A little Scala project to convert AsciiDoc to clean, simple HTML

Table of Contents1 - A shell script solution2 - A JavaFX GUI3 - Summary

I recently started using AsciiDoc to write a new book. A great thing about it is that unlike Markdown, you can use AsciiDoc to write a book and get all of the features you want in a book, including linking between anything, captions for tables and figures, indexes, etc. Because this got me started using AsciiDoc I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could also use AsciiDoc to write blog posts like this one?”

Sadly, I quickly ran into a problem: I couldn’t find a good way to convert AsciiDoc into HTML, or even Markdown. There are tools to convert AsciiDoc to HTML, but for some reason they take the approach of including a ton of markup in the HTML (divs, spans, and attributes), and as far as I can tell there’s no way to turn off that markup.

How to convert asciidoc to markdown

It turns out that converting AsciiDoc to HTML without including a bunch of undesired CSS is a problem, and converting AsciiDoc to Markdown is also a problem. The page I linked to shows the best way I’ve found to convert AsciiDoc to Markdown, which can then be converted to CSS-free HTML. In case that page ever disappears, the basic commands are:

Install pandoc and asciidoc:

sudo apt install pandoc asciidoc

Convert asciidoc to docbook:

asciidoc -b docbook foo.adoc

Convert docbook to markdown:

How to convert Docbook to AsciiDoc

If you ever need to convert Docbook to AsciiDoc, this Pandoc command seems to work well:

pandoc --wrap=none -f docbook -t asciidoc \
       DocbookFile.xml > AsciiDocFile.adoc
How to convert HTML to AsciiDoc with Pandoc alvin December 23, 2018 - 6:14pm

If you ever need to convert HTML to AsciiDoc, I just used this Pandoc command and it seems to work well:

pandoc --wrap=none -f html -t asciidoc myfile.html > myfile.adoc

The wrapping part of that command isn’t 100% necessary, but if you don’t use it, Pandoc will wrap the plain paragraph text, which I don’t like because I’ll be editing the resulting AsciiDoc text.

Here’s some of the AsciiDoc text that this command generated:

How to convert Asciidoc to HTML

As a brief note to self, if you need to convert an Asciidoc file named test1.adoc to HTML format, this command works:

asciidoc -o test1.html test1.adoc

Of course a key here is that you need the asciidoc command installed. I installed it on my Mac with Homebrew, something like brew install asciidoc. I don’t like the HTML that this approach generates, so I’ll keep looking for something better.