Leveraging Python for Working with Markdown

Leveraging Python for Working with Markdown #

Python enables me to manipulate my Markdown files programmatically, add text to many files at once in particular place, create tables, add custom CSS, or revert HTML to Markdown.

Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain-text-formatting syntax. It's designed to be converted to HTML and many other formats. Python provides us with several powerful libraries that we can use to work with markdown, which includes the conversion of markdown to other formats such as HTML and PDF and parsing and generating markdown files. This article will guide you through how Python can be used to manipulate Markdown and will serve as your Python Markdown cheat sheet.

Python Markdown Library #

The Python Markdown library is a powerful tool for handling Markdown in Python. It's easy to install using pip:

pip install markdown

You can use this library to convert Markdown into HTML. Here's a simple example:

import markdown

text = """
# Hello World
This is a simple **Markdown** document.

html = markdown.markdown(text)

In my experience, Python Markdown is quite powerful and straightforward, particularly for simpler tasks such as conversion to HTML. The markdown function takes a string with markdown formatting and outputs the corresponding HTML string.

Markdownify - Python Markdown Parser #

Markdownify is a Python library used to convert HTML into Markdown. It's an ideal tool when you need to take existing HTML content and convert it back into a more human-readable and editable Markdown format.

To install markdownify, use pip:

pip install markdownify

And here is a simple usage example:This can be particularly useful in web scraping tasks, when extracting and simplifying the contents from web pages for further processing or data analysis.

Python Markdown to PDF #

Sometimes you need to share documents with others who prefer reading in PDF format.
For converting Markdown to PDF, we can use a two-step process. First, we convert the Markdown to HTML using the Python Markdown library, then convert that HTML to a PDF. For the HTML to PDF conversion, we can use pdfkit, a Python wrapper for wkhtmltopdf, which can nicely render HTML into PDF.

To install the necessary libraries, you can use pip:

pip install markdown pdfkit

Here is an example:

import markdown
import pdfkit

text = """
# Hello World
This is a simple **Markdown** document.

html = markdown.markdown(text)
pdfkit.from_string(html, 'out.pdf')

This will create a 'out.pdf' file with the rendered HTML content. You can use this in generating reports from your Python scripts in a nicely formatted manner.

Python Markdown Table #

Python is time saver for me when Writing blog posts that require tables.
Creating tables in markdown using Python can be done easily with the tabulate library, which can generate tables in various formats, including Markdown. Here is an example:

from tabulate import tabulate

table = [["Sun", 696000, 1989000], ["Earth", 6371, 5973.6], ["Moon", 1737, 73.5]]
print(tabulate(table, headers=["Planet", "R (km)", "mass (x 10^29 kg)"], tablefmt="pipe"))

This will output a markdown formatted table:

| Planet   |   R (km) |   mass (x 10^29 kg) |
| Sun      |   696000 |           1989000   |
| Earth    |     6371 |              5973.6 |
| Moon     |     1737 |                73.5 |

The tabulate library can be very useful when you want to present data in a table format in your markdown files or Jupyter notebooks.

Markdown Extensions in Python #

Python Markdown supports various extensions that provide additional functionality. For example, the Python Markdown library supports several built-in extensions, such as tables, footnotes, and definition lists.

To use an extension, you just need to provide its name to the extensions parameter of the markdown function:

import markdown

text = """
Term 1
: Definition 1

Term 2
: Definition 2

html = markdown.markdown(text, extensions=['def_list'])

The above example will correctly convert a definition list in Markdown to HTML. Extensions can greatly enhance the functionality of the Python Markdown library.

Python Markdown API #

You can use the Python Markdown library's API if you need more control over the conversion process. It allows you to create an instance of the markdown.Markdown class and call various methods to parse and manipulate markdown text.

Here is an example that demonstrates how to extract the title from a markdown document:

from markdown import Markdown
from io import StringIO

text = """
# My Document
Hello, world!

md = Markdown()
html = md.convert(text)

# md.Meta contains document meta data like title
title = md.Meta['title']

Python Markdown Admonition and Attr_List #

The Admonition and Attr_List are extensions provided by the Python Markdown library. They allow you to add notes, warnings, and other types of side content to your markdown, as well as attribute lists to elements respectively.

Here is an example of using admonitions:

import markdown

text = """
!!! note
This is a note.

html = markdown.markdown(text, extensions=['admonition'])

And here is an example of using attribute lists:

import markdown

text = """
# Heading {#custom-id .custom-class key=value}

html = markdown.markdown(text, extensions=['attr_list'])

This makes it easier to add additional semantics to your markdown documents.

Interested in learning more? Check out our article, Python to download YouTube Video, where you can uncover the secrets of using Python to download YouTube videos efficiently.