PDF output

Fosters tef261 at bronxfellowship.org
Thu Jun 22 11:23:03 EDT 2006

Markdown speaks to a project I've engaged for nearly a decade. Ever
since I cobbled up an Apple Newton keyboard to connect to my Pilot
5000, I wanted to type plain text with formatting for later printing.
Class notes and such. Once I wrote a complex WordPerfect script using
custom markup. For a while I wrote raw TeX, relying on a macro file to
simplify things only a little.

Upon examining the output of Markdown and noting the very small set of
tags, I thought it might lend itself naturally to this project. The
result is a crude shell script that uses Markdown, SmartyPants and
tetex (specifically, pdfetex) to generate a pdf file from a Markdown

At present the script does not support images and its URL handling is
pretty crude. I don't even try to do anything with obscured e-mail

I also deviate from Markdown by:
- leaving the plain TeX page numbers
- using letters and roman numerals for the second & third nested
ordered lists
- allowing html comments to pass TeX code by delimiting with the token
<!--TeX \eject TeX-->

This may be pretty far outside the scope of Markdown. Especially the
inclusion of TeX commands which could be used to give hints, but also
is subject to heavy use (=abuse). Nonetheless I submit the following
script for your amusement. The following URL should be available for
approximately seven days (until 29 June 2006). I invite comments and


The file you download should be called "md2pdf".


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