TP-NOTE(1) Version 1.12.14 | Tp-Note documentation


Table of Contents

1. NAME
2. SYNOPSIS
3. DESCRIPTION
4. OPERATION MODES
4.1. New note without clipboard
4.2. New note based on clipboard data
4.3. New note annotating some non-Tp-Note file
4.4. Editing notes
4.5. Automatic filename synchronization before and after editing
5. OPTIONS
6. THE NOTE’S DOCUMENT STRUCTURE
7. METADATA FILENAME SYNCHRONIZATION
8. CUSTOMIZATION
8.1. Template variables
8.2. Template filters
8.3. Content-template conventions
8.4. Filename-template convention
8.5. Register your own text editor
8.6. Change the default markup language
8.7. Customize the built-in note viewer
8.8. Choose your favourite web browser as note viewer
9. SECURITY AND PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS
10. EXIT STATUS
11. RESOURCES
12. COPYING
12.1. Contribution
13. AUTHORS

1. NAME

Tp-Note - save and edit your clipboard content as a note file.

2. SYNOPSIS

tp-note [-b] [-c <FILE>] [-d] [-e] [-p <NUM>]
        [-n] [-v] [-V] [-x <DIR>|''|'-'] [<DIR>|<FILE>]

3. DESCRIPTION

Tp-Note is a note-taking-tool and a template system, that consistently synchronizes the note’s meta-data with its filename. Tp-Note collects various information about its environment and the clipboard and stores them in variables. New notes are created by filling these variables in predefined and customizable Tera-templates. In case <path> points to an existing Tp-Note-file, the note’s meta-data is analysed and, if necessary, its filename is modified. For all other file types, Tp-Note creates a new note that annotates the file <path> points to. If <path> is a directory (or, when omitted the current working directory), a new note is created in that directory. After creation, Tp-Note launches an external text editor of your choice. At the same time the system’s default web browser is started and connected to Tp-Note’s internal web server. This server watches and renders the edited note file and generates a live preview.

After the user finished editing, Tp-Note analyses eventual changes in the notes meta-data and renames, if necessary, the file, so that its meta-data and filename are in sync again. Finally, the resulting path is printed to stdout, log and error messages are dumped to stderr.

This document is Tp-Note’s technical reference. More information can be found in Tp-Note’s user manual and at Tp-Note’s project page.

4. OPERATION MODES

Tp-Note operates in 4 different modes, depending on its commend-line-arguments and the clipboard state. Each mode is usually associated with one content-template and one filename-template.

4.1. New note without clipboard

In case the clipboard is empty while starting, the new note is created with the templates: tmpl_new_content and tmpl_new_filename. By default, the new note’s title is the parent’s directory name. The newly created file is then opened with an external text editor, allowing to change the proposed title and to add other content. When the text editor closes, Tp-Note synchronizes the note’s meta-data and its filename. This operation is performed with the tmpl_sync_filename template.

Example: the clipboard is empty and <path> is a directory (or empty):

> tp-note "./03-Favorite Readings/"

or

> cd "./03-Favorite Readings"
> tp-note

creates the document:

"./03-Favorite Readings/20200306-Favorite Readings--Note.md"

with the content:

---
title:      "Favorite Readings"
subtitle:   "Note"
author:     "getreu"
date:       "March  6, 2020"
lang:       "en_GB.UTF-8"
---

4.2. New note based on clipboard data

When <path> is a directory and the clipboard is not empty, the clipboard’s content is stored in the variable {{ clipboard }}. In addition, if the content contains an hyperlink in Markdown format, the hyperlink’s name can be accessed with {{ clipboard | linkname }}, its URL with {{ clipboard | linktarget }} and its title with {{ clipboard | linktitle }}. The new note is then created with the tmpl_clipboard_content and the tmpl_clipboard_filename templates. Finally, the newly created note file is opened again with some external text editor. When the user closes the text editor, Tp-Note synchronizes the note’s meta-data and its filename with the template tmpl_sync_filename.

Note: this operation mode also empties the clipboard (configurable feature).

Clipboard simulation

When no mouse and clipboard is available, the clipboard feature can be simulated by feeding the clipboard data into stdin:

> echo "[The Rust Book](https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/)" | tp-note

Tp-Note behaves here as if the clipboard contained the string: [The Rust Book](https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/).

4.2.1. The clipboard contains a string

Example: While launching Tp-Note the clipboard contains the string: Who Moved My Cheese?\n\nChapter 2 and <path> is a directory.

> tp-note "./03-Favorite Readings/"

or

> cd "./03-Favorite Readings/"
> tp-note

This creates the document:

"./03-Favorite Readings/20200306-Who Moved My Cheese--Note.md"

with the content:

---
title:      "Who Moved My Cheese"
subtitle:   "Note"
author:     "getreu"
date:       "2020-09-11"
lang:       "en_GB.UTF-8"
---

Who Moved My Cheese?

Chapter 2

We see from the above example, how the tmpl_clipboard_content content template extracts the first line of the clipboards content and inserts it into the header’s title: field. Then, it copies the entire clipboard content into the body of the document. However, if desired or necessary, it is possible to modify all templates in Tp-Note’s configuration file. Note, that not only the note’s content is created with a template, but also its filename: The tmpl_clipboard_filename filename template concatenates the current date, the note’s title and subtitle.

4.2.2. The clipboard contains a hyperlink

Example: <path> is a directory, the clipboard is not empty and it contains the string: I recommend:\n[The Rust Book](https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/).

> tp-note './doc/Lecture 1'

This creates the following document:

./doc/Lecture 1/20200911-The Rust Book--Notes.md
---
title:      "The Rust Book"
subtitle:   "URL"
author:     "getreu"
date:       "2020-09-11"
lang:       "en_GB.UTF-8"
---

I recommend:
[The Rust Book](https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/))

When analyzing the clipboard’s content, Tp-Note searches for hyperlinks in Markdown, ReStructuredText, Asciidoc and HTML format. When successful, the content template uses the link text of the first hyperlink found as document title.

4.2.3. The clipboard contains a string with a YAML header

Example: <path> is a directory, the clipboard is not empty and it contains the string: ---\ntitle: Todo\nfile_ext: mdtxt\n---\n\nnothing.

> tp-note

This creates the note: 20200911-Todo.mdtxt with the following content:

---
title:      "Todo"
subtitle:   ""
author:     "getreu"
date:       "2020-09-11"
lang:       "en_GB.UTF-8"
file_ext:   "mdtxt"
---

nothing

Technically, the creation of the new note is performed using the YAML header variables: {{ fm_title }}, {{ fm_subtitle }}, {{ fm_author }}, {{ fm_date }}, {{ fm_lang }}, {{ fm_sort_tag }} and {{ fm_file_ext }} which are evaluated with the tmpl_copy_content and the tmpl_copy_filename templates.

Note, that the same result can also be achieved without any clipboard by tying in a terminal:

> echo -e "---\ntitle: Todo\nfile_ext: mdtxt\n---\n\nnothing" | tp-note

Furthermore, this operation mode is very handy with pipes in general, as shows the following example: it downloads some webpage, converts it to Markdown and copies the result into a Tp-Note file. The procedure preserves the webpage’s title in the note’s title:

curl 'https://blog.getreu.net' | pandoc --standalone -f html -t markdown_strict+yaml_metadata_block | tp-note

creates the note file 20200910-Jens Getreu's blog.md with the webpage’s content converted to Markdown:

---
title:      "Jens Getreu's blog"
subtitle:   ""
author:     "getreu"
date:       "2020-09-11"
lang:       "en"
---


<a href="/" class="logo">Jens Getreu's blog</a>

-   [Home](https://blog.getreu.net)
-   [Categories](https://blog.getreu.net/categories)

4.2.4. Use Tp-Note in shell scripts

To save some typing while using the above pattern, you can create a script with:

> sudo nano /usr/local/bin/download

Insert the following content:

#!/bin/sh
curl "$1" | pandoc --standalone -f html -t markdown_strict+yaml_metadata_block | tp-note

and make it executable:

> sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/download

To execute the script type:

> download 'https://blog.getreu.net'

4.3. New note annotating some non-Tp-Note file

When <path> points to an existing file, whose file-extension is other than .md, a new note is created with a similar filename and a reference to the original file is copied into the new note’s body. If the clipboard contains some text, it is appended there also. The logic of this is implemented in the templates: tmpl_annotate_content and tmpl_annotate_filename. Once the file is created, it is opened with an external text editor. After editing the file, it will be - if necessary - renamed to be in sync with the note’s meta-data.

Example:

> tp-note "Classic Shell Scripting.pdf"

creates the note:

"Classic Shell Scripting.pdf--Note.md"

with the content:

---
title:      "Classic Shell Scripting.pdf"
subtitle:   "Note"
author:     "getreu"
date:       "March  6, 2020"
lang:       "en_GB.UTF-8"
---

[Classic Shell Scripting.pdf](Classic Shell Scripting.pdf)

The configuration file variable note_file_extensions lists all file extensions that Tp-Note recognizes and opens as own file types. Others are treated as described above.

This so called annotation mode can also be used with the clipboard: when it is not empty, its data is appended to the note’s body.

4.4. Editing notes

If not invoked with --batch, Tp-Note launches an external text editor after creating a new note. This also happens when <path> points to an existing .md-file.

Example: edit the note from the previous example:

> cd "./03-Favorite Readings"
> tp-note 20200306-Favorite Readings--Note.md

4.5. Automatic filename synchronization before and after editing

Before launching the text editor and after closing it, Tp-Note synchronizes the filename with the note’s metadata. When the user changes the metadata of a note, Tp-Note will replicate that change in the note’s filename. As a result, all your note’s filenames always correspond to their metadata, which allows you to find your notes back quickly.

Example:

> tp-note "20200306-Favorite Readings--Note.md"

The way how Tp-Note synchronizes the note’s metadata and filename is defined in the template tmpl_sync_filename.

Once Tp-Note opens the file in an text editor, the note-taker may decide updating the title in the note’s YAML metadata section from title: "Favorite Readings" to title: "Introduction to bookkeeping". After closing the text editor the filename is automatically updated too and looks like:

"20200306-Introduction to bookkeeping--Note.md"

Note: the sort-tag 20200306 has not changed. The filename synchronization mechanism by default never does. (See below for more details about filename synchronization).

5. OPTIONS

-b, --batch

Do not launch the external text editor or viewer. All other operations are available and are executed in the same way. In batch mode, error messages are dumped on the console only and no alert window pops up.

Tp-Note ignores the clipboard when run in batch mode with --batch. Instead, if available, it reads the stdin stream as if the data came from the clipboard.

-c FILE, --config=FILE

Load the alternative config file FILE instead of the default one.

-d LEVEL, --debug=LEVEL

Print additional log-messages. The debug level LEVEL must be one out of trace, debug, info, warn, error (default) or off. The level trace reports the most detailed information, while error informs only about failures. A warn level message means, that not all functionality might be available or work as expected.

Use -b -d trace for debugging templates, if the HTTP server (viewer) does not work as expected -n -d debug, if your text editor does not open as expected -n -d info --edit or to observe the launch of the web browser -n -d info --view. The option -d trace shows all available template variables, the templates used and the rendered result of the substitution, which is particularly useful for debugging new templates. The option -d off silences all error message reporting and suppresses also the error popup window.

All error messages are dumped in the error stream stderr and appear on the console from where Tp-Note was launched:

tp-note.exe --debug info my_note.md

On Windows the output must be redirected into a file to see it:

tp-note.exe --debug info my_note.md >debug.txt 2>&1

Alternatively, you can redirect all logfile entries into popup alert windows.

tp-note.exe --popup --debug info my_note.md

The same can be achieved by setting following configuration file variables (especially useful under Windows):

debug_arg_default = 'info'
popup_arg_default = true

The value for debug_arg_default must be one out of trace, debug, info, warn, error (default) and off. They have the same meaning as the corresponding command line options.

-e, --edit

Edit only mode: opens the external text editor, but not the file viewer. This disables Tp-Note’s internal file watcher and web server, unless -v is given. Another way to permanently disable the web server is to set the configuration variable viewer_enable=false. When --edit --view appear together, --view takes precedence and --edit is ignored.

-p, --port=PORT

Set server port the web browser connects to, to the specified value PORT. If not given, a random free port is chosen automatically.

-n, --no-filename-sync

Whenever Tp-Note opens a note file, it synchronizes its YAML-metadata with its filename. --no-filename-sync disables the synchronization. Mainly useful is this flag in scripts for testing .md-files. See section EXIT STATUS for more details. The section METADATA FILENAME SYNCHRONIZATION shows alternative ways to disable synchronisation.

-u, --popup

Redirect log-file entries into popup alert windows. Must be used together with the --debug option to have an effect. Note, that debug level error conditions will always trigger popup messages, regardless of --popup and --debug (unless --debug off). Popup alert windows are queued and will never interrupt Tp-note. To better associate a particular action with its log events, read through all upcoming popup alert windows until they fail to appear.

-v, --view

View only mode: do not open the external text editor. This flag instructs Tp-Note to start an internal file watcher and web server and connect the system’s default web browser to view the note file and to observe live file modifications. This flag has precedence over the configuration variable viewer_enable=false. When --edit --view appear together, --view takes precedence and --edit is ignored.

-V, --version

Print Tp-Note’s version and exit. When combined with --debug, additional technical details are printed.

-x DIRECTORY, --export=DIRECTORY

Print the note as HTML-rendition into DIRECTORY. -x - prints to stdout. The empty string, e.g. --export= or -x "", defaults to the directory where the note file resides. No external text editor or viewer is launched. Can be combined with --batch to avoid popup error alert windows.

6. THE NOTE’S DOCUMENT STRUCTURE

A Tp-Note-note file is always UTF-8 encoded. As newline, either the Unix standard \n or the Windows standard \r\n is accepted. Tp-Note writes out newlines according the operating system it runs on.

Tp-Note is designed to be compatible with Pandoc’s andRMarkdowns document structure as shown in the figure below.

---
<YAML-front matter>
---
<document-body>

The YAML front matter starts at the beginning of the document with --- and ends with ... or ---. Note that according to the YAML standard, string-literals are always encoded as JSON strings. By convention, a valid note-file has at least one YAML field named title: (the name of this compulsory field is defined by the tmpl_compulsory_field_content variable in the configuration file and can be changed there).

There is no restriction about the markup language used in the note’s text body. However, the default templates assume that Markdown and the file extension .md is used. Both can be changed easily by adapting Tp-Note’s configuration file.

7. METADATA FILENAME SYNCHRONIZATION

Consider the following Tp-Note-file:

20151208-Make this world a better place--Suggestions.md

The filename has 4 parts:

{{ fm_sort_tag }}-{{ fm_title }}--{{ fm_subtitle }}.{{ fm_file_ext }}

A so called sort-tag is a numerical prefix at the beginning of the filename. It is used to order files and notes in the file system. Besides numerical digits and whitespace, a sort-tag can be any combination of -_.[1] and is usually used as

  • chronological sort-tag

      20140211-Reminder.doc
      20151208-Manual.pdf
      2015-12-08-Manual.pdf
    
  • or as a sequence number sort-tag.

      02-Invoices
      08-Tax documents
      09_02-Notes
      09.09-Notes
    

When Tp-Note creates a new note, it prepends automatically a chronological sort-tag of today. The {{ fm_title }} part is usually derived from the parent directory name omitting its own sort-tag.

A note’s filename is in sync with its meta-data, when the following is true (slightly simplified, see the configuration file for the complete definition):

filename on disk without sort-tag == -{{ fm_title }}--{{ fm_subtitle }}.md [2]

Consider the following document with the filename:

20200306-My file.md

and the content:

---
title:      "1. The Beginning"
subtitle:   "Note"
author:     "getreu"
date:       "March  6, 2020"
lang:       "en_GB.UTF-8"
---

As -My file.md is not equal to -'1. The Beginning--Note.md, Tp-Note will rename the file to 20200306-'1. The Beginning--Note.md. If the filename had been 05_02-My file.md, it would rename it to 05_02-'1. The Beginning--Note.md.

Note: When the YAML front matter does not contain the optional sort_tag variable, Tp-Note will never change a sort-tag. Nevertheless, it might change the rest of the filename!

The reason why by default Tp-Note does not change sort-tags is, that they define their order in the file listing. In general this order is independent of the notes content. The simplest way to organize the sort-tags of your files is by renaming them directly in your file-system. Nevertheless, in some cases you might want to have full control over the whole filename through the note’s YAML front matter. For example, if — for some reason — you have changed the document’s date in the front matter and you want to change the chronological sort tag in one go. In order to overwrite the note’s sort-tag on disk, you can add a sort_tag variable to its front matter:

---
title:      "1. The Beginning"
date:       "March  7, 2020"
sort_tag:   "20200307-"
---

When Tp-Note synchronizes the note’s metadata with its filename, it will also change the sort-tag from 20200306- to 20200307-. The resulting filename becomes 20200307-'1. The Beginning--Note.md.

The sort_tag variable also becomes handy, when you want to create one single note without any sort-tag:

---
title:      "1. The Beginning"
sort_tag:   ""
---

In the same way, how it is possible to pin the sort-tag of the note from within the note’s metadata, you can also change the file extension by adding the optional file_ext variable into the note’s front matter:

---
title:      "1. The Beginning"
file_ext:   "rst"
---

This will change the file extension from .md to ’.rst. The resulting filename becomes 20200307-'1. The Beginning--Note.rst.

Important: rst must be one of the registered file extensions listed in the note_file_extensions_* variables in Tp-Note’s configuration file. If needed you can add more extensions there. If the new filename extension is not listed in one of theses variables, Tp-Note will not be able to recognize the note file as such and will not open it in the external text editor and viewer.

Note: When a sort_tag variable is defined in the note’s YAML header, you should not change the sort-tag string in the note’s file name manually by renaming the file, as your change will be overwritten next time you open the note with Tp-Note. However, you can switch back to Tp-Note’s default behaviour any time by deleting the sort_tag line in the note’s metadata. The same applies to the file_ext variable.

The metadata filename synchronisation feature can be disabled permanently by setting the configuration file variable no_filename_sync_arg_default = true. To disable this feature for one time only, invoke Tp-note with --no-filename-sync. To exclude a particular note from filename synchronisation, add the YAML header field no_filename_sync: or no_filename_sync: true.

8. CUSTOMIZATION

Tp-Note’s configuration file resides typically in ~/.config/tp-note/tp-note.toml on Unix or in C:\Users\<LOGIN>\AppData\Roaming\tp-note\config\tp-note.toml> on Windows. When Tp-Note starts, it tries to find its configuration file. If it fails, it writes a default configuration file. Tp-Note is best customized by starting it once, and then modifying its default configuration.

The configuration file is encoded according to the TOML-standard. Variables starting with tmpl_* are Tera-Template-strings (see: https://tera.netlify.com/docs/#templates).

Tp-Note captures and stores its environment in Tera-variables. For example, the variable {{ dir_path }} is initialized with the note’s target directory. The variable {{ clipboard }} contains the content of the clipboard. To learn more about variables, launch Tp-Note with the --debug trace option and observe what information it captures from its environment.

8.1. Template variables

All Tera template variables and functions can be used within Tp-Note. For example {{ get_env(name='LANG') }}' gives you access to theLANG’ environment variable.

In addition Tp-Note defines the following variables:

  • {{ path }} is the canonicalized fully qualified file name corresponding to Tp-Note’s positional parameter <path>. If <path> points to a directory the content of this variable is identical to {{ dir_path }}.

  • {{ dir_path }} is same as above but without filename and extension.

  • {{ clipboard }} is the complete clipboard text. In case the clipboard’s content starts with a YAML header, the latter does not appear in this variable.

  • {{ clipboard_header }} is the YAML section of the clipboard data, if one exists. Otherwise: empty string.

  • {{ stdin }} is the complete text content originating form the input stream stdin. This stream can replace the clipboard when it is not available. In case the input stream’s content starts with a YAML header, the latter does not appear in this variable.

  • {{ stdin_header }} is the YAML section of the input stream, if one exists. Otherwise: empty string.

  • {{ extension_default }} is the default extension for new notes (can be changed in the configuration file),

  • {{ username }} is the content of the first non-empty environment variable: LOGNAME, USER or USERNAME.

The following {{ fm_* }} variables are typically generated, after a content template was filled in with data: For example a field named title: in the content template tmpl_new_content will generate the variable fm_title which can then be used in the corresponding tmpl_new_filename filename template. {{ fm_* }} variables are generated dynamically. This means, a YAmL front matter variable foo: in a note will generate a {{ fm_foo }} template variable. On the other hand, a missing foo: will cause {{ fm_foo }} to be undefined.

Please note that {{ fm_* }} variables are available in all filename templates and in the tmpl_copy_content content template only.

  • {{ fm_title }} is the title: as indicated in the YAML front matter of the note.

  • {{ fm_subtitle }} is the subtitle: as indicated in the YAML front matter of the note.

  • {{ fm_author }} is the author: as indicated in the YAML front matter of the note.

  • {{ fm_lang }} is the lang: as indicated in the YAML front matter of the note.

  • {{ fm_file_ext }} holds the value of the optional YAML header variable file_ext: (e.g. file_ext: "rst").

  • {{ fm_sort_tag }}: The sort variable as defined in the YAML front matter of this note (e.g. sort_tag: "20200312-").

  • {{ fm_all }}: is a collection (map) of all defined {{ fm_* }} variables. It is used in the tmpl_copy_content template, typically in a loop like:

    {% for key, value in fm_all %}{{ key }}: {{ value | json_encode }}
    {% endfor %}
    

Important: there is no guarantee, that any of the above {{ fm_* }} variables is defined! Depending on the last content template result, certain variables might be undefined. Please take into consideration, that a defined variable might contain the empty string "".

8.2. Template filters

In addition to Tera’s built-in filters, Tp-Note comes with some additional filters, e.g.: tag, trim_tag, stem, cut, heading, linkname, linktarget, linktitle and ext.

A filter is always used together with a variable. Here some examples:

  • {{ path | filename }} is the note’s filename with sort-tag, stem, copy-counter, dot and extension.

  • {{ path | tag }} is the sort-tag (numerical filename prefix) of the current note on disk, e.g. 01-23_9- or 20191022-. Useful in content templates, for example to create new notes based on a path with a filename (e.g. tmpl_annotate_content).

  • {{ path | stem }} is the note’s filename without sort-tag, copy-counter and extension.

  • {{ path | copy_counter }} is the note’s filename without sort-tag, stem and extension.

  • {{ path | ext }} is the note’s filename extension without dot (period), e.g. md od mdtxt.

  • {{ path | ext | prepend_dot }} is the note’s filename extension with dot (period), e.g. .md od .mdtxt.

  • {{ dir_path | trim_tag }} the last element of path, which is the parent directory’s name of the note on disk. If present, the sort-tag is skipped and only the following characters are retained.

  • {{ clipboard | cut }} is the first 200 bytes from the clipboard.

  • {{ clipboard | heading }} is the clipboard’s content until end of the first sentence ending, or the first newline.

  • {{ clipboard | linkname }} is the name of the first Markdown or reStructuredText formatted link in the clipboard.

  • {{ clipboard | linktarget }} is the URL of the first Markdown or reStruncturedText formatted link in the clipboard.

  • {{ clipboard | linktitle }} is the title of the first Markdown or reStruncturedText formatted link in the clipboard.

  • {{ path | ext }} is the filename extension of the current note on disk.

  • {{ username | json_encode }} is the username Json encoded. All YAML front matter must be Json encoded, so this filter should be the last in all lines of the front matter section.

  • {{ subtitle | sanit }} the note’s subtitle as defined in its front-matter, sanitized in a filesystem friendly form. Special characters are omitted or replaced by - and _.

  • {{ title | sanit(alpha=true) }} the note’s title as defined in its front-matter. Same as above, but strings starting with a number are prepended by an apostrophe.

  • {{ fm_all | remove(var='fm_title') }} represents a collection (map) of all fm_* variables, exclusive of the variable fm_title.

8.3. Content-template conventions

Tp-Note distinguishes two template types: content-templates are used to create the note’s content (front-matter and body) and the corresponding filename-templates tmpl_*_filename are used to calculate the note’s filename. By convention, content templates appear in the configuration file in variables named tmpl_*_content.

Strings in the YAML front matter of content-templates are JSON encoded. Therefore, all variables used in the front matter must pass an additional json_encode()-filter. For example, the variable {{ dir_path | stem }} becomes {{ dir_path | stem | json_encode() }} or just {{ dir_path | stem | json_encode }}.

8.4. Filename-template convention

By convention, filename templates appear in the configuration file in variables named tmpl_*_filename. When a content-template creates a new note, the corresponding filename-templates is called afterwards to calculate the filename of the new notes. The filename template tmpl_sync_filename has a special role as it is synchronizes the filename of existing note files. As we are dealing with filenames we must guarantee, that the templates produce only file system friendly characters. For this purpose Tp-Note provides the additional Tera filters sanit and sanit(alpha=true).

  • The sanit() filter transforms a string in a file system friendly from. This is done by replacing forbidden characters like ? and \\ with _ or space. This filter can be used with any variables, but is most useful with filename-templates. For example, in the tmpl_sync_filename template, we find the expression {{ subtitle | sanit }}.

  • sanit(alpha=true) is similar to the above, with one exception: when a string starts with a digit 0-9, the whole string is prepended with '. For example: 1 The Show Begins becomes '1 The Show Begins. This filter should always be applied to the first variable assembling the new filename, e.g. {{ title | sanit(alpha=true )}. This way, it is always possible to distinguish the sort-tag from the actual filename.

In filename-templates most variables must pass either the sanit or the sanit(alpha=true) filter. Exception to this rule are the sort-tag variables {{ path | tag }} and {{ dir_path | tag }}. As these are guaranteed to contain only the filesystem friendly characters: 0..9-_, no additional filtering is required. In addition, a sanit()-filter would needlessly restrict the value range of {{ path | tag }} and {{ dir_path | tag }}: a sort tag usually ends with a -, a character that the sanit-filter screens out when it appears in leading or trailing position. For this reason no sanit-filter is allowed with {{ path | tag }} and {{ dir_path | tag }}.

8.5. Register your own text editor

The configuration file variables editor_args and editor_console_args define lists of external text editors to be launched for editing. The lists contain by default well-known text editor names and their command-line arguments. Tp-Note tries to launch every text editor in editor_args from the beginning of the list until it finds an installed text editor. When Tp-Note is started on a Linux console, the list editor_console_args is used instead. Here you can register text editors that do not require a graphical environment, e.g. vim or nano. In order to use your own text editor, just place it at the top of the list. To debug your changes invoke Tp-Note with tp-note --debug info --popup --edit

When you configure Tp-Note to work with your text editor, make sure, that your text editor does not fork! You can check this when you launch the text editor from the command line: if the prompt returns immediately, then it forks the process. Everything is OK when the prompt only comes back at the moment when the text editor is closed. Many text editors provide an option not to fork: for example the VScode-editor can be launched with the --wait option and vim with --nofork. However, Tp-Note also works with forking text editors. Then, the only drawback is, that Tp-Note might quit too early and can not synchronize the filename with the note’s metadata when the user has finished editing. Synchronization will still happen, but only next time when the user opens the note with Tp-Note.

Remark for the advanced console user: It is also possible to launch a different editor without changing the configuration file:

> FILE=$(tp-note --batch); vi "$FILE"; tp-note --batch "$FILE"

Whereby FILE=$(tp-note --batch) creates the note file, vi "$FILE" opens the vi-text editor and tp-note --batch "$FILE" synchronizes the filename.

Register a Flatpak Markdown editor

Flathub for Linux is a cross-platform application repository that works well with Tp-Note. To showcase an example, we will add a Tp-Note launcher for the Mark Text Markdown text editor available as Flatpak package. Before installing, make sure that you have setup Flatpack correctly. Then install the application with:

> sudo flatpak install flathub com.github.marktext.marktext

To test, run Mark Text from the command-line:

> flatpak run com.github.marktext.marktext

Then open Tp-Note’s configuration file tp-note.toml and search for the editor_args variable, quoted shortened below:

editor_args = [
    ['typora'],
    [
    'code',
    '-w',
    '-n',
],
#...
]

The structure of this variable is a list of lists. Every item in the outer list corresponds to one entire command line launching a different text editor, here Typora and VSCode. When launching, Tp-Note searches through this list until it finds an installed text editor on the system.

In this example, we register the Mark Text editor at the first place in this list, by inserting ’['flatpak', 'run', 'com.github.marktext.marktext'],:

editor_args = [
    [
    'flatpak',
    'run',
    'com.github.marktext.marktext',
],
    ['typora'],
    [
    'code',
    '-w',
    '-n',
],
#...
]

Save the modified configuration file. Next time you launch Tp-Note, the Mark Text-editor will open with your note.

Register a console text editor running in a terminal emulator

In this setup Tp-Note launches the terminal emulator which is configured to launch the text editor as child process. Both should should not fork when they start (see above).

Examples, adjust to your needs and taste:

  • Neovim in Xfce4-Terminal:

    editor_args = [
      [
        'xfce4-terminal',
        '--disable-server',
        '-x',
        'nvim',
        '-c',
        'colorscheme pablo',
      ],
    ]
    
  • Neovim in LXTerminal:

    editor_args = [
      [
        'lxterminal',
        '--no-remote',
        '-e',
        'nvim',
        '-c',
        'colorscheme pablo',
      ],
    ]
    
  • Neovim in Xterm:

    editor_args = [
        [
          'xterm',
          '-fa',
          'DejaVu Sans Mono',
          '-fs',
          '12',
          '-e',
          'nvim',
      ],
    ]
    

8.6. Change the default markup language

Tp-Note identifies the note’s markup language by its file extension and renders the content accordingly (see note_file_extension_* variables). This ensures interoperability between authors using different markup languages. Although Tp-Note is flexible in opening existing note files, new notes are always created in the same markup language, which is by default Markdown. How to change this is shown in the following section.

8.6.1. Change the way how new notes are created

Tp-Note’s core function is a template system and as such it depends very little on the used markup language. The default templates are designed in a way that they contain almost no markup specific code. There is one little exception though. The following configuration variables affect the way new notes are created:

  1. Change the default file extension for new notes from:

    extension_default='md'
    

    to:

    extension_default='rst'
    
  2. Replace the following line in the template tmpl_clipboard_content that defines a hyperlink in Markdown format:

    [{{ path | tag }}{{ path | stem }}{{ path | ext | prepend_dot }}](<{{ path | tag }}{{ path | stem }}{{ path | ext | prepend_dot }}>)
    

    with the following line encoded in RestructuredText:

    `<{{ path | tag }}{{ path | stem }}{{ path | ext | prepend_dot }}>`_
    

As a result, all future notes are created as *.rst files.

8.6.2. Change the markup language for one specific note only

You can change the Markup language of a specific note by adding the variable file_ext: to its YAML header. For example, for ReStructuredText add:

---
title:    "some note"
file_ext: "rst"
---

The above change only applies to the current note.

8.7. Customize the built-in note viewer

Change the way how note files are rendered for viewing

Besides its core function, Tp-Note comes with several built-in markup renderer and viewer, allowing to work with different markup languages at the same time. The configuration file variables note_file_extension_* determine which markup renderer is used for which note file extension. Depending on the markup language, this feature is more or less advanced and complete: Markdown (cf. note_file_extension_md) is best supported and feature complete: It complies with the Common Mark specification. The ReStructuredText renderer (cf. note_file_extension_rst) is quit new and still in experimental state. For all other supported markup languages Tp-Note provides a built-in markup source text viewer (cf. note_file_extension_txt) that shows the note as typed (without markup), but renders all hyperlinks to make them clickable. In case none of the above rendition engines suit you, it is possible to disable the viewer feature selectively for some particular note file extensions: just place these extensions in the note_file_extension_no_viewer variable. If you wish to disable the viewer feature overall, set the variable edit_arg_default = true.

Change the HTML rendition template

After the markup rendition process, Tp-Note’s built-in viewer generates its final HTML rendition through the customizable HTML templates viewer_rendition_tmpl and viewer_error_tmpl. The following code example taken from viewer_rendition_tmpl illustrates the available variables:

viewer_rendition_tmpl = '''<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="{{ fm_lang | default(value='en') }}">
<head>
<meta charset="utf-8">
<title>{{ fm_title }}</title>
  </head>
  <body>
  <pre class="note-header">{{ fm_all_yaml }}</pre>
  <hr>
  <div class="note-body">{{ note_body }}</div>
  <script>{{ note_js }}</script>
</body>
</html>
'''

Specifically:

  • {{ fm_* }} are the deserialized header variables. All content template variables and filters are available. See section Template variables above.

  • {{ fm_all_yaml }} is the raw UTF-8 copy of the header. Not to be confounded with the dictionary variable {{ fm_all }}.

  • {{ note_body }} is the note’s body as HTML rendition.

  • {{ note_js }} is the Java-Script browser code for live updates.

Alternatively, the header enclosed by <pre>...</pre> can also be rendered as a table:

  <table>
    <tr><th>title:</th><th>{{ fm_title }}</th> </tr>
    <tr><th>subtitle:</th><th>{{ fm_subtitle | default(value='') }}</th></tr>
  {% for k, v in fm_all| remove(var='fm_title')| remove(var='fm_subtitle') %}
    <tr><th>{{ k }}:</th><th>{{ v }}</th></tr>
  {% endfor %}
  </table>

The error page template viewer_error_tmpl (see below) does not provide fm_* variables, because of possible header syntax errors. Instead, the variable {{ note_error }} contains the error message as raw UTF-8 and the variable {{ note_erroneous_content }} the HTML rendition of the text source with clickable hyperlinks:

viewer_error_tmpl = '''<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=\"en\">
<head>
<meta charset=\"utf-8\">
<title>Syntax error</title>
</head>
<body>
<h3>Syntax error</h3>
<p> in note file: <pre>{{ path }}</pre><p>
<hr>
<pre class="note-error">{{ note_error }}</pre>
<hr>
{{ note_erroneous_content }}
<script>{{ note_js }}</script>
</body>
</html>
'''

Customize the built-in HTML exporter

Customizing Tp-Note’s HTML export function works the same way than customizing the built-in viewer. There are some slight differences though: The role of the viewer_rendition_tmpl template - discussed above - is taken over by the exporter_rendition_tmpl template. In this template the same Tera variables are available, except {{ note_js }} which does not make sense in this context. As the exporter prints possible rendition error messages on the console, there is no equivalent to the viewer_error_tmpl template.

8.8. Choose your favourite web browser as note viewer

Once the note is rendered into HTML, Tp-Note’s internal HTTP server connects to a random port at the localhost interface where the rendition is served to be viewed with a web browser. Tp-Note’s configuration file contains a list browser_args with common web browsers and their usual location on disk. This list is executed top down until a web browser is found and launched. If you want to view your notes with a different web browser, simply modify the browser_args list and put your favourite web browser on top.

In case none of the listed browsers can be found, Tp-Note switches into a fall back mode with limited functionality, where it tries to open the system’s default web browser. A disadvantage is, that in fall back mode Tp-Note is not able to detect when the user closes the web browser. This might lead to situations, where Tp-Note’s internal HTTP server shuts down to early. In order to check if Tp-Note finds the selected web browser as intended, invoke Tp-Note with tp-note --debug info --popup --view.

9. SECURITY AND PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS

As discussed above, Tp-Note’s built-in viewer sets up an HTTP server on the localhost interface with a random port number. This HTTP server runs as long as the as long as the launched web browser window is open. It should be remembered, that the HTTP server not only exposes the rendered note, but also some other (image) files in the same directory (and all subdirectories) where the note file resides. For security reasons symbolic links to files outside the note’s directory are not followed. Furthermore, Tp-Note’s built-in HTTP server only serves files that are referenced in the note document and whose file extensions are registered with the viewer_served_mime_type configuration file variable. As Tp-Note’s built-in viewer binds to the localhost interface, the exposed files are in principle accessible to all processes running on the computer. As long as only one user is logged into the computer at a given time, no privacy concern is raised: any potential note reader must be logged in, in order to access the localhost HTTP server.

This is why on systems where multiple users are logged in at the same time, it is recommended to disable Tp-Note’s viewer feature by setting the configuration file variable edit_arg_default = true. Alternatively, you can also compile Tp-Note without the viewer feature. Note, that even with the viewer feature disabled, one can still render the note manually with the --export option.

Summary: As long as Tp-Note’s built-in note viewer is running, the note file and all its referenced (image) files are exposed to all users logged into the computer at that given time. This concerns only local users, Tp-Note never exposes any information to the network.

10. EXIT STATUS

Normally the exit status is 0 when the note file was processed without error or 1 otherwise. If Tp-Note can not read or write its configuration file, the exit status is 5.

When tp-note -n -b <FILE> returns the code 0, the note file has a valid YAML header with a title: field. In addition, when tp-note -n -b -x - <FILE> returns the code 0, the note’s body was rendered without error.

11. RESOURCES

Tp-Note it hosted on:

12. COPYING

Copyright (C) 2016-2021 Jens Getreu

Licensed under either of

at your option.

12.1. Contribution

Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 licence, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions. Licensed under the Apache Licence, Version 2.0 (the "Licence"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the Licence.

13. AUTHORS

Jens Getreu



[1] The characters _, - and . are considered to be part of the sort-tag even when they appear in last position.

[2] The variables {{ fm_title }} and {{ fm_subtitle }} reflect the values in the note’s metadata.