redLaTeX is quite simply amazing. Ever since I was introduced to it ive been passionate in my LaTeX use and this lead to me being very intrigued in the various text formatting syntaxes that are used, especially by wikis to generate HTML.

Textile formatting for some tacit reason has been my favorite for some time. (Several wikis and online publishing systems use varying methods of text formatting … if you are not familiar with using text formatting to generate html, have a play with the online textile tool).

Textile also seems to be the preferred text formatting syntax in the Ruby world. The beautiful module for Ruby – RedCloth perhaps is a large reason for the popularity of Textile. RedCloth is simply a Ruby library for converting Textile into HTML.

Not so long ago RedCloth 4.0 was released!

You can read all about the enhancements and added functionality in the changelog, what has me excited is that this is the first major release for sometime. Let me clarify that. Rubyforge shows the 4.0.0 update released with a timestamp 2008-07-21 16:38. The previous version 3.0.4 has a timestamp of 2005-09-15 13:23. That’s approximately three years!

This means that over the last three years, several Ruby applications have been using RedCloth with minimal changes to the RedCloth module. How fantastic! Yes my fellow codes, that is indeed pretty fantastic.

RedCloth is available as a RubyGem so you can simply run

sudo gem install RedCloth

Note that the above syntax requires RedCloth to be typed in CamelCase, not lowercase.

Or if you are not using RubyGems then you can download the tarball and install it as such:

ruby install.rb config
ruby install.rb setup
sudo ruby install.rb install

You could also compile from source although I have not attempted this myself you are able to from the git repository.

git clone git://github.com/jgarber/redcloth.git
cd redcloth
rake install

Looking at the changelog three things stoodout for me:
Markdown support has been removed.
x40 times faster than the previous version.
But what I am most excited about is the line ‘Rudimentary support for LaTeX is built in’. This just keeps getting better!

Really there is simply nothing better than LaTeX when it comes to separating content from presentation.


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