Simple Common Mark Editor

The source code for this chapter can be found here.

In this chapter, we will create a useful program for editing text with Markdown syntax, particularly the Common Mark flavor of Markdown, and rendering that text into a live HTML preview as text is entered into the program. We will also be using file chooser dialogs for opening and saving files, and hashing the buffer to know when the save button should be enabled. Once completed, you should have an understanding of how to use not only the gtk crate, but gdk, pango, webkit2gtk, and sourceview as well.

This chapter was actually written with the completed program that we are going to build. So you could say that this tutorial is now fully self-hosted and is eating it's own dog food.

HTML is allowed to be written in-line within this flavor of Markdown, so it is possible to mix and match HTML with Markdown in the editor, and to see it rendered properly on the right.


It's good to have an understanding of how to use types like RwLock and Mutex before proceeding, as they will be utilized to maintain external state of a custom type. They allow for otherwise immutable values to be mutably borrowed across multiple threads and closures.


Your dependency list should look similar to the following:

gdk = "0.6"
horrorshow = "0.6.2"
pango = "0.2.0"
pulldown-cmark = "0.1.0"
tiny-keccak = "1.4.0"
webkit2gtk = "0.2"

features = ["v3_18"]
version = "0.2"

features = ["v3_22"]
version = "0.2"


One will note that we have introduced a few new crates to the mix. Google has provided the pulldown-cmark crate, which provides a pull parser for Common Mark Markdown syntax, and thereby allows us to convert Markdown into HTML.


We will be using a hashing algorithm to determine when the save button should be sensitive or not. Basically, we will hash the buffer upon each key press and compare it to the saved file's hash. If the hashes match, the save button shall be enabled. Otherwise, the save button will be disabled.s


This will provide access to the GtkSourceView widget that we will be using to create the code editor that our editor will be using for editing Markdown.


This will provide the GtkWebView widget which we will be using to render a live preview of our edited Markdown.


This will enable us to edit the font in the GtkSourceView.


We will use this to act upon certain key presses