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Re: How to add new type of block to a derived back-end?

From: Salomon Turgman
Subject: Re: How to add new type of block to a derived back-end?
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2020 13:14:26 -0400

Thank you very much. I will explore what you suggest. I'm glad I emailed, seems like I was going down the wrong path.


On Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 1:10 PM Berry, Charles <address@hidden> wrote:
Salomon, see inline comments below.



> On Apr 10, 2020, at 7:56 AM, Salomon Turgman <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hello all,
> Thanks in advance for any hints you can provide for this. I am trying to create a derived back-end that handles a new type of block in org-mode. I am trying to derive using the html export backend as a parent.
> Currently I am solving my problem like this:
> #+CAPTION[Manual control]: Simulation 1: Manual control of the tank level.
> <div class="caption">Simulation 1: Manual control of the tank level.</div>
> <div class="simulation">
> <div id="main1">
> <noscript>
> Some other cool stuff here.
> </noscript>
> </div>
> </div>
> <script>var app = Main1.init({node: document.getElementById("main1")});</script>
> This has a few downsides:
> 1. I have to specify the caption twice since export translator does not handle captions.
> 2. I have to include substantial amounts of html.
> 3. I have keep track of references to simulations manually (simulation 1, simulation 2, etc)
> 4. I have to include the identifier `main1` or `Main1` in several locations in the snippet.
> I could solve some of this with an automated snippet insertion tool but I thought that maybe I can get the export back-end to do most of the work for me.
> So I am trying to derive as follows (in pseudo-elisp-code):
> (require 'ox)
> (require 'ox-html)
> (org-export-define-derived-backend 'textbook 'html
>   :menu-entry
>   '(?I "Export textbook section"
>        ((?b "To buffer" org-html-export-as-html)
>               (?I "To file" org-html-export-to-html)
>               (?o "As HTML file and open"
>             (lambda (a s v b)
>               (if a (org-html-export-to-html t s v b)
>                       (org-open-file (org-html-export-to-html nil s v b)))))))
>   :translate-alist '((simulation . org-textbook-simulation)))

>From the `org-export-define-backend' docstring:

"TRANSCODERS is an alist between object or element types and
functions handling them."

But `simulation' is not such a type. So, this will not work.

> (defun org-textbook-simulation (element contents info)
>   (let* ((simnum (extract simnum value))
>               (caption (org-export-get-caption element))
>          (divid (extrac divid value))
>               (modid (convert divid into modid))
>          )
>     (format "<div class=\"caption\">Simulation %simnum%: %Caption%.</div>
>   <div class=\"simulation\">
>     <div id=\"%divid%\">
>     </div>
>   </div>
> <script>var app = %modid%.init({node: document.getElementById(\"%divid%\")});</script>"
>    simnum caption divid modid divid)))
> With the hope that I can do something like this in my .org file:
> #+CAPTION[Manual control]: Simulation 1: Manual control of the tank level.
> Some other cool stuff here

I think an easier approach is to write a babel src-block that formats the inputs you need and creates a value that is your desired output.

Use `:var' header arguments to define the inputs.

Use `:wrap html' to prevent the exporter from changing the output.

Subsequent calls can use the `#+CALL' idiom.

You can use any scripting language that suits you - elisp, python, shell, R, ... --- for this purpose.

If you are skilled in emacs-lisp you might write an `eval' macro instead of a src block.

> Am I on the right track here? Can someone point me to an example on how to:
> 1. Keep track of the number of simulations for referencing?

Using the babel approach, you would need a `:session' with a persistent variable that would hold the count. You would need to initialize it in your document so that subsequent exports will start counting at zero.

> 2. Extract the caption properly? The above is just my guess.

IIRC, the info channel is not populated when babel runs, so you will need to parse the src-block and extract the `:caption' element. I think you can use a `:var cap=(find-caption)' idiom, where `find-caption' is a function you write using `org-element-context' as a starting point.

Or if the only need you have for the caption is within that src block just use `:var cap="<your caption here>".

> 3. Extract the divid value (main1)

:var divid="main1"

> 4. And finally, how to get org to recognize the new SIMULATION block so that it can apply `org-textbook-simulation`? Do I need to register this type of block somewhere? Or is the name of the first member of the :translate-alist translation pair have some special meaning?

Don't go in that direction. Use babel or write an eval macro.


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