preshrunk-cotton a module for processing textile markup to CHM files

by Jeffrey Armstrong <> Copyright (C) 2010, 2011 Approximatrix, LLC


preshrunk-cotton is a simple Python package for converting a directory tree containing textile files (along with images, html, etc.), batch converting all textile, and compressing the resultant directory tree into a Compressed HTML Help (CHM) file.


Python 2.6+ or 3.1+ Python textile package ( Free Pascal's chmcmd tool (

Please note that preshrunk-cotton does _not_ require the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop. It relies instead on chmcmd, an open-source CHM file generator.

More information is available at:


= Source Directory =

Some notes are necessary concerning the source directory definition. The source directory should contain files written in the textile markup language designated by the ".textile" extension.

The table of contents for the help file is constructed based on the directory structure itself. To label a "chapter" of the help file, which would effectively be a directory, include a file in the directory by the name "title.txt". This file should contain a single line which should be the desired "chapter" title for the current directory. Page entries in the table of contents are automatically generated from the titles of the resultant HTML files.

= Deviation from Strict Textile =

Textile does not specify markup components for making web pages. Rather, the textile markup is used to generate html. To create a complete web page, the results of processing a textile text file through the Python textile module is prepended with "<html>" and "<body>" tags, and their equivalent closing tags are appended to the end of the textile output.

Page titles are determined from the first occurrence of an "h1." markup. For example, if a textile begins with:

h1. Welcome

The resultant html file will contain the following:


The decision to use the first heading as a title is arbitrary.

= For Developers =

preshrunk-cotton contains two basic classes:

TextileProcessor: Class for controlling the conversion of
a textile-containing directory tree into an equivalent html-containing directory tree
CHMProject: Class for generating the necessary XML and
HTML input files and calling chmcmd.

Either is accessible simply by importing the pscotton module.

A convenience function is also provided, tt2chm, which can automate the process of converting a textile-containing directory tree into a CHM file.

= For Users =

The preshrunk-cotton package comes with a script, tt2chm, that effectively implements the tt2chm function from the command line. The usage is simply:

tt2chm <input directory> <output directory>

The resultant CHM file will be located in the top level of the output directory.

Source Code

The source code for preshrunk-cotton is available at:

The authors are listed in AUTHORS.