Advanced Guide of Mistune

Use renderers

You can customize HTML output with your own renderers. Create a subclass of mistune.HTMLRenderer:

class MyRenderer(mistune.HTMLRenderer):
    def codespan(self, text):
        if text.startswith('$') and text.endswith('$'):
            return '<span class="math">' + escape(text) + '</span>'
        return '<code>' + escape(text) + '</code>'

# use customized renderer
markdown = mistune.create_markdown(renderer=MyRenderer())
print(markdown('hi `$a^2=4$`'))

Here is a a list of available renderer functions:

# inline level
text(self, text)
link(self, link, text=None, title=None)
image(self, src, alt="", title=None)
emphasis(self, text)
strong(self, text)
codespan(self, text)
inline_html(self, html)

# block level
paragraph(self, text)
heading(self, text, level)
block_text(self, text)
block_code(self, code, info=None)
block_quote(self, text)
block_html(self, html)
block_error(self, html)
list(self, text, ordered, level, start=None)
list_item(self, text, level)

# provided by strikethrough plugin
strikethrough(self, text)

# provide by table plugin
table(self, text)
table_head(self, text)
table_body(self, text)
table_row(self, text)
table_cell(self, text, align=None, is_head=False)

# provided by footnotes plugin
footnote_ref(self, key, index)
footnotes(self, text)
footnote_item(self, text, key, index)

# Finalize rendered content (define output)
finalize(self, data)

Create plugins

Mistune has some built-in plugins, you can take a look at the source code in mistune/plugins to find out how to write a plugin. Let’s take an example for GitHub Wiki links: [[Page 2|Page 2]].

A mistune plugin usually looks like:

# define regex for Wiki links
    r'\[\['                   # [[
    r'([\s\S]+?\|[\s\S]+?)'   # Page 2|Page 2
    r'\]\](?!\])'             # ]]

# define how to parse matched item
def parse_wiki(inline, m, state):
    # ``inline`` is ``md.inline``, see below
    # ``m`` is matched regex item
    text =
    title, link = text.split('|')
    return 'wiki', link, title

# define how to render HTML
def render_html_wiki(link, title):
    return f'<a href="{link}">{title}</a>'

def plugin_wiki(md):
    # this is an inline grammar, so we register wiki rule into md.inline
    md.inline.register_rule('wiki', WIKI_PATTERN, parse_wiki)

    # add wiki rule into active rules

    # add HTML renderer
    if md.renderer.NAME == 'html':
        md.renderer.register('wiki', render_html_wiki)

# use this plugin
markdown = mistune.create_markdown(plugins=[plugin_wiki])

Get more examples in mistune/plugins.

Write directives

Mistune has some built-in directives that have been presented in the directives part of the documentation. These are defined in the mistune/directives, and these can help writing a new directive.

Let’s try to write a “spoiler” directive, which takes a hint:

from .base import Directive

class Spoiler(Directive):
    def parse(self, block, m, state):
        options = self.parse_options(m)
        if options:
            return {
                'type': 'block_error',
                'raw': 'Spoiler has no options'
        hint ='value')
        text = self.parse_text(m)

        rules = list(block.rules)
        children = block.parse(text, state, rules)
        return {
            'type': 'spoiler',
            'children': children,
            'params': (hint,)

    def __call__(self, md):
        self.register_directive(md, 'spoiler')

        if md.renderer.NAME == 'html':
            md.renderer.register('spoiler', render_html_spoiler)
        elif md.renderer.NAME == 'ast':
            md.renderer.register('spoiler', render_ast_spoiler)

def render_html_spoiler(text, name, hint="Spoiler"):
    html = '<section class="spoiler">\n'
    html += '<p class="spoiler-hint">' + hint + '</p>\n'
    if text:
        html += '<div class="spoiler-text">' + text + '</div>\n'
    return html + '</section>\n'

def render_ast_spoiler(children, hint="Spoiler"):
    return {
        'type': 'spoiler',
        'children': children,
        'hint': hint,

Some design functionalities would be required to make the HTML rendering actually output a spoiler block.