Plugin: compile
Author: Louis
Included in ikiwiki: no
Enabled by default: no
Included in goodstuff: no
Currently enabled: no


The compile plugin provides the compile directive, used to on-the-fly compile and publish documents.

For instance, if you want to publish files together with their sources (like .tex and .pdf files), you can have the .tex file in your source wiki directory, and command [[!compile files="foo.tex"]] (or wikilink [[foo.tex]], if the right option is set) will compile file and render as a link to the .pdf file.


Some important security notice.

  • This plugins allows user to execute arbitrary commands when compiling the wiki. Use at your own risk. If you use Ikiwiki as a static web site compiler (and not a wiki), and you are the only one to compile the wiki, there is no risk. If you do allow untrusted users to edit or comment on the wiki, they can use the compile directives to execute completely arbitrary code, regardless of configuration safeguards you may put.

  • Source files are published, wheter option source is true or not. If source is false, source may not be advertised, but it is still available somewhere on your website (most likely by replacing in the compiled file URL the extension of the compiled file by the extension of the source file). So, do not use this plugin if you do not want to publish your source files (sorry: I designed this plugin to publish free stuff).

The plugin could be modified to only allow commands to be modified from the configuration and it would be safer to use. However, it would still be vulnerable to command injection attacks because it uses qx() command expansion, which runs commands through /bin/sh -c. A thorough security review would be in order before this should be considered secure running on untrusted input.

A simpler implementation, that only runs a predefined set of commands, may be simpler to implement than auditing this whole plugin. For example, the bibtex2html module performs a similar task than the compile module, but hardcodes the command used and doesn't call it with /bin/sh -c. It could be expanded to cover more commands. See this discussion for a followup on this idea.


I want to publish some latex files, both source (.tex) and compiled (.pdf) version, but I do not want to maintain two versions of the same file.

Using this plugin, I only have to maintain the .tex files, and thoses files are compiled on the fly, so that the pdf is published.

String formatting

Strings (destination name, template name and build command) accept python-like syntax %{name}s, which is replaced by the value of variable name. The following variables are abailable.

  • srcname: Source name.
  • srcextension: Extension of the source name.
  • filetype: File type (extension of the source name, otherwise specified by directive).
  • dirname: Directory of the source file.
  • wikiname: Name of source file, relative to source wiki directory.
  • srcfullname: Name of source file, relative to file system root.
  • basename: Source name, without directory nor extension.
  • destname: Destination name (without directory).
  • destextension: Extension of the destination name.
  • targetname: Destination name, relative to the destination directory.
  • destfullname: Destination name, relative to file system root.



Basic usage of this plugin is:

[[!compile  files="foo.ext"]]

It renders file foo.ext according to rules defined in the setup file, and publish the compiled version.


All the arguments (but source and filetype) are string which are processed using python-like string formatting, and described in the setup options section.

  • files: List of files used in compilation, as space separated string. For instance, to compile some tex file including a png image, you will have: files="foo.tex image.png". It is not possible to have filenames containing spaces (unless you provide me a patch to recognize escaped spaces).
  • filetype: By default, the source file extension is used to determine build command and other configuration. If the same extension refer to different type of files, you can enforce the filetype using this argument. For instance, if some your LaTeX files have to be compiled with pdflatex, while the other require latex, your compile_filetypes can contains two keys tex and texdvi. By default, LaTeX files will be compiled using configuration associated to tex, unless directive has argument filetype=texdvi, in which case the latter configuration is used.
  • destname: Name of the compiled file name.
  • build: Build command.
  • source: Boolean to choose whether to publish source file or not. The only effect is the template choice: source is always published (but not always advertised).
  • template: Name of the template to use (if set, the source option is irrelevant).
  • var_*: Any argument with a name starting with var_ is transmitted to the command and template. For instance, if directive has argument var_foo=bar, then string %{foo}s in the command will be replaced by bar, and the template will have a variable named foo, and <TMPL_VAR FOO> will be replaced by bar.


Note: This directive does not work if source file name does not have an extension (i.e. does not contain a dot). This should not be too hard to implement, but I do not need it. Patches welcome.


Here are the setup options (most of them can be overloaded on a per-extension basis by setup option compile_filetypes, or by directive arguments):

  • compile_source (boolean): should sources be published with compiled file (this only affect template choice; see warning)? Default is true.
  • compile_template_source (string): name of the template to use for compiled files when option source is true. Default is compile_source.tmpl.
  • compile_template_nosource (string): name of the template to use for compiled files when option source is false. Default is compile_nosource.tmpl.
  • compile_filetypes (string): Per extension configuration (see paragraph below).
  • compile_tmpdir (string): Path of a directory to use to compile files: source file (and dependency) are copied to this directory before being compiled (to avoid messing the ikiwiki directory with compiled version or auxiliary files). Default is SOURCE_WIKI/.ikwiki/tmp/compile.
  • compile_bindir (string): Directory containing binaries to use to compile files. Default is undefined.
  • compile_depends (string): List of files all compiled files will depend on (see Compilation section below).
  • compile_build (string): Command to use to compile files. Default is undefined.
  • compile_inline (boolean): If true, wikilinks pointing to files with an extension specified in compile_filetypes are treated as a directive [[!compile files="LINK"]]. For instance, if this is set globally (or just for tex), a wikilink [[foo.tex]] will compile file foo.tex, and publish the compiled foo.pdf file.

The compile_filetypes option

This variable is a json string, representing a dictionary. Keys are source file extensions, values are dictionary of options applying only to files with this extension.

Keys of these new directory are source, template_nosource, template_source, build, depends, inline, and overrides generic options defined above. They are themselves overriden by directive arguments (excepted inline).


compile_filetypes => '{
  "tex": {
    "build": "pdflatex %{basename}s",
    "destname": "%{basename}s.pdf",
    "depends": ["logo.png"],
    "inline": "1"
  "texdvi": {
    "build": "latex %{basename}s",
    "destname": "%{basename}s.pdf",
    "depends": ["logo.eps"]



Before compilation, the source file and all dependencies are copied to the temporary directory defined by option compile_tmpdir. For instance, if all you LaTeX files are compiled using a custom class foo.sty, and a particular file bar.tex uses the logo.png file, your setup option will contain foo.sty as depends, and compile directive will be called using [[!compile files="bar.tex logo.png"]]. Then, before compilation, files foo.sty, bar.tex and logo.png will be copied in the same temporary directory.

Note that path are flattened when copied: before performing compilation of directive [[!compile files="sub1/foo sub2/bar"]], files foo and bar will be copied in the same directory: this temporary directory will contain failes foo and bar, but not sub1/foo and sub2/bar.

Build command

The build command used is (if defined, by priority order):

  • defined by argument build of directive;
  • setup command compile_filetypes{TYPE}{build};
  • setup command compile_build (if you have a generic build command);
  • command $config{compile_bindir}/${extension}s %{srcname}s (if setup variable compile_bindiris defined, is a directory, and contains an executable file matching the extension, it will be used);
  • command make -f $config{compile_bindir}/make.${extension}s %{destname}s (if setup variable compile_bindir is defined, is a directory, and contains a readable makefile make.EXTENSION, it will be used).


The way links are rendered is defined in a template, which is (by order of priority, some of them depends on whether source is true):

  • argument template of directive;
  • setup variable compile_filetypes{TYPE}{template_source} or compile_filetypes{TYPE}{template_nosource};
  • setup variable compile_source or compile_nosource;
  • compile_source.mdwn or compile_nosource.mdwn.

It is passed the following variables:

  • DESTURL: URL to the compiled file.
  • DESTNAME: Name of the compiled file.
  • SRCURL: URL to the source file.
  • SRCNAME: Name of the source file (without directory).
  • ORIGNAME: Name of the source file (with directory).

Note that templates can be used to display images (instead of a link to them). For instance, if you have a .tiff file you want to convert to png before displaying it on your website, you can use as a template:

<img src="<TMPL_VAR DESTURL>">


Code and documentation can be found here :