mdbook is mainly used as a command line tool, you can also import the
underlying library directly and use that to manage a book. It also has a fairly
flexible plugin mechanism, allowing you to create your own custom tooling and
consumers (often referred to as backends) if you need to do some analysis of
the book or render it in a different format.
The For Developers chapters are here to show you the more advanced usage of
The two main ways a developer can hook into the book's build process is via,
The process of rendering a book project goes through several steps.
- Load the book
- Parse the
book.toml, falling back to the default
Configif it doesn't exist
- Load the book chapters into memory
- Discover which preprocessors/backends should be used
- Parse the
- For each backend:
- Run all the preprocessors.
- Call the backend to render the processed result.
mdbook binary is just a wrapper around the
mdbook crate, exposing its
functionality as a command-line program. As such it is quite easy to create your
own programs which use
mdbook internally, adding your own functionality (e.g.
a custom preprocessor) or tweaking the build process.
The easiest way to find out how to use the
mdbook crate is by looking at the
API Docs. The top level documentation explains how one would use the
MDBook type to load and build a book, while the config module gives a good
explanation on the configuration system.