Un naufragio personal

Ángel Ortega

The Grutatxt markup

This document describes the markup supported by Grutatxt. It's specially designed to be as natural as possible, so reading a source file should feel as reading a plain text file. Ideas were taken from conventions used in pre-web email messages, README files and Wikis.


Text paragraphs

A text paragraph is any group of lines containing text delimited by one or more blank lines, provided that none of them beings with a blank space. So, you just write lines as usual (wrapping or not), and separates paragraphs as in a word processor.


A line is understand as a heading if it's immediately followed by another one that contains only a repetition of a special character (see 'Text paragraphs' and 'Headings' for an example). There are three heading levels depending on this special character: if it's a line of = (equal sign), it's a first level heading, used for titles and tagged with h1 HTML tags. If it's - (hyphen), it's a second level heading, and if it's ~ (tilde), a third level one. This document shows the three heading levels. It's suggested that the first level heading is used only once, as it's magically taken as the title for the HTML page, if one is not overriden as a command line argument.

Text effects

If some text is surrounded by asterisks, as this one, it's marked as bold (you probably wrote text this way in email to emphasize something). As well, text surrounded by the _ symbol (underscore), as this one, is marked as italic. Bold can also be marked up surrounding the text with three apostrophes (this way) and italics with two (this way). If you ever used a WikiWikiWeb system you'll be familiar with these ones.

Other special text is automatically recognized, as URLs (so that the URL http://triptico.com should be clickable). Text beginning with ./ is interpreted as relative URLs, so index.html should also be clickable.

Grutatxt can also be useful when documenting source code, as function names like printf() or variables like $username are also highlighted. There are command line arguments to make the parenthesis and / or leading dollar to disappear from the output document. Other than the function names and variables, inline literal texts can be marked up surrounding the text with a backtick and apostrophe (like this).

URLs are simply substituted as shown above; if an URL is followed by a phrase surrounded by parentheses (just like you naturally would do to explain the contents of a web), this phrase is used as the link text, as in this example pointing to the Grutatxt Home Page.


Grutatxt is powerful rendering lists. There are three types of lists: unnumbered ones (bulleted), numbered ones and definition lists. They are recognized as lines starting with a blank (space or tab) immediately followed by an special character.

  • Unnumbered lists start with some blanks, followed by an asterisk, followed by another blank. If the following lines are space indented, they are assumed as part of the same list element. The asterisk can also be a - (hyphen).
  • Lists can have multiple levels. To add another level,
    • Just indent a bit deeper,
      • and have hours of fun
        • nesting.
  • Numbered lists are marked up almost the same, just by substuting the asterisk by a # (sharp) or 1 (number one).
  • Definition lists are marked up almost the same, but delimiting the definition term from the definition itself by a colon.

List examples

Unnumbered list:

  • First element. Elements at the same level must be indented by the same number of spaces.
  • The second one.
    • The second element has one sub-element.
    • And another...
      • that, itself, has another one
  • The third one...
    • Has another extremely long sub-element to show that long ones are rendered correctly. Please note that the elements of a list cannot be separated by blank lines or they will be interpreted as different lists.
  • The 4th and final one...
    • And its final child.

Ordered list:

  1. First element.
  2. The second one.
    1. The second element has one sub-element.
    2. And another...
      1. that, itself, has another one
  3. The third one...
    1. Has another extremely long sub-element to show that long ones are rendered correctly. Please note that the elements of a list cannot be separated by blank lines or they will be interpreted as different lists.
    2. And another sub-element, to show this is not a cut & paste from the unsorted example.
  4. The 4th and final one. Note also that ordered and unsorted lists cannot be combined.

Definition list:

the first element
the second element
the third element

Preformatted text

A text that should be rendered as is should be written with at least a blank in the beginning of all lines. This can be an example:

 int main(int argc, char *argv[])
	/* an example of useless C code */
	return 0;

If you ever wrote any Perl POD documentation, you'll be familiar with this.

If you write preformatted text and its first line collisions with list definitions (i.e. text with lines beginning with blanks and an asterisk or sharp) just insert a line containing only spaces before it.


If you want to quote a (possibly long) paragraph of text, use a blank followed by a " (double quote) in its first line, as in the following example:

"BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think what we think. That which
distinguishes the man who is content to be something from the man who wishes to do something. A man of great wealth, or one who has been pitchforked into high station, has commonly such a headful of brain that his neighbors cannot keep their hats on. In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, brain is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of
 office." -- Ambrose Bierce

The leading double quote remains as part of the cited paragraph.


If you need to insert HTML as is (for rendering, say, images or complicated layouts), you can also do it. Anything between two < symbols and two > symbols will be passed without any further processing. So, to insert an image, just do this:

The Mask Cover

Passthrough code can also be inline as in this example.

Any other HTML outside this boundaries is escaped.


But where Grutatxt is really awesome is rendering tables. They are created using the + (plus) sign for corners, the - (hyphen) for horizontal lines and the | (pipe) for vertical lines. So this is a table:

Band Name Album Name Number of Songs
Dead Can Dance A Passage in Time 16
Bel Canto White-Out Conditions 10
Depeche Mode Speak and Spell 16
Love Spirals Downwards Temporal 13

As you can see, cells with long text inside can span several lines of physical text, provided that you delimit table rows with a new line containing only + and - symbols.

A column can also span several ones, just by marking the intersections with | (pipe) instead of + (plus). Look in this example how it's done:

Head 1 Head 2 Head 3 Head 4
Cell 1-1 Cell spanning two Cell 1-3
Cell 2-1 Cell 2-2 Cell 2-3 Cell 2-4
Cell 3-1 Cell spanning three

It's not possible to span rows by now.


A separator line (horizontal ruler) can be inserted by typing four or more hyphens alone in a line. To avoid being confused with a second level heading, insert a blank line just before. To the end of this document there should be a separator, above my signature.

Table of contents

Since version 2.0.16, Grutatxt allow the insertion of a table of contents if the output is HTML. The table of contents can be inserted by including a <?> mark alone in a line of the text.

Angel Ortega <angel@triptico.com>