2009-05-29 14:40

rst2pdf progress report

Since the last release, there have been many changes, improvements and fixes in rst2pdf.

At the bottom of this post you will find (maybe incomplete) list, but I wanted to share a couple of relatively large advances.


I have wanted to make rst2pdf useful for presentations for quite a while. And now it's getting close.

I am writing a small tutorial about it, but you can see a demo already.

The changes that make this possible are:

  • Fixed bugs regarding page layout
  • Added support for page backgrounds (including SVG!)

This was in large part because of César Rodas, who wanted something simple and text-based to do his ZendCon presentation, so he asked me about it, and I was ashamed to give him a broken tool.

See how that works? I am driven by embarrassment. That's embarrasing.

Major stylesheet improvements

The related changes are way too many (see below), but it also happened for a reason: I wanted to make prettier documents.

So, since most people seems to like Sphinx's style, I wanted to look similar.

Did I achieve it? Yes and no, take a look:

web-sphinx rst2pdf-sphinx

But it's just a draft, I didn't look at fonts, or weight of the headings, or even at what pygments color scheme sphinx is using.

But anyway, even this rough stylesheet made me find a dozen bugs or problems in rst2pdf.

So, the main lesson here is, please tell me what you can and can't do with rst2pdf, because there are whole areas I am not even looking at, day-to-day.

The final thing is... the next release is going to be awesome. But then again, I always say that, don't I?

Changes as of today:

  • Workaround for issue 103 so you can use borderPadding as a list (but it will look wrong if you are using wordaxe <= 0.3.2)
  • Added fieldvalue style for field lists
  • Added optionlist tstyle, for option lists
  • Added collection of utility stylesheets and documented it
  • Improved command line parsing and stylesheet loading (guess extension like latest rst2latex does)
  • Fixed Issue 67: completely new list layouting code
  • Fixed Issue 116: crashes caused by huge images
  • Better support for %width in images, n2ow it's % of the container frame's width, not of the text area.
  • Fixed bug in SVG scaling
  • Better handling of missing images
  • Added missing styles abstract, contents, dedication to the default stylesheet
  • Tables style support spaceBefore and spaceAfter
  • New topic-title style for topic titles (obvious ;-)
  • Vertical alignment for inline images (:align: parameter)
  • Issue 118: Support for :scale: in images and handle resizing of inline images
  • Issue 119: Fix placement of headers and footers
  • New background property for page templates (nice for presentations, for example)
  • Default to px for image width specifications instead of pt
  • Support all required measurement units ("em" "ex" "px" "in" "cm" "mm" "pt" "pc" "%" "")
  • New automated scripts to check test cases for "visual differences"
  • Respect images DPI property a bit like rst2latex does.
  • Issue 110: New --inline-footnotes option
  • Tested with reportlab from SVN trunk
  • Support for Dinu Gherman's svglib. If both svglib and uniconvertor are available, svglib is preferred (for SVG, of course). Patch originally by rute.
  • Issue 109: Separate styles for each kind of admonition
  • For Issue 109: missing styles are not a fatal error
  • Issue 117: TOCs with more than 6 levels now supported (raised limit to 9, which is silly deep)


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