Recently I asked the Internet to tell me what the state of the art is these days for plain text to PDF. Pandoc and ASCIIDoctor and Kramdown they said.

Meanwhile, I found Tufte Handout. I’ve been a fan of Edward Tufte’s work for years and once had the opportunity to attend one of his seminars.

Here is a link to a sample document produced with the Tufte Handout template:

This is what I want! I set about trying to get it to run. I installed R and RStudio with Homebrew. It wasn’t happy. I discovered I needed “MacTex” which weighs in at a whopping 2.5GB for the distribution. Eventually, the download finished and I installed that. Still no luck with the sample document, so I removed the figures and tables from it. I don’t need those anyway. Now it works!

Somewhere in my wanderings I ran across this article on running Go language chunks in Rmd files. Interesting! Could it work with Elixir code?

I don’t know R, but it looks fairly straightforward from the code and description. It’s creating a temporary file, executing it, and capturing the output. I took a shot at modifying it to execute elixir instead of go, and it worked!

Here is the source for a standalone RMarkdown file that executes embedded Elixir code and includes the output of the code in the PDF:

view source

And here is a section of the resulting PDF:

Executable Elixir With Output

I’m sure someone can make this into a proper plugin or engine or whatever the correct term is for RStudio. (Or they already have and someone will point this out to me in the comments.)

Now I suppose I have to get started on the content of the handout that I wanted this for…

Copyright 2015 Wendy Smoak - This post first appeared on and is CC BY-NC licensed.

The source for the example RMarkdown document is available here and is CC BY-SA licensed as required by the author of the code it was adapted from.