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1 Dfeich’s Org-babel, org-exporter, org-table example collection

This is my collection of example documents to demonstrate the usage of org mode, and especially org-babel with different languages. I also show some exporter functionality in respect to a few backends.

I have used org and especially the org-babel functionality for a large number of use cases. Please understand that I cannot include the full documents here (many of them contain internal information), but every time I learn something new, I try to update the recipe collections.

1.1 Contents

Note that you need to look at the examples in raw mode! Github can nicely render an org file, but you will lose the markup. For some of the example documents I provide the exported PDF documents as well.

  1. Babel examples for various backends
  2. Export backend Examples
  3. general Org table related examples

1.2 Motivation

Org-Mode is a fantastic piece of work that over the last years took over most of my daily workflows. It’s ability to be already useful on a beginner’s level (as outliner or simple agenda) that allows stepwise learning until you end with an extremely versatile authoring and programming framework make it unique. Add to it the community which constantly are improving it, and also managed to write for this complex format a parsing library that turns an org document into an abstract data structure for which exporters to other formats can be easily produced.

Just to show you where I profit from org, and naturally from the basic Emacs funtionality, I’ll list a number of use cases.

  • writing documentation for programming projects (e.g. for python)
  • for documenting benchmarking tests
  • documenting the installation of servers. E.g. the complete installation of an OpenLDAP master and its slaves is an executable babel document. By making smart use of tramp + ssh configuration (look up the ControlMaster and ProxyCommand SSH options), the code is executed on the servers a few hops away. The documentation I publish via my Twiki exporter on our intranet.
    • please also look up Howard Abram’s interesting literate devops article where he goes similar ways.
  • creating OpenDocument documents from clean templates. This even helped in getting a clear basis for a group of people trying to merge a number of partial office documents.
  • Planning a major (at least for us… 17 people) IT project using org tables and lisp code for more complex table functions. The cost planning and general planning was all done in Org. The project’s gantt chart had to be done in MS Project due to our institution’s guidelines, but based on the MS Project csv export, I was able to process the MS project data again directly in org. This made the committing of changes into the evolving proposal a breeze!
    • here I used everything from comples exporter functionality to literate programming and tangling, as well as advanced org tables.
  • Budget planning for our scientific computing group
  • use an org table as input to seed a DB with and then run SQL queries on it. Great for DB debugging and documenting.
  • I produce most of my presentations really fast with beamer. Being able to copy information from all my other org documents into the presentation makes this very efficient.

I again have to thank the authors and maintainers of org-mode and all the community for providing such a versatile and efficient tool. I hope that others can profit from these examples. Sometimes it took quite a bit of effort to understand how to do things, and I was glad to find references. But with Emacs there is also always the option to “Read the Source, Luke!”… and reading the source not only might solve your problem, but also it often leads to a deeper understanding of the concepts.

I am glad for feedback and corrections… (e.g. if there is anybody with better knowledge of how to integrate calc)

Have fun hacking away…. Derek

1.3 Changes

1.3.1 Org 9.1

In org-9.1 the variable org-export-babel-evaluate will become obsolete. I used this variable with a setting to nil for preventing code blocks from being (re)evaluated during export. I mostly evaluate code blocks interactively, e.g. when documenting the state of a system or measurements during a code optimization.

Evaluation upon export is mostly appropriate for certain kinds of forms.

The variable is replaced by org-export-use-babel, but the behavior has changed. If this variable is set to nil then all of the code block header arguments are ignored, including the :exports argument that determines whether to only export the source code, the results, or both. The code block will always export both when org-export-use-babel is set to nil.

The solution for retaining the old functionality is to use the header argument :eval never-export that will prevent code blocks from being evaluated at export time. The default can be set system and file wide

  • sytem-wide
    • org-babel-default-header-args (for all languages)
    • org-babel-default-header-args:<lang> (language specific)
  • File wide using PROPERTY
    • #+PROPERTY: header-args :eval never-export
  • Org heading wide using a local property setting
    * sample header
      :header-args:    :eval never-export

You can also look at the discussion in this org-mode mailing list thread.


Examples using emacs org mode babel inline source code with different backend languages






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