need a textile engine look no further than plextile

In finishing up the first release of JUG Nexus, the open source engine ( behind the new Memphis JUG website, I needed to put a good Textile engine in place. I really don't care for writing actual HTML in a content management system, and JUG Nexus being a lightweight CMS, I wanted a lightweight markup syntax for entering the details of upcoming JUG meetings. Textile is exactly that, and is also used for entering content into the very useful JUGEvents system produced by JUG Padova for the Java User Group community at large. I tried out several different engines, and none of them seemed to be very robust when it came to edge cases in the markup. For example, if I want to produce a hyperlink to a website, the textile format is the following:

"Linked Text":

This syntax will result in the following HTML:

<a href="">Linked Text</a>

Unfortunately, if you have a bang (!) in your “Linked Text,” most of the Textile engines that I used would not recognize it as an HTML link. Plextile does!

The only drawback, however minimal, to using Plextile is that it does not come with a pre-packaged JAR file. You have to take the compiled code and JAR it yourself. Now, for free, I'll include how I integrated Plextile with Grails. Grails has a very nice codec feature that provides a facility to register encoders and decoders of textual data as methods on any object. Grails searches for classes following the convention XCodec and dynamically registers encodeAsX and decodeX methods on java.lang.Object so that any data can be encoded and decoded. Enter the TextileCodec:

import com.plink.plextile.TextParser

class TextileCodec {

   static encode = {str ->
      new TextParser().parseTextile(str, true)


Believe it or not, that's it! Here's the GSP template for rendering a JUG meeting:

<div class="post">
  <h2>${event.title}<br/><br/><g:formatDate format="EEEE, MMMM dd, yyyy" date="${event.startTime}"/><br/><g:formatDate format="h:mm" date="${event.startTime}"/>-<g:formatDate format="h:mm a" date="${event.endTime}"/><br/><g:if test="${!event.archived}"><a href="${event.jugEventsId}">Click HERE to register!</a></g:if></h2>
  <div class="entry">
    <h2 class="title">Speaker/Topic:</h2>
    <h2 class="title">Location/Directions:</h2>


Matt Stine
Executive Director, Architecture

My research interests lean/agile software development methodologies, DevOps, architectural principles/patterns/practices, and programming paradigms.