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commandline tool to resolve RST File includes

Project description


Version v2.1.0 as of 2020-08-08 see Changelog

travis_build license pypi

codecov better_code Maintainability Maintainability Code Coverage snyk

since You can not include files into RST files on github or PyPi, You can resolve such imports with this software.

That means You can locally write Your RST documents (for instance with pycharm) and use there the .. include: option to include other RST Files or code snippets into Your Document. Afterwards You can run this software to create a monolithic README.rst that can be viewed on Github or Pypi

You might also include Text/Code from Jupyter Notebooks (sorry, no pictures at the moment, but it is not very hard to do that)

This has many advantages like :

  • dont repeat Yourself, create standard blocks to include into Your documentation
  • include tested code snippets from Your code files into Your documentation, to avoid untested or outdated documentation
  • include other RST Files
  • very simple usage, throwing exit codes to detect errors on documentation at travis build-time
  • commandline or programmatic interface, You can even use it in the travis.yml
  • commandline interface supporting shellscript, cmd, pipes, config-files

automated tests, Travis Matrix, Documentation, Badges, etc. are managed with PizzaCutter (cookiecutter on steroids)

Python version required: 3.6.0 or newer

tested on linux “bionic” with python 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.8-dev, pypy3 - architectures: amd64, ppc64le, s390x, arm64

100% code coverage, flake8 style checking ,mypy static type checking ,tested under Linux, macOS, Windows, automatic daily builds and monitoring


Yo might use rst_include from the commandline (Windows, Linux and MacOs is supported) or import the module to Your python script and use it from there. You can also use it from Bash Scripts and Windows Batch Files - See Examples.

use rst_include from commandline

# replace the include statements on shell or windows commandline
# path can be relative or absolute path
# examples :

# relativ path
$> rst_include include ./source.rst ./target.rst

# absolute path
$> rst_include include /project/docs/source.rst /project/docs/target.rst

# on linux via pipe - You need to change to the source directory first because of relative include paths
$> cd /project/docs
$> cat ./source.rst | rst_include include - - > /project/docs/target.rst

# on Windows via pipe - You need to change to the source directory first because of relative include paths
$> cd /project/docs
$> type ./source.rst | rst_include include - - > /project/docs/target.rst

multiline text replacement

Additional You can easily replace (also multiline) text strings :

# replace text strings easily
# examples :

$> rst_include replace ./source.rst ./target.rst "{{template_string}}" "new content"

# multiline example
# note ${IFS} is the standard bash seperator
$> rst_include --inplace replace ./source.txt - "line1${IFS}line2" "line1${IFS}something_between${IFS}line2"

piping under Linux:

# piping examples
$> rst_include include ./source.rst - | rst_include replace - ./target.rst "{{pattern}}" "new content"
# same result
$> cat ./source.rst | rst_include include - - | rst_include replace - - "{template_string}" "new content" > ./target.rst

# multiline example
$> cat ./text.txt | rst_include replace - - "line1${IFS}line2" "line1${IFS}something_between${IFS}line2" > ./text.txt


Example Python

import subprocess

from rst_include import *

def main():
    rst_inc(source='./.docs/README_template.rst', target='./README.rst')
    rst_str_replace(source='./README.rst', target='', str_pattern='{{some pattern}}', str_replace='some text', inplace=True)

if __name__ == '__main':

Example Shellscript


sudo_askpass="$(command -v ssh-askpass)"
export SUDO_ASKPASS="${sudo_askpass}"
export NO_AT_BRIDGE=1  # get rid of (ssh-askpass:25930): dbind-WARNING **: 18:46:12.019: Couldn't register with accessibility bus: Did not receive a reply.

echo "import the include blocks"
rst_include include ./.docs/README_template.rst ./README.rst

echo "replace some patterns"

# example for piping
cat ./README.rst \
    | rst_include --inplace replace - - "{{pattern1}}" "some_text_1" \
    | rst_include --inplace replace - - "{{pattern2}}" "some_text_2" \
    | rst_include --inplace replace - - "{{pattern3}}" "some_text_3" \
     > ./README.rst

Example Batch

REM rst_include needs to be installed and python paths set correctly
@echo off

rst_include include ./.docs/README_template.rst ./README.rst
rst_include --inplace replace ./.docs/README_template.rst - "{{pattern}}" "replace string 1"

echo 'finished'

rst file examples

simple code include

# simple text include, empty line after
.. include:: ./
    :code: python
    :number-lines: 10
    :start-line: 6
    :end-line: 23
    :start-after: # start marker
    :end-before: # end-marker
    :encoding: utf-8

text or RST file include

# simple text include, without code setting - it is imported as normal textfile, as it is.
# You might also include other rst files
.. include::
    :start-line: 0       # working, also end-line, etc ... all others suppressed.
    :number-lines:       # not working without :code: setting

include jupyter notebooks

jupyter notebooks can be first converted to rst via nbconvert, see :

pandoc is a requirement for nbconvert, see :

# convert the attached test.ipynb to test.rst
$ jupyter nbconvert --to rst test.ipynb

unfortunately the pictures are not shown and needed to be extracted - a first hint might be :

I would prefer to exctract the pictures after the conversion to RST, and make it a module in rst_include. Filenames can be a hash of the picture data, in order to avoid web caching issues.

rst file include parameters

taken from :

Standard data files intended for inclusion in reStructuredText documents are distributed with the Docutils source code, located in the “docutils” package in the docutils/parsers/rst/include directory. To access these files, use the special syntax for standard “include” data files, angle brackets around the file name:

.. include:: <isonum.txt>    # not supported now

The current set of standard “include” data files consists of sets of substitution definitions. See reStructuredText Standard Definition Files for details.

The following options are recognized:

# Only the content starting from this line will be included.
# (As usual in Python, the first line has index 0 and negative values count from the end.)
# Combining start/end-line and start-after/end-before is possible.
# The text markers will be searched in the specified lines (further limiting the included content).
start-line : integer
# Only the content up to (but excluding) this line will be included.
# Combining start/end-line and start-after/end-before is possible.
# The text markers will be searched in the specified lines (further limiting the included content).
end-line : integer
# Only the content after the first occurrence of the specified text will be included.
# Combining start/end-line and start-after/end-before is possible.
# The text markers will be searched in the specified lines (further limiting the included content).
start-after : text to find in the external data file
# Only the content before the first occurrence of the specified text (but after any after text) will be included.
# Combining start/end-line and start-after/end-before is possible.
# The text markers will be searched in the specified lines (further limiting the included content).
end-before : text to find in the external data file
# The entire included text is inserted into the document as a single literal block.
literal : flag (empty)
# The argument and the content of the included file are passed to the code directive (useful for program listings).
# (New in Docutils 0.9)
code : formal language (optional)
# Precede every code line with a line number. The optional argument is the number of the first line (default 1).
# Works only with code or literal. (New in Docutils 0.9)
number-lines : [start line number]
# The text encoding of the external data file. Defaults to the document's input_encoding.
encoding : name of text encoding
# Number of spaces for hard tab expansion. A negative value prevents expansion of hard tabs.
# Defaults to the tab_width configuration setting.
tab-width : integer
With code or literal the common options :class: and :name: are recognized as well.
all other option in the format :<option>: are just passed through the codeblock

Usage from Commandline

Usage: rst_include [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  commandline tool to resolve RST File includes

  --version                     Show the version and exit.
  --traceback / --no-traceback  return traceback information on cli
  -h, --help                    Show this message and exit.

  include  include the include files, use "-" for stdin as SOURCE and "-"...
  info     get program informations
  replace  replace <str_pattern> with <str_replace> <count> times

Installation and Upgrade

  • Before You start, its highly recommended to update pip and setup tools:
python -m pip --upgrade pip
python -m pip --upgrade setuptools
  • to install the latest release from PyPi via pip (recommended):
python -m pip install --upgrade rst_include
  • to install the latest version from github via pip:
python -m pip install --upgrade git+
  • include it into Your requirements.txt:
# Insert following line in Your requirements.txt:
# for the latest Release on pypi:

# for the latest development version :
rst_include @ git+

# to install and upgrade all modules mentioned in requirements.txt:
python -m pip install --upgrade -r /<path>/requirements.txt
  • to install the latest development version from source code:
# cd ~
$ git clone
$ cd rst_include
python install
  • via makefile: makefiles are a very convenient way to install. Here we can do much more, like installing virtual environments, clean caches and so on.
# from Your shell's homedirectory:
$ git clone
$ cd rst_include

# to run the tests:
$ make test

# to install the package
$ make install

# to clean the package
$ make clean

# uninstall the package
$ make uninstall


following modules will be automatically installed :

## Project Requirements
cli_exit_tools @ git+
lib_list @ git+
lib_log_utils @ git+
pathlib3x @ git+


  • special thanks to “uncle bob” Robert C. Martin, especially for his books on “clean code” and “clean architecture”


I would love for you to fork and send me pull request for this project. - please Contribute


This software is licensed under the MIT license


  • new MAJOR version for incompatible API changes,
  • new MINOR version for added functionality in a backwards compatible manner
  • new PATCH version for backwards compatible bug fixes


2020-08-08: service release
  • fix documentation
  • fix travis
  • deprecate pycodestyle
  • implement flake8


2020-08-07: implement flake8 - transitional


2020-08-01: fix pypi deploy


2020-07-31: fix travis build


2020-07-31: fix environ.pop issue in doctest


2020-07-29: feature release
  • use the new pizzacutter template
  • use cli_exit_tools


2020-07-23: patch release
  • adopt lib_log_utils 0.3.0


2020-07-16: feature release
  • fix cli test
  • enable traceback option on cli errors


2020-07-16: patch release
  • fix cli test
  • enable traceback option on cli errors


2020-07-05 : patch release
  • fix typos
  • manage project with PizzaCutter
  • restructured cli entry points


  • new CLI Interface
  • avoid recursive imports
  • manage the project with lib_travis_template


  • drop support for configfiles
  • update documentation
  • implement –version on commandline
  • test commandline registration
  • strict mypy typechecking


  • drop python 2.7 / 3.4 support
  • implement –inplace option
  • implement –quiet option
  • implement multiline string replacement
  • extend documentation


2019-04-28: fix import errors


2019-04-28: add empty line at the end of the assembled documentation, to be able to add CHANGES.rst with


2019-04-19: Initial public release, PyPi Release

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