Donald L. Merand

How I Actually Convert Dokuwiki to LaTeX

I wrote an article a while back about a utility that I wrote to convert DokuWiki files into LaTeX files. I’ve noticed that a lot of the web traffic that I get is about this topic, so I thought I’d write a followup post to describe my new improved dokuwiki conversion method.

The disadvantage of my old utility is mainly that it is incomplete - it doesn’t catch all of the syntax that DokuWiki supports. This is partly because I wrote it as an exercise in writing Awk/Sed code (regular expressions - so hot right now), and partly because at the time that I wrote it I didn’t need any fancy features like tables, etc. The other disadvantage of that code is that in only converts to LaTeX.

I used to write my personal notes in DokuWiki format using Notational Velocity. But then I learned about Markdown and became enamored of that syntax, so now I write my notes in Markdown instead. The reason I bring this up is that my needs shifted once I started using Markdown, and I wanted a more general-purpose way to convert my Markdown notes into LaTeX, but also HTML, Textile, whatever the situation calls for. Enter Pandoc.

Let me take a moment to talk about how awesome Pandoc is. I don’t know what you’re doing right now, but if you use Markdown, you need to have Pandoc installed. It will convert all of the formats, to and from each other. Markdown to LaTeX? No problem. Textile to HTML? HTML to epub? Whatever. It is amazing. Except it doesn’t support DokuWiki.

However, knowing what I now know about Pandoc, I realized that all I really need is to be able to convert DokuWiki to HTML, and I could then feed that structured HTML into Pandoc to convert DokuWiki syntax into any other format, including, yes, LaTeX. Fortunately for me, DokuWiki does all of the hard work, since converting DokuWiki syntax into HTML is, you know, precisely what the whole thing is designed to do. So what I needed is merely a way to access DokuWiki’s syntax conversion from the command line. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Install Pandoc following whichever instructions suit your fancy on John McFarlane’s site.
  2. Install an empty copy of DokuWiki that you will use merely as a syntax converter.
  3. Download the DokuWiki CLI Utility, which I have handily found for you.
  4. Download my script, called doku2html. This script (you’ll notice from looking at the line that says phpcli=~/.bin/lib/dokuwiki/bin/dokucli.php) assumes that you’ve installed your DokuWiki installation into ~/.bin/lib/dokuwiki/ and the dokucli.php file into the /bin/ folder of your DokuWiki installation.
  5. Put that script into your $PATH, and you’ll be able to say doku2html FILE, or even just run doku2html on Standard Input, and get HTML as the output.

I wrote another script called doku2md, which illustrates how you might convert DokuWiki to Markdown using a system script. Modifying this script for LaTeX is pretty trivial.

In practice, I usually use a command like doku2html FILE | pandoc -f html -s -t latex to create a LaTeX document from a DokuWiki file. Then if I want to get really fancy and make a PDF straight from my LaTeX file I will pipe that over to my pdl (PDFLaTex) utility which expects a LaTeX file or pipe, and passes it to xelatex and makes a PDF, and then opens it up in Preview (on OSX).

So easy, right? Well, it’s easier than converting by hand.