A Literate Programming Tool inspired by NoWeb, implemented in OCaml
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README.md

Lipsum - Literate Programming Simplified

Lipsum is a command-line utility for literate programming. It stands in the tradition of Noweb, a popular and flexible literate programming system by Norman Ramsey. The idea of literate programming is to keep documentation for programmers and program code in one file and to arrange it in a way that helps understanding it best. To actually compile or run the code it needs to be extracted from the literate program and Lipsum is a tool to do this.

Like Noweb, Lipsum employs a minimal markup to arrange documentation and code in a file. Also like Noweb, Lipsum is language agnostic and can be used for almost any programming language and documentation.

    @ Echo prints each command line argument on a line by itself. This
    documentation chunk starts with @ and extends until the beginning
    of the named code chunk below. A lipsum file (`*.lp` by convention)
    is a sequence of code and documentation chunks. Each chunk extends
    until the beginning of the next one (or the end of file.)

    <<echo.c>>=
    /* <<copyright>> */
    #include <stdio.h>

    int main(int argc, char** argv)
    {
            int i;
            for (i=0; i<argc; i++)
                    puts(argv[i]);
            return 0;
    }

    @ By keeping the copyright notice in a chunk by itself it is easy
    to include it in several files. This documenation chunk starts with
    an @ followed by a space and extends until the beginning of the
    next chunk.  Inside of documentation, @ only has special meaning at
    the beginning of a line and hence is unlikely to interfear in most
    use cases.

    <<copyright>>=
    This code is in the public domain.

    @ Below we are extending the code chunk above. 

    <<copyright>>=
    This code is part of the documentation for Lipsum.

To extract the code for echo.c for compilation from the file echo.lp using Lipsum, one would run Lipsum like this:

    $ lipsum expand echo.c echo.lp
    $ cc -o echo echo.c

Important Commands

  • lipsum tangle: extract source code to stdout
  • lipsum expand: extract source code to file
  • lipsum weave: format input
  • lipsum roots: emit names of root chunks to stdout

For more information, see the manual page lipsum(1) and invoke lipsum <command> --help.

Installation from Opam

Lipsum is available via the OCaml package manager Opam:

    $ opam install lipsum

This will install a binary and the manual page. See also below for how to obtain the source code from GitHub.

It can be also compiled from sources. Take a look a lipsum.opsm for dependencies:

$ make

Resources for Literate Programming

While literate programming isn't a mass phenomenon among programmers it has a dedicated following. Here are some resources to learn about its concepts, strengths, and weaknesses.

Literate programming enjoys popularity in the R community which uses a literate programming system called Sweave which is also in the tradition of Noweb. R is a system for statistical analysis and Sweave is mainly used to include statistical analysis into scientific papers that are typeset with LaTeX.

Why not using Noweb?

Noweb is a great tool with a flexible architecture that permits a user to plug in filters to extend it. This makes its installation depend on various filters that are part of its distribution and that are written in various languages. While this is usually not a problem if you develop code mostly for yourself, it adds one more dependency if you want to release code as open source.

Lipsum is less ambitious: it is just one binary and almost all it does is extracting code from a literate program. I am planning to use it in combination with Markdown as a syntax for documentation and to include it with literate programs that I release as open source.

Documentation

Lipsum comes with a Unix manual page lipsum.1 that is generated from lipsum.pod. POD is a simple markup language, much like Markdown, that is used by the Perl community. To view the manual page prior to installation use nroff:

    $ nroff -man lipsum.1 | less

After installation it is available using man lipsum as usual.

Lipsum provides minimal online help via --help options for all its sub commands.

Source Code

https://github.com/lindig/lipsum.git

License

Lipsum is distributed under the BSD-2 license. The license can be also displayed by the program:

$ lipsum copyright
https://github.com/lindig/lipsum.git
Copyright (c) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 
Christian Lindig <lindig@gmail.com>
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or
without modification, are permitted provided that the following
conditions are met:

(1) Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
(2) Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in
    the documentation and/or other materials provided with the
    distribution.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND
CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES,
INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE
DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR
CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT
LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF
USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED
AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT
LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN
ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

Author

Christian Lindig lindig@gmail.com