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ditaa – DIagrams Through Ascii Art – by Stathis Sideris is:

a small command-line utility written in Java, that can convert diagrams drawn using ascii art ('drawings' that contain characters that resemble lines like | / - ), into proper bitmap graphics.

Which "is best illustrated by the following example:"

+--------+   +-------+    +-------+
|        | --+ ditaa +--> |       |
|  Text  |   +-------+    |diagram|
|Document|   |!magic!|    |       |
|     {d}|   |       |    |       |
+---+----+   +-------+    +-------+
    :                         ^
    |       Lots of work      |

Which after conversion becomes:

ditaa image

ditaa interprets ascci art as a series of open and closed shapes, but it also uses special markup syntax to increase the possibilities of shapes and symbols that can be rendered.


Install the ditaa command-line utility with your favourite package manager, e.g. on Ubuntu: $ [sudo] apt-get install ditaa, and place the ditaa-ditaa.rb plugin in your sites _plugins directory.


ditaa-ditaa can be used in several ways, the most explicit way is to use liquid {% ditaa %} blocks such as:

Liquid tags

Liquid {% ditaa %} blocks can be used wherever liquid is rendered.

{% ditaa %}
/----+  DAAP /-----+-----+ Audio  /--------+
| PC |<------| RPi | MPD |------->| Stereo |
+----+       +-----+-----+        +--------+
   |                 ^ ^
   |     ncmpcpp     | | mpdroid /---------+
   +--------=--------+ +----=----| Nexus S |
{% endditaa %}

which generates an image like the following:

ditaa image

To maintain backwards compatibility with jekyll-ditaa options can be passed in command-line style like {% ditaa -S -E %} provided the trollop library is installed ($ [sudo] gem install trollop). It is preferred that options be passed using flags and attributes such as {% ditaa round no-separation scale:0.75 %}. Flags must not use the attribute syntax.

.ditaa pages

ditaa-ditaa will also process pages with the .ditaa extension.

permalink: /some/path/image.png
  round: true
  separation: false
  scale: 2

/----+  DAAP /-----+-----+ Audio  /--------+
| PC |<------| RPi | MPD |------->| Stereo |
+----+       +-----+-----+        +--------+
   |                 ^ ^
   |     ncmpcpp     | | mpdroid /---------+
   +--------=--------+ +----=----| Nexus S |

When using the .ditaa pages options can be passed through the ditaa front-matter object.

Code blocks

The final way in which ditaa-ditaa can be used is with code blocks when using the kramdown parser. For example:

    /----+  DAAP /-----+-----+ Audio  /--------+
    | PC |<------| RPi | MPD |------->| Stereo |
    +----+       +-----+-----+        +--------+
       |                 ^ ^
       |     ncmpcpp     | | mpdroid /---------+
       +--------=--------+ +----=----| Nexus S |
{: .ditaa}

This is the suggested method as it degrades the most gracefully outputting the source in <pre><code>...</code></pre> tags.

ditaa-ditaa is invoked for code blocks when either the .ditaa or .language-ditaa classes are added (the latter to allow the simpler ``` language \ ... \ ``` syntax; although the latter may be removed in future and should not be depended upon). Flags (boolean options) can be specified using either classes, such as .no-separation and .round, or with IAL attributes with truthy or falsey values, such as separation="false" and round="true". Valued options can be specified using IAL attributes, such as scale="0.5".


ditaa-ditaa allows all relevant options that ditaa itself allows. The supported options (taken from DITAA(1)) are:

   -v, --verbose
          Makes ditaa more verbose.

   -A, --no-antialias
          Turns anti-aliasing off.

   -d, --debug
          Renders the debug grid over the resulting image.

   -E, --no-separation
          Prevents the separation of common edges of shapes.

   -e ENCODING, --encoding ENCODING
          The encoding of the input file.

   -r, --round-corners
          Causes all corners to be rendered as round corners.

   -s SCALE, --scale SCALE
          A natural number that determines the size of the rendered image.
          The units are fractions of the default  size  (2.5  renders  1.5
          times bigger than the default).

   -S, --no-shadows
          Turns off the drop-shadow effect.

   -t TABS, --tabs TABS
          Tabs  are normally interpreted as 8 spaces but it is possible to
          change that using this option. It is not advisable to  use  tabs
          in your diagrams.

The no- prefix is not considered to be part of the option name, for instance in a .ditaa page shadows are disabled using shadows: false and NOT no-shadows: true.

The liquid block and kramdown code block methods also permit the following extra options to be specified:

    The output path of the rendered image. This may contain %{hash} which
    will be replaced by a hexadecimal string unquie to the image.

    The output filename of the rendered image. This may contain %{hash}
    which will be replaced by a hexadecimal string unquie to the image.

Global Configuration

Global options may be set in your sites _config.yml file under the ditaa: key. For example:

  dirname: /assets/images/
  separation: false

The jekyll-ditaa options ditaa_output_directory: and ditaa_debug_mode: are supported for backwards compatibility.


The following defaults are enforced:

:antialias => true,
:debug => false,
:separation => true,
:encoding => "utf-8",
:round => false,
:scale => 1.0,
:shadows => true,
:tabs => 8,
:verbose => false,
:dirname => "/images/ditaa",
:name => "ditaa-%{hash}.png"


ditaa-ditaa was inspired by jekyll-ditaa by Matthias Vogelgesang.

The command-line ditaa utility was written by Efstathios (Stathis) Sideris.

The DITAA(1) manual page was written by David Paleino, for the Debian project.




ditaa-ditaa is a Jekyll plugin that leverages ditaa to convert diagrams drawn using ascii art into proper bitmap graphics. [Not maintained].





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