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markdeep-thesis

Write your (under)graduate thesis with Markdeep and typeset it right in your browser.

  • Supports all features Markdeep has to offer – diagrams, math, fancy quotes, footnotes, citations, admonitions, and all the standard Markdown stuff.
  • Fills in page numbers, generates a nice-looking table of contents and supports footnotes courtesy of Bindery.
  • A highly readable layout – but if you don't like it or want to adjust things: Style your thesis with CSS! LaTeX is great, but things can get tricky if you really want to make a documentclass your own.
  • Your browser's built-in print tools allow you to export your thesis to a PDF file ready for printing – see "Exporting to PDF" below for more information.

💻 Try out a demo thesis, see the exported PDF and take a look at its Markdeep source code.

Also, check out markdeep-slides and markdeep-diagram-drafting-board!

Pages of my own Master's thesis, which provided the impetus for building this tool. (In case you're curious as to how this image was generated, you'll surely be delighted to know that I've written a blog post about it.)

Getting started

Setup

This repository contains copies of all dependencies (Markdeep, Bindery, MathJax, and the webfonts used in the default layout) by design – it'll work offline just fine.

📦 Clone this repository or download a ZIP.

Then simply...

  1. navigate to demo.md.html,
  2. open it in your text editor and browser of choice,
  3. fill in your data in the titlePage variable, and
  4. start writing your thesis. Easy!

Options

At the bottom of demo.md.html, smack in the middle of where a bunch of essential JavaScript files are loaded, you'll find a set of options. Their default values (each of which is automatically applied if you omit the corresponding option) are:

<script>
markdeepThesisOptions = {

    // Default view during authoring: "print", "preview", or "flipbook".
    view: "print",

    // Let `markdeep-thesis` know about the `titlePage` variable set during
    // step 3 of the setup instructions above.
    titlePage: titlePage,

    // Base font size, in `pt`. Everything is defined relative to this value.
    fontSize: 10.5,

    // Page/paper size: the default is A4.
    pageSize: {width: '21cm', height: '29.7cm'},

    // Margins between content and edge of paper. A bit wide, but in the spirit
    // of (La)TeX, I guess.
    pageMargins: {top: '2.5cm', inner: '3.5cm', outer: '2.5cm', bottom: '2.5cm'},

    // Extra rules passed to Bindery's `Bindery.makeBook` function. Useful for
    // preventing page breaks: `Bindery.PageBreak({selector: '.someClass',
    // position: 'avoid'})`. See
    // https://evanbrooks.info/bindery/docs/#flowing-content
    // for more info.
    extraBinderyRules: [],

    // Definition of running header, see:
    // https://evanbrooks.info/bindery/docs/#runningheader
    runningHeader: (p => `${p.number}`),

    // Scale factor for markdeep diagrams.
    markdeepDiagramScale: 1.0,

    // A number of hooks that you can utilize for custom pre- or postprocessing
    // steps. No-ops by default.
    hookAfterMarkdeep:               Function.prototype,
    hookAfterMarkdeepPostprocessing: Function.prototype,
    hookAfterMathJax:                Function.prototype,
    hookAfterMathJaxPostprocessing:  Function.prototype,
    hookAfterBindery:                Function.prototype
};
</script>

Modify them to your liking, but don't decrease the font size too much (your advisor won't appreciate having to use a magnifying glass). Additionally, you can tweak the layout by overriding CSS definitions or modifying markdeep-thesis/style.css in-place.

Exporting to PDF

It's best to use Chrome for generating a PDF version of your thesis – it respects the page size that you've configured (unlike all other browsers). In Chrome's print window, set "Margins" to "None" and make sure to keep the "Background graphics" option enabled.

In my experience, once you've dialled in this print configuration, you can run Chrome headlessly for future exports (you may need to boost the --virtual-time-budget depending on the complexity of your thesis):

chrome --headless --disable-gpu --print-to-pdf=demo.md.html.pdf --no-margins --virtual-time-budget=10000 demo.md.html

Contributing

Got an idea on how to improve something? Ran into unexpected behavior? Found a bug? (Maybe even fixed that bug?)

Please file an issue or send a pull request! I'll be glad to take a look at it.

I'd love to hear from you (or take a peek at your thesis) if you've used this tool in practice.


Notes

  • The first two pages of the document – the title page and the empty page after it – are intentionally lacking page numbers. Page numbers commence with "1" on page 3 of the document.
  • A horizontal rule --- forces a page break or two: The content will continue on the next odd-numbered page. (<span class="pagebreak"></span> forces a simple page break.) If you want to insert a visible horizontal rule that does not result in any page breaks, type <hr class="ignore">.
  • This tool converts Markdeep's endnotes into footnotes. Multiple references to an endnote turn into multiple, distinct footnotes.
  • Similarly, the target URLs of links specified using Markdown are shown in footnotes.
  • Note that Markdeep's insert functionality does not play well with this tool.
  • Also note that this tool includes no fancy (e.g. BibTeX-style) way of managing references – it doesn't extend Markdeep's capabilities in this respect. You'll need to manually make sure that your formatting is consistent if that's something you or your advisor cares about. (This is certainly a feature that would be neat to integrate!)
  • It would also be neat (although Markdeep should ideally include this functionality) to have a way of linking to sections such that the link markup is automatically replaced with section numbers.

License

You may use this repository's contents under the terms of the BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" License, see LICENSE.

However, the subdirectory markdeep-thesis/lib/ contains third-party software with its own licenses:

  • Morgan McGuire's Markdeep is also licensed under the BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" License, see here.
  • Markdeep includes Ivan Sagalaev's highlight.js with its BSD 3-Clause License, see here.
  • Bindery is used in accordance with its MIT License, see here.
  • MathJax is licensed under the Apache License 2.0, see here.
  • All included webfonts (PT Serif, Poppins, Iosevka, PT Sans Narrow, Aleo) are licensed under the SIL Open Font License, see here.

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