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Panpipe License

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An Elixir wrapper around Pandoc.


  • convenient ways to call the pandoc functions from Elixir
  • Elixir structs for the Pandoc AST - a read and writeable Markdown AST
  • ways to traverse and transform the AST via Elixir pattern matching (and pipes maybe)
  • ... everything you need to write Pandoc filters with Elixir


You'll need to have Pandoc installed.

The Hex package can then be installed by adding panpipe to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

def deps do
    {:panpipe, "~> 0.3"}


Calling Pandoc

Pandoc can be called with the Panpipe.pandoc/2 function. Generally it takes the long-form arguments of Pandoc as the usual Keyword list options with dashes replaced by underscores, but there are a couple of differences. First, the input is either provided directly as a string as the first argument or when the input is another file via the input option.

iex> Panpipe.pandoc("# Example doc", to: :latex)
{:ok, "\\hypertarget{example-doc}{%\n\\section{Example doc}\\label{example-doc}}\n"}
iex> Panpipe.pandoc(input: "", output: "output.tex")
{:ok, nil}
iex> Panpipe.pandoc(input: "", output: "output.pdf", pdf_engine: :xelatex, variable: "linkcolor=blue")

As you can see the Panpipe.pandoc/2 returns an ok tuple in the success with the result as string if no output file is specified, or nil if the output was written to a file. If want directly get the result and fail in error cases, you can use the Panpipe.pandoc!/2 function.

Extensions for the input and output format can be specified by providing a tuple with the format and either a list of extensions to be enabled or a map with the keys enable and disable.

Panpipe.pandoc("# Example doc", 
  from: {:markdown, [:emoji]}, 
  to: {:html, %{enable: [:emoji], disable: [:raw_html, :raw_attribute]}}

Another difference is that flag arguments of Pandoc must be provided as an option with the value true.

Panpipe.pandoc("# Example doc", to: :html, standalone: true)

You can also call Pandoc with a specific output format with the Panpipe.to_<format>/2 functions, which are available for every output format supported by Pandoc. Other than setting the to option they are just a Panpipe.pandoc/2 call taking the same arguments.

Panpipe.to_latex("# Example doc")

"# Example doc"
|> Panpipe.to_html(standalone: true)

The Panpipe AST

You can get an AST representation of some input with the Panpipe.ast/2 or Panpipe.ast!/2 functions. The input and Pandoc options can be given in the same way as for the Panpipe.pandoc/2 function described above.

iex> Panpipe.ast("# Example doc")
   children: [
       attr: %Panpipe.AST.Attr{
         classes: [],
         identifier: "example-doc",
         key_value_pairs: %{}
       children: [
         %Panpipe.AST.Str{parent: nil, string: "Example"},
         %Panpipe.AST.Space{parent: nil},
         %Panpipe.AST.Str{parent: nil, string: "doc"}
       level: 1,
       parent: nil
   meta: nil,
   parent: nil

The AST structure is an exact representation of the Pandoc AST returned during the conversion to JSON, but in nice Elixir structs for the nodes.

It can be traversed by using Elixirs Enumerable protocol which is implemented by all AST nodes and will yield the nodes in pre-order.

Panpipe.ast!(input: "")
|> Enum.filter(fn node -> match?(%Panpipe.AST.Link{}, node) end)
|> %Panpipe.AST.Link{target: target} -> target end)

The AST can be transformed with the Panpipe.transform/2 function. The transformation will be called with all nodes and replace the result with result value unless it is nil. Here's an example showing how to increase the level of all headers:

Panpipe.ast!(input: "")
|> Panpipe.transform(fn 
     %Panpipe.AST.Header{} = header ->
       %Panpipe.AST.Header{header | level: header.level + 1}
     _ -> nil

It's also possible to replace a single node with a sequence of new nodes by returning a list of nodes in the transformation function.

You may have noted the parent member in the AST example above. This is something not present in the original Pandoc AST representation. All of the nodes in the AST returned by Panpipe.ast/2 have nil as the parent value. But the nodes emitted during traversal with the Enumerable protocol and on the Panpipe.transform/2 function will have set this field to the respective parent node (but not recursively up to the root), which gives an additional criterion to pattern match on.


see CONTRIBUTING for details.

License and Copyright

(c) 2019-present Marcel Otto. MIT Licensed, see LICENSE for details.