Tag Archives: nb2wp

Better Blogging with Jupyter Notebooks on WordPress.com

When I discovered Jupyter notebooks a few years ago I instantly recognized their potential as a technical blogging tool. Jupyter notebooks support mixtures of text, mathematics, program code, and graphics in a completely interactive environment. It’s easy to convert notebook JSON .ipynb files to markdown, \LaTeX, and HTML so it’s not a big leap to use Jupyter as a super-editor for blog posts with heavy doses of code, mathematics, and graphics.

I converted a few simple notebooks into HTML and tried loading them to my WordPress.com blog; the results did not amuse me! Raw notebook HTML is not suitable for WordPress.com.

WordPress.com imposes some serious constraints on low cost and free blogs. You cannot:

  1. Use arbitrary JavaScript.
  2. Import standalone CSS styles.
  3. Use non-standard plugins.

By setting up your own WordPress.org site or upgrading your WordPress.com account you can shed these limitations. I’ve considered both options but there’s just something about software vendors teasing users with basic features while nagging them to spend more on upgrades that gets my goat. I’m used to such abuse from the likes of Adobe and would advise WordPress.com to dial back upgrade nagging.

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to upgrade your WordPress.com account to make excellent use of Jupyter notebooks. With a few simple notebook file hacks, you can compose in Jupyter and post to WordPress.com

Hack #1: nb2wp

Benny Prijono has created a handy Python program nb2wp that converts Jupyter notebooks to WordPress.com oriented HTML. nb2wp uses BeautifulSoup, (a great software name if there ever was one), and the Python utility pynliner to convert the HTML generated by the Jupyter nbconvert utility to a WordPress.com oriented form.

nb2wp HTML can be pasted, (read Benny’s instructions), into the WordPress.com block editor. My post Using jodliterate was composed in this way.

nb2wp notebook HTML is treated as a single WordPress.com block editor block. This makes it hard to use the block editor which brings me to the next hack.

Hack #2: nb2subnb

Notebooks are stored as simple JSON files. It’s easy to split notebooks into n smaller notebooks. The following Python program, (available here), cuts notebook files into smaller sub-notebooks.

In [1]:
def nb2subnb(filename, *, cell_type='markdown', 
             single_nb=False, keep_cells=[], keep_texts=[]):
    (nb2subnb) splits out typed cells of jupyter 
    notebooks into n sub-notebooks.


       # split into n markdown cell notebooks

       # split into n code cell notebooks

       # all markdown cells in single notebook

       # code cells with numbers in range as single notebook
           cell_type='code', single_nb='True', 

       # markdown cells with strings 'Bhagavad' or 'github' 

       # all code cells in range with string 'pacman' 
           keep_texts=['pacman'], keep_cells=list(range(30)))

    with open(filename) as in_file:
        nb_data = json.load(in_file)

    # notebook file name without extension/path
    nbname = os.path.basename(os.path.splitext(filename)[0])

    nb_cells, one_cell, nb_files = dict(), list(), list()

    for cnt, cell in enumerate(nb_data['cells']):
        if nb_data['cells'][cnt]['cell_type'] == cell_type:

            if not single_nb:
                # single cell notebooks
                nb_cells, one_cell = dict(), list()
                if 0 == len(keep_cells) or cnt in keep_cells:
                    if text_in_source(cell, keep_texts):
                        nb_cells["cells"] = one_cell
                        nb_cells = insert_nb_metadata(
                            nb_data, nb_cells)
                        nb_out_file = NB_DIRECTORY + \
                            nbname + '-' + cell_type + \
                            '-' + str(cnt) + '.ipynb'
                        with open(nb_out_file, 'w') as out_file:
                            json.dump(nb_cells, out_file,
            elif single_nb:
                # single notebook with only (cell_type) cells
                if 0 == len(keep_cells) or cnt in keep_cells:
                    if text_in_source(cell, keep_texts):
                        nb_cells["cells"] = one_cell

    if single_nb:
        nb_out_file = NB_DIRECTORY + \
            nbname + '-' + cell_type + '-only.ipynb'
        nb_cells = insert_nb_metadata(nb_data, nb_cells)
        with open(nb_out_file, 'w') as out_file:
            json.dump(nb_cells, out_file, 

    # list of generated sub-notebooks
    return nb_files

nb2wp can be applied to the sub-notebooks to produce smaller, more block editor friendly, HTML files. Blog posts can be put together by picking and pasting the smaller blocks.

Combining nb2wp and nb2subnb

nb2wpblk combines the actions of nb2wp and nb2subnb to generate n HTML files.

In [2]:
# append nb2* script directory to system path
import sys
In [3]:
# notebook file
nb_file = r'C:\temp\nb2wp\UsingJodliterate.ipynb'
In [4]:
nb2subnb_opts = {
    'single_nb': False,
    'cell_type': 'code',
    'keep_cells': [2, 8, 21],
    'keep_texts': []
In [5]:
import nb2wput as nbu

# split notebook into selected parts and convert to HTML 
nbu.nb2wpblk(nb_file, nb2subnb_parms=nb2subnb_opts)
Using template: full
Using CSS files ['C:\\temp\\nb2wp\\style.css']
Saving CSS to C:\temp\nb2wp\tmp\style.css
C:\temp\nb2wp\tmp\UsingJodliterate-code-2.html: 7054 bytes written in 4.488s
Using template: full
Using CSS files ['C:\\temp\\nb2wp\\style.css']
Saving CSS to C:\temp\nb2wp\tmp\style.css
C:\temp\nb2wp\tmp\UsingJodliterate-code-8.html: 4715 bytes written in 4.177s
Using template: full
Using CSS files ['C:\\temp\\nb2wp\\style.css']
Saving CSS to C:\temp\nb2wp\tmp\style.css
C:\temp\nb2wp\tmp\UsingJodliterate-code-21.html: 8683 bytes written in 5.437s

The utilities referenced in this post are available on Github here. Help yourself and blog better!

Using jodliterate

The JODSOURCE addon, (a part of the JOD system), contains a handy literate programming tool that enables the generation of beautiful J source code documents.

The Bible, Koran, and Bhagavad Gita of Literate Programming is Donald Knuth’s masterful tome of the same name.

Knuth applied Literate Programming to his \TeX systems and produced what many consider enduring masterpieces of program documentation.

jodliterate is certainly not worthy of \TeX level accolades but with a little work it’s possible to produce fine documents. This J kernel notebook outlines how you can install and use jodliterate. Jupyter notebooks are typically executed but to accommodate J users that do hot have Jupyter this notebook is also available on GitHub as a static PDF document.

Notebook Preliminaries

In [1]:
NB. show J kernel version
9!:14 ''
In [2]:
NB. load JOD in a clear base locale
load 'general/jod' [ clear ''

NB. The distributed JOD profile automatically RESETME's.
NB. To safely use dictionaries with many J tasks they must
NB. be READONLY. To prevent opening the same put dictionary
NB. READWRITE comment out (dpset) and restart this notebook.
dpset 'RESETME'

NB. Converting Jupyter notebooks to LaTeX is 
NB. simplified by ASCII box characters.
portchars ''

NB. Verb to show large boxed displays in
NB. the notebook without ugly wrapping.
sbx_ijod_=: ' ... ' ,"1~ 75&{."1@":

Installing jodliterate

To use jodliterate you need to:

  1. Install a current version of J.
  2. Install the J addons JOD, JODSOURCE, and JODDOCUMENT.
  3. Build the JOD development dictionaries from JODSOURCE.
  4. Install a current version of pandoc.
  5. Install a current version of \TeX and \LaTeX.
  6. Make the jodliterate J script.
  7. Run jodliterate on a JOD group with pandoc compatible document fragments.
  8. Compile the files of the previous step to produce a PDF

When presented with long lists of program prerequisites my impulse is to run! Life is too short for configuration wars. Everything should be easy. Installing jodliterate requires more work than phone apps but compared to enterprise installations setting up jodliterate is trivial. We’ll go through it step by step.

Step 1: Install a current version of J

J is freely available at jsoftware.com. J installation instructions can be found on the J Wiki on this page.

Follow the appropriate instructions for your OS.

Note: JOD runs on Windows, Linux, and MacOS versions of J, hence these are the only platforms that currently support jodliterate.

Step 2: Install the J addons JOD, JODSOURCE and JODDOCUMENT

After installing J install the J addons. J addons are installed with the J package manager pacman. Pacman has three IDE flavors: a command-line flavor and two GUI flavors. The GUI flavors depend on JQT or JHS. The GUI flavors of pacman are only available on some versions of J whereas the command line version is part of the base J install and is available on all platforms.

I install all the addons. I recommend that you do the same.

JOD depends on some J modules like jfiles, regex, and task that are sometimes distributed as addons. If you install all addons JOD’s modules and dependents are both installed.

Installing addons with command line pacman

Start J and do:

In [3]:
NB. install J addons with command-line pacman

load 'pacman'    NB. load pacman jpkg services
In [4]:
'help' jpkg ''   NB. what can you do for me?
Valid options are:
 history, install, manifest, remove, reinstall, search,
 show, showinstalled, shownotinstalled, showupgrade,
 status, update, upgrade


In [5]:
NB. install all addons
NB. see https://code.jsoftware.com/wiki/Pacman

NB. uncomment next line if addons not installed
NB. 'install' jpkg '*'  NB.
In [6]:
3 {. 'showinstalled' jpkg '' NB. first few installed addons
|api/expat|1.0.11|1.0.11|libexpat                     |
|api/gles |1.0.31|1.0.31|Modern OpenGL API            |
|api/java |1.0.2 |1.0.2 |api: Java to J shared library|
In [7]:
'showupgrade' jpkg ''  NB. list addon updates

Installing addons with JQT GUI pacman

I mostly use the Windows JQT version of pacman to install and maintain J addons. You can find pacman on the tools menu.

pacman shows all available addons and provides tools for installing, updating, and removing them.

The GUI version is easy to use. Press the Select All button and then press the Install button to install all the addons. To update addons select the Upgrades menu and select the addons you want to update.

Step 3: Build the JOD development dictionaries from JODSOURCE

JOD source code is distributed in the form of JOD dictionary dumps. Dictionary dumps are large J scripts that serialize JOD dictionaries. Dumps contain everything stored in dictionaries. You will find source code, binary data, test scripts, documentation, build macros, and more in typical JOD dictionaries.

jodliterate is stored as a JOD dictionary group. A dictionary group is simply a collection of J words with optional header and post-processor scripts. JOD generates J scripts from groups. Before we can make jodliterate we must load the JOD development dictionaries. The JODSOURCE addon includes a J script that loads development dictionaries.

Again, start J and do:

In [8]:
require 'general/jod'
In [9]:
NB. set a JODroot user folder 
NB. if not set /jod/ is the default

NB. use paths for your OS
UserFolders_j_=: UserFolders_j_ , 'JODroot';'c:/temp'

NB. show added folder
UserFolders_j_ {~ (0 {"1 UserFolders_j_) i. <'JODroot'
In [10]:
NB. load JOD developement dictionaries
load_dev_tmp=: 3 : 0
if. +./ (;:'joddev jod utils') e. od '' do.
  'dev dictionaries exist'

load_dev_tmp 0
dev dictionaries exist
In [11]:
NB. joddev, jod, utils should exist

erase 'load_dev_tmp'
(;:'joddev jod utils') e. od ''
1 1 1

Step 4: Install a current version of pandoc

pandoc is easily one of the most useful markup utilities on the intertubes. If you routinely deal with markup formats like markdown, XML, \LaTeX, json and you aren’t using pandoc you are working too hard.

Be lazy! Install pandoc.

jodliterate uses the task addon to shell out to pandoc. Versions of pandoc after support J syntax high-lighting.

In [12]:
NB. show pandoc version from J - make sure you are running 
NB. a recent version of pandoc. There may be different
NB. versions in many locations on various systems.

ppath=: '"C:\Program Files\Pandoc\pandoc"'
THISPANDOC_ajodliterate_=: ppath
shell THISPANDOC_ajodliterate_,' --version'
Compiled with pandoc-types 1.20, texmath 0.12, skylighting 0.8.3
Default user data directory: C:\Users\john\AppData\Roaming\pandoc
Copyright (C) 2006-2019 John MacFarlane
Web:  https://pandoc.org
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.
There is no warranty, not even for merchantability or fitness
for a particular purpose.

In [13]:
NB. make sure your version of pandoc 
NB. supports J syntax-highlighting

NB. appends line feed character if necessary
tlf=:] , ((10{a.)"_ = {:) }. (10{a.)"_

NB. J is on the supported languages list
pcmd=: THISPANDOC_ajodliterate_,' --list-highlight-languages'
(<;._2 tlf (shell pcmd) -. CR) e.~ <,'j'

Step 5: Install a current version of LaTeX

jodliterate uses \LaTeX to compile PDF documents. When setjodliterate runs it sets an output directory and writes a \LaTeX preamble file JODLiteratePreamble.tex to it. It’s a good idea to review this file to get an idea of the \LaTeX packages jodliterate uses. It’s possible that some of these packages are not in your \LaTeX distribution and will have to be installed.

To ease the burden of \LaTeX package maintenance I use freely available \TeX versions that automatically install missing packages.

  1. On Windows I use MiKTeX
  2. On other platforms I use TeXLive

If your system automatically installs packages the first time you compile jodliterate output it may fetch missing packages from The Comprehensive \TeX Archive Network (CTAN). If new packages are installed reprocess your files a few times to insure all the required packages are downloaded and installed.

Step: 6 Make the jodliterate J script

Once the JOD development dictionaries are built (Step 3) making jodliterate is easy. Start J and do:

In [14]:
require 'general/jod'

NB. open dictionaries
od ;:'joddev jod utils' [ 3 od ''
|1|opened (rw/ro/ro) ->|joddev|jod|utils|
In [15]:
NB. generate jodliterate
sbx mls 'jodliterate'
+-+--------------------+------------------------------------+               ... 
|1|load script saved ->|c:/jod/joddev/script/jodliterate.ijs|               ... 
+-+--------------------+------------------------------------+               ... 

mls creates a standard J load script. Once generated this script can be loaded with the standard J load utility. You can test this by restarting J without JOD and loading jodliterate.

In [16]:
NB. load generated script
load 'jodliterate'
NB. (jodliterate) interface word(s):
NB. --------------------------------
NB. THISPANDOC      NB. full pandoc path - use (pandoc) if on shell path
NB. grplit          NB. make latex for group (y)
NB. ifacesection    NB. interface section summary string
NB. ifc             NB. format interface comment text
NB. setjodliterate  NB. prepare LaTeX processing - sets out directory writes preamble

NOTE: adjust pandoc path if version (pandoc is not >=

Step 7: Run jodliterate on a JOD group with pandoc compatible document fragments

This sounds a lot worse than it is. There is a group in utils called sunmoon that has an interesting pandoc compatible document fragment.

Start J and do:

In [17]:
require 'general/jod'

od 'utils' [ 3 od ''
|1|opened (ro) ->|utils|
In [18]:
NB. display short explanations for (sunmoon) words
sbx hlpnl }. grp 'sunmoon'
+-----------------+-------------------------------------------------------- ... 
|IFACEWORDSsunmoon|interface words (IFACEWORDSsunmoon) group                ... 
|NORISESET        |indicates sun never rises or sets in (sunriseset0) and ( ... 
|ROOTWORDSsunmoon |root words (ROOTWORDSsunmoon) group                      ... 
|arctan           |arc tangent                                              ... 
|calmoons         |calendar dates of new and full moons                     ... 
|cos              |cosine radians                                           ... 
|fromjulian       |converts Julian day numbers to dates, converse (tojulian ... 
|moons            |times of new and full moons for n calendar years         ... 
|round            |round (y) to nearest (x) (e.g. 1000 round 12345)         ... 
|sin              |sine radians                                             ... 
|sunriseset0      |computes sun rise and set times - see group documentatio ... 
|sunriseset1      |computes sun rise and set times - see group documentatio ... 
|tabit            |promotes only atoms and lists to tables                  ... 
|tan              |tan radians                                              ... 
|today            |returns todays date                                      ... 
|yeardates        |returns all valid dates for n calendar years             ... 
+-----------------+-------------------------------------------------------- ... 
In [19]:
NB. display part of the (sunmoon) group document header
NB. this is pandoc compatible markdown - note the LaTeX
NB. commands - pandoc allows markdown/LaTeX mixtures
900 {. 2 9 disp 'sunmoon'
`sunmoon` is a collection of basic astronomical algorithms
The key verbs are `moons`, `sunriseset0` and `sunriseset1.`  
All of these verbs were derived from BASIC programs published
in *Sky & Telescope* magazine in the 1990's. The rest of
the verbs in `sunmoon` are mostly date and trigonometric

\subsection{\texttt{sunmoon} Interface}

~~~~ { .j }
  calmoons      NB. calendar dates of new and full moons                     
  moons         NB. times of new and full moons for n calendar years         
  sunriseset0   NB. computes sun rise and set times - see group documentation
  sunriseset1   NB. computes sun rise and set times - see group documentation

\subsection{\textbf\texttt{sunriseset0} \textsl{v--} sunrise and sunset times}

This  verb has been adapted from a BASIC program submitted by
Robin  G.  Stuart  *Sky & Telescope's*  shortest  sunrise/set
program  cont
In [20]:
NB. run jodliterate on (sunmoon)
require 'jodliterate'

NB. set the output directory - when 
NB. running in Jupyter use a subdirectory
NB. of your notebook directory.

ltxpath=: 'C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit\' 
setjodliterate ltxpath
In [21]:
NB. (grplit) returns a list of generated 
NB. LaTeX and command files. The *.bat 
NB. file compiles the generated LaTeX

,. grplit 'sunmoon'
|1                                                                |
|C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit\sunmoon.tex     |
|C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit\sunmooncode.tex |
|C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit\sunmoon.bat     |

Step 8: Compile the files of the previous step to produce a PDF

In [22]:
_250 {. shell ltxpath,'sunmoon.bat'
gular.otf><c:/program files/miktex 2.9/fonts/ope
Output written on sunmoon.pdf (22 pages, 107711 bytes).
Transcript written on sunmoon.log.

(base) C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit>endlocal

In [23]:
NB. uncomment to display generated PDF 
 NB. shell ltxpath,'sunmoon.pdf'

Storing jodliterate pandoc compatible document fragments in JOD

Effective use of jodliterate requires a melange of Markdown, \LaTeX, JOD, and J skills combined with a healthy attitude about experimentation. You have to try things and see if they work!

However, before you can try jodliterate document fragments you have put them in JOD dictionaries.

jodliterate uses two types of document fragments:

  1. markdown overview group documents.
  2. \LaTeX overview macros.

Markdown group documents are transformed by pandoc into \LaTeX but the overview macros are not altered in any way. This enables the use of arbitrarily complex \LaTeX. The following examples show how to insert document fragments.

Create a jodliterate Demo Dictionary

In [24]:
NB. create a demo dictionary - (didnum) insures new name
require 'general/jod'

NB. new dictionary in default JOD directory
sbx newd itslit_ijod_=: 'aaa',":didnum_ajod_ ''
+-+---------------------+------------------------------------------+------- ... 
|1|dictionary created ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|c:/user ... 
+-+---------------------+------------------------------------------+------- ... 
In [25]:
NB. 1 if new dictionary created
(<itslit) e. od ''
In [26]:
od itslit [ 3 od '' NB. open only new dictionary
|1|opened (rw) ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|
In [27]:
NB. define some words
freq=:~. ; #/.~
movmean=:-@[ (+/ % #)\ ]
geomean=:# %: */
bmi=: 704.5"_ * ] % [: *: [

wlst=: ;:'freq movmean geomean bmi polyprod'

NB. put in dictionary
put wlst

NB. short word explanations
t=: ,:  'freq';'frequency distribution'
t=: t , 'movmean';'moving mean'
t=: t , 'geomean';'geometric mean of a list'
t=: t , 'bmi';'body mass index - (x) inches (y) lbs'
t=: t , 'polyprod';'polynomial product'

0 8 put t
|1|5 word explanation(s) put in ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|
In [28]:
NB. make header and macro groups
grp 'litheader' ; wlst
grp 'litmacro'  ; wlst
|1|group <litmacro> put in ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|
In [29]:
IFACEWORDSlitheader=: wlst
put 'IFACEWORDSlitheader'
|1|1 word(s) put in ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|

Use Group Document Overview Markdown

In [30]:
NB. add group header markdown
litheader=: (0 : 0)
`litheader` is a markdown demo group. 

This markdown text will be 
by `pandoc` to \LaTeX. A group interface will be 
generated from the `IFACEWORDSlitheader`
list. Interface lists are usually, but 
not always, associated with a *class group*.

\subsection{\texttt{litheader} Interface}


NB. store markdown as a JOD group document
2 9 put 'litheader';litheader
|1|1 group document(s) put in ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|
In [31]:
NB. run jodliterate on group
ltxpath=: 'C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit\' 
setjodliterate ltxpath
{: grplit 'litheader'
In [32]:
NB. compile latex
_250 {. shell ltxpath,'litheader.bat'
lar.otf><c:/program files/miktex 2.9/fonts/o
Output written on litheader.pdf (4 pages, 47726 bytes).
Transcript written on litheader.log.

(base) C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit>endlocal

In [33]:
NB. uncomment to show PDF
NB. shell ltxpath,'litheader.pdf'

Use Macro Overview LaTeX

In [34]:
NB. add a LaTeX overview - this code will not 
NB. be altered by jodliterate the suffix
NB. '_oview_tex' is required to associate 
NB. the overview with the group 'litmacro'

litmacro_oview_tex=: (0 : 0)

This \LaTeX\ code will not be 
touched by \texttt{jodliterate}. 

\subsection{Business Babel}

``Truth management is enabled.''

\emph{Excerpt from an actual business document!}
Obviously composed in an irony free zone.

\subsection{Some Complicated \LaTeX}


\frac{1}{\Bigl(\sqrt{\phi \sqrt{5}}-\phi\Bigr) e^{\frac25 \pi}} =
1+\frac{e^{-2\pi}} {1+\frac{e^{-4\pi}} {1+\frac{e^{-6\pi}}
{1+\frac{e^{-8\pi}} {1+\ldots} } } }


NB. store LaTeX as JOD text macro 
4 put 'litmacro_oview_tex';LATEX_ajod_;litmacro_oview_tex
|1|1 macro(s) put in ->|aaa327403631806685638405507439206657280913|
In [35]:
NB. run jodliterate on group
{: grplit 'litmacro'
In [36]:
NB. compile latex
_250 {. shell ltxpath,'litmacro.bat'
e1/public/lm/lmsy6.pfb><C:/Program Files/MiKTeX 2.9/fonts/type1/public/lm/lms
Output written on litmacro.pdf (4 pages, 138976 bytes).
Transcript written on litmacro.log.

(base) C:\Users\john\AnacondaProjects\testfolder\grplit>endlocal

In [37]:
NB. display PDF
NB. shell ltxpath,'litmacro.pdf'

Using jodliterate with larger J systems

The main jodliterate verb grplit works with single JOD groups. Larger systems are typically made from many groups. JOD macro and test scripts are one way to work around this limitation. The JOD development dictionaries contain several macros that illustrate this approach.

In [38]:
od ;:'joddev jod utils' [ 3 od ''

NB. list macros with substring 'latex'
4 2 dnl 'latex'
In [39]:
NB. display start of macro that 
NB. applies jodliterate to JOD code
250 {. 4 disp 'buildjodlatex'
NB.*buildjodlatex s--  generates syntax highlighted JOD source LaTeX.
NB. Files are written to the put dictionary's document directory.
NB. assumes: current versions of pandoc (pandoc or later)
NB.          check noun (THISPANDOC

Final Remarks

jodliterate is an idiosyncratic anal-retentive software utility; it’s mainly for people that consider source code an art form. Nobody likes ugly undocumented art!

If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints please leave a comment on this post. To include others join one of J discussion forums and post your queries there.

May the source be with you!

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