MkDocs semiliterate Plugin

This plugin for MkDocs is an extension of Allison Thackston’s excellent mkdocs-simple-plugin. It allows you to include content from one file into another (via {! ... !} syntax), using exactly the same extraction specification that the simple plugin already uses for identifying documentation in source files. The current version of mkdocs-semiliterate is 0.3.0.


Time and trends have not validated Knuth’s original vision of “literate programming” as a mainstream practice. Nevertheless, there remain significant advantages to incorporating all documentation, including user-guide-style narrative, into the source code for a project. These advantages include ease of maintenance and synchronization of code and documentation, and opportunities to make the ensemble of your code and documentation more DRY. Thus, it’s worth using a “semiliterate” programming style, in which

  • code is arranged as dictated by best software engineering practices
  • documentation is co-located in the same files next to the implementing code
  • and tools are provided for extracting and assembling that documentation into readable form.

The simple plugin goes a long way toward creating a semiliterate programming environment. However, in creating narrative documentation, it’s very useful to be able to quote or incorporate content — whether that be documentation blocks or code examples or code that itself serves as documentation to avoid repeating information — from one file into another. To satisfy that need, this semiliterate plugin extends (i.e, literally inherits from) the simple plugin and adds a syntax for such inclusion.

With a few other small ease-of-use tweaks (documented in the Usage section), this extended plugin aims to produce a lightweight but comprehensive semiliterate programming environment. This documentation site is, of course, produced by MkDocs using the semiliterate plugin.


The mkdocs-semiliterate package which provides the semiliterate plugin for MkDocs is available via PyPI:

python3 -m pip install mkdocs-semiliterate

or of course if your pip is already set up to use a Python 3.5 (or later) installation, just

pip install mkdocs-semiliterate


This software is licensed under Apache 2.0.