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Posts about python (old posts, page 28)

rst2pdf: now with working tables

Yup. Fig­ured out colum­n/­cell spans in re­port­lab, found old rst2rst code that reg­u­lar­izes the ta­ble row/­columns to be all the same num­ber of el­e­ments, and voilá, ta­bles work, in­clud­ing ex­am­ples like this:

| header                          |
|          |    tr                |
+  tl      +------------+---------+
|          |    c       |  br     |
+----------+------------+         +
|           bl          |         |

Which gen­er­ates nice­ly on PDF now. See it

The bad side is that it's now not a sin­gle file any­more, so I am need­ing a place to host SVN and what­ev­er, be­cause it's turn­ing in­to a re­al projec­t... and google­code does­n't let me start more stuff.

Maybe I should write an office suite.

Re­al­ly. I al­ready have a func­tion­ing slideshow pro­gram, a spread­sheet and I could write a word pro­ces­sor in a week (for some val­ues of "word", "pro­ces­sor", "write", "week" and "a".)

Of course it would be a very aw­ful of­fice suit­e, but at least it would be small. I think I can put all that in 1MB in­clud­ing icon­s.

I could make stupid­sheet pret­ty good, and to­bo­gan is ac­tu­al­ly use­ful (if rough).

rst2pdf again

I did a lit­tle (very lit­tle) more work on rst2pdf [1]


  • Head­­ers

  • Foot­ers

  • Foot­notes (as end­notes, re­al foot­notes are too much work be­­cause you have to re­flow the tex­t)

  • Ex­ter­­nal links (http, email)

  • Some styling im­prove­­ments (mean­ing: the out­­put is not so painful in the eye­­s)

  • Pa­per size sup­­port

  • Re­al sep­a­ra­­tors

Then there are some things you just get be­cause it's done us­ing re­port­lab:

  • True­­Type font em­bed­d­ing (check the ex­am­­ple be­low, and look at the monospaced font)

  • No hy­phen­a­tion (although there is a project on the web that claims to have done it, I should check it out)

Still bro­ken:

  • No way to put things like page num­bers or sec­­tion names in head­­er­s/­­foot­ers

  • The foot­notes are not linked to their con­­tents and vicev­er­sa

  • In fac­t, no in­­ter­­nal links work, in­­­clud­ing ti­­tle re­f­er­ences

  • Ta­bles are pret­­ty bro­ken

And here is the usu­al ver­sion of the rst de­mo show­ing im­prove­ments.

Done with rst2pdf for now

It works much bet­ter than it did last night.

The main miss­ing/bro­ken things are:

  • Ta­bles

  • Links

  • Foot­notes/c­i­­ta­­tions

  • Head­­er­s/­­Foot­ers

  • Re­f­er­ences

  • Ta­ble HEad­­er­s/S­­pan­n­ing cells

  • Lists that don't start at 1

The rest seems to be in work­ing or­der and pro­duc­ing de­cent out­put al­ready. It can process the ReST de­mo and it does­n't look bad: check it out

I say, good for half a day of hack­ing, and will now stop, be­cause it's a week­end and I have a fam­i­ly :-)

But that does­n't mean you can't try it for your­self. Just run it thus:

python myrstfile.txt

And you will get (hopefully) a myrstfile.txt.pdf

Let me know how it work­s, and if it does­n't and it's not re­lat­ed to one of the things I men­tioned above as bro­ken, send me a test file!

Generating PDFs from Restructured text

This has al­ways been pos­si­ble, go­ing via La­TeX.

How­ev­er, La­TeX be­ing what it is, you ei­ther need to learn it, or you end up with rather plain-look­ing doc­u­ments.

While that's ok for a man­u­al, I want to use Re­struc­tured Text for ev­ery­thing in­volv­ing doc­u­ments.

So, I looked for an­oth­er so­lu­tion. Sad­ly, I could not make the ex­ist­ing rlpdf writ­er work, sooooo I de­cid­ed to write my own tool.

Since I in­tense­ly dis­like the Vis­i­tor pat­tern in­volved in writ­ing a reg­u­lar do­cu­tils writer, I adapt­ed my old and end­ed with which just tra­vers­es the tree re­cur­sive­ly and writes the PDF us­ing Re­port­Lab.

And it took me about 3 hours to make it work:

  • For a lim­it­ed sub­­set of RST (no foot­notes, no links, no dec­o­ra­­tion)

  • For some sub­­set of ta­bles (no col/row span­n­ing)

  • With lim­it­ed "styling" (it's most­­ly there, but I need to write a lot of Re­­port­Lab styles.

How well does it work... rather well.

Here's a gen­er­at­ed PDF of The Re­struc­tured­Text Primer

Ig­nore aes­thet­ic­s, and con­sid­er func­tion, it's pret­ty good.

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