Asciidoctor.js 1.5.0 released to Bower and npm!

by Guillaume Grossetie and Anthonny Quérouil -

The release train is on the move! Version 1.5.0 of Asciidoctor.js has been released and is now available in Bower and npm. This release is an important step toward making Asciidoctor.js widely available to the JavaScript ecosystem.

Bower and npm
Asciidoctor in JavaScript.
It was a dream.
Then it was a prototype.
Now, it’s the real deal.
What is Asciidoctor.js?

Asciidoctor.js is the official library for using Asciidoctor in JavaScript. It shares the same source code as Asciidoctor and is transcompiled to JavaScript using Opal. With Asciidoctor.js, you can convert AsciiDoc content or analyze the structure of a parsed AsciiDoc document from JavaScript.

When upgrading to Asciidoctor 1.5.0, please refer to the migration guide for details about how to migrate your content.

Release highlights

Asciidoctor.js is Asciidoctor

As mentioned in the release notes for Asciidoctor 1.5.0, we worked hard to align Asciidoctor.js (JavaScript) and Asciidoctor core (Ruby). That means you can expect Asciidoctor.js to parse and convert documents just like the original. Even includes work!

Getting certain features to work, like includes, requires special consideration because JavaScript is a different environment than Ruby and there are even key variations between JavaScript environments!

For example, reading an include file in Ruby is just a matter of using the normal Ruby IO API. In a browser environment, we have to use XMLHttpRequest (i.e., Ajax) as the IO API instead. If Asciidoctor.js is running on Node.js, we have to use the Node IO API, fs.readSync(), to make it work.

Rest assured we’re continuing to work on smoothing any differences to bring all the great features of Asciidoctor core to JavaScript.

Read on to learn how to get your hands on Asciidoctor.js!

Using Asciidoctor.js is easier than ever before

If you are a frontend or backend JavaScript developer, you’re only one command away from getting the latest version of Asciidoctor.js

Bower package

Installing Asciidoctor.js with Bower
$ bower install asciidoctor.js --save
The optional --save flag automatically adds the package to your project’s dependencies.

Once the package installed, you can add the following script tag to your HTML page:

<script src="bower_components/asciidoctor.js/dist/asciidoctor-all.min.js"></script>

The asciidoctor-all.min.js is a minified version and includes Asciidoctor core, extensions API and Opal.

Here is a simple example that converts AsciiDoc to HTML5 using the doctype: 'inline' option and showtitle attribute:

var asciidoc = "[*Asciidoctor*] " +
    "running on[_Opal_] " +
    "brings AsciiDoc to the browser!";
var options = Opal.hash2(['doctype', 'attributes'], {doctype: 'inline', attributes: ['showtitle']});
var html = Opal.Asciidoctor.$convert(asciidoc, options);

See the Front-end development guide to learn more about the Bower package.

npm package

Installing Asciidoctor.js with npm
$ npm install asciidoctor.js --save
The optional --save flag automatically adds the package to your project’s dependencies.

Once the package is installed, the first thing to do is to load the asciidoctor.js module using require, then you’re ready to start using the API:

var asciidoctor = require('asciidoctor.js')(); (1)
var opal = asciidoctor.Opal; (2)

var processor = null;
var useExtensions = true;

if (useExtensions) {
  processor = asciidoctor.Asciidoctor(true); (3)
else {
  processor = asciidoctor.Asciidoctor(); (4)

var content = "[*Asciidoctor*] " +
    "running on[_Opal_] " +
    "brings AsciiDoc to Node.js!";
var options = opal.hash2(
    ['doctype', 'attributes'],
    {doctype: 'inline', attributes: ['showtitle']});
var html = processor.$convert(content, options); (5)
console.log(html); (6)
1 Load the Asciidoctor.js library
2 Retrieve and alias the top-level Opal namespace
3 Instantiate Asciidoctor with extensions enabled
4 Instantiate Asciidoctor without extensions
5 Convert AsciiDoc content to HTML5 using Asciidoctor.js
6 Print the HTML5 output to the console

Save the file as sample.js and run it using the node command:

$ node sample.js

You should see the following output in your terminal:

<a href=""><strong>Asciidoctor</strong></a> running on <a href=""><em>Opal</em></a> brings AsciiDoc to Node.js!</p>
To be successful with Asciidoctor.js, it’s important to understand how to work with Ruby objects in the JavaScript environment. We recommend that you browse the Opal documentation to learn how method names are mapped and what data types it expects.

See the Back-end development guide to learn more about the npm package.

Asciidoctor.js is heating up on Node

Node.js is where the hottest JavaScript is happening and npm is the package manager that manages and distributes that hotness. We wanted Asciidoctor.js to be a part of this ecosystem. We also needed it there to start building tools. That’s why we took the first step of packaging Asciidoctor.js as an npm package…​in fact, several! Asciidoctor now has a new playground!

Here are the npm packages that are published:


the main npm package for Asciidoctor.js


an npm package for processing AsciiDoc source files in your Grunt project

Here’s how the community is playing with these packages already:

asciidoc-preview (Atom Editor)

A plugin for Atom that shows you a preview of your document while you type!

asciidoc-preview (Brackets Editor)

An extension for Brackets that shows you a preview of your document while you type!


a static website generator for Grunt by @tedbergeron

Of course there are still challenges, but we’ll solve them. Head over to the Asciidoctor.js project to get involved.

Let us play this new game!

Asciidoctor.js on the JVM

You read that right. The browser ain’t the only JavaScript game in town. (And we’re not talking about JavaScript engines that have escaped from the browser, like Node.js.) We’re talking about the most polyglot of polyglot runtimes, the JVM.

Alex Soto is working at getting Asciidoctor.js integrated into AsciidoctorJ so you can use it on the JVM using Nashorn, dynjs and other JavaScript engines that run on it. The AsciidocFX project is already using Asciidoctor.js on Nashorn, so it’s more than just an idea!

There are still several challenges to tackle to ensure Asciidoctor.js runs smoothly on the JVM, such as getting includes working. Head over to the AsciidoctorJ project to get involved and help make it happen!


The alignment of Asciidoctor.js with Asciidoctor core was a major effort. It required input from a lot of people and they really pulled together to meet this challenge.

We want to especially thank the Opal developers, notably Adam Beynon, meh and Elia Schito, for making Asciidoctor.js happen. They were very responsive to our effort, making changes and fixes to Opal and generally providing input that allowed us to continuously move forward.

We also want to thank Anthonny Quérouil for crafting a Grunt build to compile, aggregate and compress Asciidoctor.js and for helping to get the artifacts published to Bower and npm.

Thanks to everyone who tested Asciidoctor.js, either directly or by using the tools. Your participation has helped Asciidoctor.js become the real deal!

If you have questions or feedback, we encourage you to participate in the discussion list. Talk to you there!