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Entries posted in April 2023

Managing header-spacing in markdown/org-mode files

21 April 2023 10:00

It seems I'm having a theme recently on this blog, of making emacs-related posts. Here's another.

I write a bunch of stuff in markdown, such as my emacs init-file, blog-posts and other documents. I try to be quite consistent about vertical spacing, for example a post might look like this:

# header1

Some top-level stuff.

## header2

Some more details.

## header2

Some more things on a related topic.

# header2

Here I'm trying to breakup sections, so there is a "big gap" between H1 and smaller gaps between the lesser-level headings.

After going over my init file recently, making some changes, I noticed that the spacing was not at all consistent. So I figured "How hard could it be to recognize headers and insert/remove newlines before them?"

A trivial regexp search for "^#" identifies headers, and that counting the "#" characters lets you determine their depth. From their removing any previous newlines is the work of a moment, and inserting the appropriate number to ensure consistency is simple.

I spent 15 minutes writing the initial implementation, which was markdown-specific, then another 30 minutes adding support for org-mode files - because my work-diary is written using the org-diary package (along with other helpers, such as the org-tag-cloud.

Anyway the end result is that now when I save a markdown/org file the headers are updated automatically:

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