Pandoc vs. Pandemic

Apr 18, 2021 · 2 min read

While things were shifting away from away from keyboard, I found little pleasures in seeing software tools in production. Most of all I enjoy small scripts1 that take a few lines of readable text and turn it into a website for an online course, into lecture notes, or a slide deck for presentation.

This all bases on Markdown text files and some interpreter and compiler. For the websites the interpreter is hugo, for the lecture nodes it is bookdown, and for the presentation it is pandoc and reveal.js.

The sources are conveniently edited in my favorite editor. With syntax highlighting and code concealing, the basic parts of the markup is partially hidden and already preinterpreted.

Screenshot of an editor with markdown support.

Screenshot of an editor with markdown support.

The final compilation and interpretation is well kept out of sight and can be automated or not on many stages.

Together with other little unix tools2, it took me just one hour to turn my notes on my natural yeast recipes into an e-book and arrange the pdf export such that it could be printed as an 8-page booklet on a single A4 page.

Please checkout the outcomes:

The printed booklet.

The printed booklet.

  1. Similarly exciting and helpful but on a different level are high-end open source tools like OBS for screencasting and streaming or audacity for podcasting. ↩︎

  2. Namely Okular for exporting epub to pdf, pdftk for rotating, cutting, and arranging, and boomaga ↩︎