Hi, this is ITOH(takahi_i)at ATL.

I released the RedPen version 1.3 the other day. You can download RedPen 1.3 from a release page. If you use a Mac, you can install the latest version through Homebrew ($brew install redpen).

In this article, I will introduce the especially important features such as AsciiDoc support, server command, and add-ons by JavaScript among the added features to its 1.3 version. At the end of this article, I will introduce new features such as enhancement of LaTeX and Validator which will be supported in its version 1.4.

Support for AsciiDoc format

After the release of RedPen, I received some requests to support AsciiDoc. AsciiDoc is one of the markup languages such as LaTeX, etc. Because I was satisfied with Markdown at that time, I did not have enough idea of the reasons why people wanted it to support markup languages which is similar to the syntax of Markdown. I will outline advantages of AsciiDoc.

Not enough with Markdown?

I had a job to write a long and formal document recently. I tried to write it with Markdown but I could not make it. Since then, I had been at a loss because I noticed the limitation of the ability of expression which the format of Markdown had. For example, links to clauses and breakups of source files are obviously needed when people write a certain amount of documents, but they are not supported in Markdown (formally).

Advantages of AsciiDoc

AsciiDoc is a light syntax which is similar to Markdown and it also has a variety of features. I think it has enough features to write formal and many documents. When using a tool called AsciiDoctor, you can easily convert documents to PDF files and change document styles which determine a look of documents. If you need to write a formal document, it might be good to use AsciiDoc.

Server inclusion

The RedPen server was introduced from the version 1.0 and it has been extended as needed. In version 1.2, by enhancing REST API it provides a feature which is similar to a command line.

The advantage of using RedPen through REST API is high-speed response. While after the execution of RedPen command, it takes time to boot up, it can return the results of inspections in no time with constantly running servers.

I received a request to be able to shut down servers from a command line in addition to the enhancement of features. While you had to download a file called redpen.war separately, in version 1.3 all the server files (redpen.war) are included into one package (repden-1.3.tar.gz).

Moreover, in RedPen version 1.3, a simple redpen-server command is provided. All you have to do is just to execute the following commands to boot up.

In the same way, you can simply shut down the server with the following commands.

It is a pity, the command does not work on Windows, but it will be supported in Windows in the next version up.

Add-ons up to version 1.2

One of the features RedPen has is scalability. RedPen automatically handles the complicated processing such as extraction of sentences and clauses from markup language. So, all users have to do is just to write the processing to sentences when they want to extend the features by themselves.

Since the plugin features are also supported, users do not need to build the whole RedPen. Unfortunately, what I found in the development was that the current plugins are still not enough. In fact, only people who are somewhat familiar with Java can create Java based plugins. It also needs to be compiled and it cannot be easily tried.

Supporting add-ons by JavaScript

So, RedPen has supported JavaScript based add-ons from version 1.3. In JavaScript based add-ons, users do not need to compile it. They only needs to put JavaScript files for add-ons in $REDPEN_HOME/js. I will introduce more detailed instructions.

Future plan on version 1.4

In RedPen version 1.4, it will experimentally support LaTeX which people requested to support as well as AsciiDoc. Besides LaTeX, it will focus on the enhancement of Validator in version 1.4.

Which is not to say the enhancement of Validator, it does not provide such complicated features. I hope it will be able to support one of the features that Microsoft Word supports sentence validation (sentence proofreading feature).

For example, I hope the following Validators will be able to be supported.

  • phonetic equivalent
  • particle sequence
  • double negative
  • usage of Kanji which is not designated for everyday use・
  • declensional kana ending
  • typing error