A Ruby wrapper for processing reStructuredText via Python's Docutils
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A simple Ruby wrapper for processing reStructuredText via Python's Docutils.


Python 2.3+ is required.

RbST is available on gemcutter.

gem install RbST


require 'rbst'
@html = RbST.new('/some/file.rst').to_html
# or
@latex = RbST.new('*hello*').to_latex

This takes the reStructuredText formatted file and converts it to either HTML or LaTeX. The first argument can be either a file or a string.

You can also use the convert class method to output HTML:

puts RbST.convert('/some/file.rst')

Arguments can be passed to #to_html, #to_latex, new or convert, accepting symbols or strings for options without arguments and hashes of strings or symbols for options with arguments.

puts RbST.new(".. a comment").to_html('strip-comments')
# => '<div class="document">\n</div>'

Options passed as string use hyphens while symbols use underscores. For instance, the above could also be written as:

puts RbST.new(".. a comment").to_html(:strip_comments)
# => '<div class="document">\n</div>'

Document parts can also be specified with the :parts option.

puts RbST.new("hello world").to_html(:part => :fragment)
# => '<p>hello world</p>'

By default, RbST uses the html_body part for HTML and the whole part for LaTeX.

Available options can be viewed using the RbST.html_options and RbST.latex_options class methods.

You might run into a situation where you want to specify a custom script for processing one or both of the output formats. If so, just specify the full path to the custom script for the format by passing a hash to the RbST.executables= method:

RbST.executables = {:html => "/some/other/path/2html.py"}
RbST.new("something").to_html  # uses custom executable for outputting html
RbST.new("something else").to_latex # uses default executable for latex since a custom one wasn't specified

For more information on reStructuredText, see the ReST documentation.


  • Docutils is very slow. On my 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo it takes over half a second to convert the test file to HTML, including about 0.2s to start up and 0.38s to process the input data. In other words, this isn't the sort of thing you'd want to be using directly in a Rails view helper.
  • This has only been tested on *nix systems.
  • Python 3 has not been tested.

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright (c) 2009 William Melody. See LICENSE for details.