangerous: if
`replace` is set and you happen to use the same file name as some
other image file that already exists on your blog, the old image would
be deleted. However, this means that if you upload an image multiple
times you will get multiple copies on your blog. (Although this is mitigated
somewhat by the mechanism to cache uploaded image URLs.)
It is possible to create your own variants of `BlogLiterately` which
include custom processing steps. See the [`Text.BlogLiterately.Run`
to get started.
Command-line options
Most of the command-line options for `BlogLiterately` are hopefully
self-explanatory, given the above background:
BlogLierately v0.7, (c) Robert Greayer 2008-2010, Brent Yorgey 2012-2013
For help, see
BlogLiterately [OPTIONS] FILE
Common flags:
-s --style=FILE style specification (for --hscolour-icss)
--hscolour-icss highlight haskell: hscolour, inline style (default)
--hscolour-css highlight haskell: hscolour, separate stylesheet
--hs-nohighlight no haskell highlighting
--hs-kate highlight haskell with highlighting-kate
--kate highlight non-Haskell code with highlighting-kate
--no-kate don't highlight non-Haskell code
--lit-haskell parse as literate Haskell (default)
--no-lit-haskell do not parse as literate Haskell
--no-toc don't generate a table of contents (default)
--toc generate a table of contents
-r --rawlatex pass inline/display LaTeX through unchanged
-w --wplatex reformat inline LaTeX the way WordPress expects
-m --math=ITEM how to layout math, where
-g --ghci run [ghci] blocks through ghci and include output
-I --upload-images upload local images
-C --category=ITEM post category (can specify more than one)
-T --tag=ITEM ---tags tag (can specify more than one)
--blogid=ID Blog specific identifier
-P --profile=STRING profile to use
-b --blog=URL blog XML-RPC url (if omitted, HTML goes to stdout)
-u --user=USER user name
-p --password=PASSWORD password
-t --title=TITLE post title
-f --format=FORMAT input format: markdown or rst
-i --postid=ID Post to replace (if any)
--page create a "page" instead of a post (WordPress only)
--publish publish post (otherwise it's uploaded as a draft)
-h --html-only don't upload anything; output HTML to stdout
--citations process citations (default)
--no-citations do not process citations
-x --xtra=ITEM extension arguments, for use with custom extensions
-? --help Display help message
-V --version Print version information
--numeric-version Print just the version number
Certain options, such as `--blog`, `--user`, and `--wplatex`, may be
the same for all your posts. You can create one or more *profiles*
specifying a set of options, which can then be specified simply by
referencing the profile, using the command-line option
`--profile`/`-P`. For example, to use the profile named `foo` you
would invoke
BlogLiterately -P foo ...
(Alternately, you can also specify `profile = foo` within a `[BLOpts]`
block in the source file itself; see the next section.)
The profile *foo* should be stored in a file named `foo.cfg`, and
placed in the application directory for `BlogLiterately`: on POSIX
systems, this means `$HOME/.BlogLiterately/foo.cfg`; on Windows, it
typically means something like `C:/Documents And
Settings/user/Application Data/BlogLiterately/foo.cfg`.
The profile should consist of a number of options, listed one per
line, in the form
optionname = value
Boolean options are specified by `true`, `on`, `false`, or `off`.
String values use normal Haskell syntax for strings, surrounded by
double quotes. Optionally, the double quotes may be omitted for
strings which do not contain spaces, double quotes, commas, or square
brackets. Lists also use Haskell list syntax, with comma-separated
items surrounded by square brackets, except that the square brackets
may be omitted. For example, `myblog.cfg` might look like this:
blog = http://some.url/xmlrpc.php
user = joebloggs
password = f7430nvj!$4
wplatex = true
ghci = on
categories = foo, bar, "some really long category"
The list of options which are currently supported are: `style`,
`lit-haskell`, `wplatex`, `math`, `ghci`, `upload-images`,
`categories`, `tags`, `blogid`, `profile`, `blog`, `user`, `password`,
`title`, `postid`, `page`, `publish`, `xtras`.
Option blocks
In addition, options may be specified inline, using a code block
marked with the `[BLOpts]`. For example,
profile = foo
title = "My awesome blog post!"
postid = 2000
tags = [awesome, stuff, blogging]
categories = [Writing, Stuff]
This is my awesome blog post. Here is some math: $\pi$, which will
get formatted for WordPress because I chose the `foo` profile
above, which includes `wplatex = true`.
Such inline options use the same syntax as profiles, as described in
the previous section.
Pandoc titles
Pandoc supports a special syntax for specifying the title, placing the
title on the first line marked with `%`. `BlogLiterately` supports
this format too, so the above example could also have been written as:
% My awesome blog post!
profile = foo
postid = 2000
Generating HTML only
In the past, to get a "preview" version of the HTML output written to
stdout, all you had to do was omit a `--blog` option. However, if you
specify a profile with a `blog` field, this is more problematic. For
this reason, a new option `--html-only` has been added. When this
option is specified, nothing is uploaded, and the HTML output is
written to stdout.
Getting Help
For questions, support, feature suggestions, etc., feel free to
contact me (Brent Yorgey): `byorgey` on IRC (freenode), or `byorgey`
at gmail. There is also a [bug tracker][] where you can file bugs and
feature requests.
[bug tracker]: