- See Also
- Version History
- Additional Credits
- Copyright and License
Do the bulk of the conversion work.
Quotes to entities.
Call the individual dash conversion to entities functions.
Call the individual ellipse conversion to entities functions.
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with "educated" curly quote HTML entities. Example input: "Isn't this fun?" Example output: “Isn’t this fun?”
Replace double (back)ticks w/ HTML entities.
Replace single (back)ticks w/ HTML entities.
Dashes to HTML entity
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with each instance of "--" translated to an em-dash HTML entity.
Dashes to entities.
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with each instance of "--" translated to an en-dash HTML entity, and each "---" translated to an em-dash HTML entity.
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with each instance of "--" translated to an em-dash HTML entity, and each "---" translated to an en-dash HTML entity. Two reasons why: First, unlike the en- and em-dash syntax supported by EducateDashesOldSchool(), it's compatible with existing entries written before SmartyPants 1.1, back when "--" was only used for em-dashes. Second, em-dashes are more common than en-dashes, and so it sort of makes sense that the shortcut should be shorter to type. (Thanks to Aaron Swartz for the idea.)
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with each instance of "..." translated to an ellipsis HTML entity. Example input: Huh...? Example output: Huh…?
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with each SmartyPants HTML entity translated to its ASCII counterpart. Example input: “Hello — world.” Example output: "Hello -- world."
Return the version of SmartyPants.
Parameter: String. Returns: The string, with after processing the following backslash escape sequences. This is useful if you want to force a "dumb" quote or other character to appear. Escape Value ------ ----- \\ \ \" " \' ' \. . \- - \` `
Text::SmartyPants - cute little punctuation assistant
SmartyPants is a free web publishing plug-in for Movable Type, Blosxom, and BBEdit that easily translates plain ASCII punctuation characters into "smart" typographic punctuation HTML entities.
SmartyPants can perform the following transformations:
Straight quotes ( " and ' ) into "curly" quote HTML entities
Backticks-style quotes (``like this'') into "curly" quote HTML entities
---) into en- and em-dash entities
Three consecutive dots (
...) into an ellipsis entity
This means you can write, edit, and save your posts using plain old ASCII straight quotes, plain dashes, and plain dots, but your published posts (and final HTML output) will appear with smart quotes, em-dashes, and proper ellipses.
SmartyPants is a combination plug-in -- the same file works with Movable Type, Blosxom, and BBEdit. It can also be used from a Unix-style command-line. Version requirements and installation instructions for each of these tools can be found in the corresponding sub-section under "Installation", below.
SmartyPants does not modify characters within
<script> tag blocks. Typically, these tags are used to display text where smart quotes and other "smart punctuation" would not be appropriate, such as source code or example markup.
If you need to use literal straight quotes (or plain hyphens and periods), SmartyPants accepts the following backslash escape sequences to force non-smart punctuation. It does so by transforming the escape sequence into a decimal-encoded HTML entity:
Escape Value Character ------ ----- --------- \\ \ \ \" " " \' ' ' \. . . \- - - \` ` `
This is useful, for example, when you want to use straight quotes as foot and inch marks: 6'2" tall; a 17" iMac.
Movable Type users should also note that SmartyPants can work in conjunction with Brad Choate's MT-Textile plug-in:
MT-Textile is a port of Dean Allen's original Textile project to Perl and Movable Type. MT-Textile by itself only translates Textile markup to HTML. However, if SmartyPants is also installed, MT-Textile will call on SmartyPants to educate quotes, dashes, and ellipses, automatically. Using SmartyPants in conjunction with MT-Textile requires no modifications to your Movable Type templates.
Textile is Dean Allen's "humane web text generator", an easy-to-write and easy-to-read shorthand for writing text for the web. An online Textile web application is available at Mr. Allen's site:
SmartyPants works with Movable Type version 2.5 or later.
Copy the "SmartyPants.pl" file into your Movable Type "plugins" directory. The "plugins" directory should be in the same directory as "mt.cgi"; if it doesn't already exist, use your FTP program to create it. Your installation should look like this:
If you're using SmartyPants with Brad Choate's MT-Textile, you're done.
If not, to activate SmartyPants on your weblog, you need to edit your MT templates. The easiest way is to add the
smarty_pantsattribute to each MT template tag whose contents you wish to apply SmartyPants' transformations. Obvious tags would include
MTEntryMore. SmartyPants should work within any MT content tag.
For example, to apply SmartyPants to your entry titles:
The value passed to
smarty_pantsspecifies the way SmartyPants works. See "Options", below, for full details on all of the supported options.
SmartyPants works with Blosxom version 2.0 or later.
Rename the "SmartyPants.pl" plug-in to "SmartyPants" (case is important). Movable Type requires plug-ins to have a ".pl" extension; Blosxom forbids it (at least as of this writing).
Copy the "SmartyPants" plug-in file to your Blosxom plug-ins folder. If you're not sure where your Blosxom plug-ins folder is, see the Blosxom documentation for information.
That's it. The entries in your weblog should now automatically have SmartyPants' default transformations applied.
If you wish to configure SmartyPants' behavior, open the "SmartyPants" plug-in, and edit the value of the
$smartypants_attrconfiguration variable, located near the top of the script. The default value is 1; see "Options", below, for the full list of supported values.
SmartyPants works with BBEdit 6.1 or later on Mac OS X; and BBEdit 5.1 or later on Mac OS 9 or earlier (provided you have MacPerl installed).
Copy the "SmartyPants.pl" file to appropriate filters folder in your "BBEdit Support" folder. On Mac OS X, this should be:
BBEdit Support:Unix Support:Unix Filters:
On Mac OS 9 or earlier, this should be:
BBEdit Support:MacPerl Support: Perl Filters:
See the BBEdit documentation for more details on the location of these folders.
You can rename "SmartyPants.pl" to whatever you wish.
That's it. To use SmartyPants, select some text in a BBEdit document, then choose SmartyPants from the Filters sub-menu or the Filters floating palette. On Mac OS 9, the Filters sub-menu is in the "Camel" menu; on Mac OS X, it is in the "#!" menu.
If you wish to configure SmartyPants' behavior, open the SmartyPants file and edit the value of the
$smartypants_attrconfiguration variable, located near the top of the script. The default value is 1; see "Options", below, for the full list of supported values.
For MT users, the
smarty_pants template tag attribute is where you specify configuration options. For Blosxom and BBEdit users, settings are specified by editing the value of the
$smartypants_attr variable in the script itself.
Numeric values are the easiest way to configure SmartyPants' behavior:
Suppress all transformations. (Do nothing.)
Performs default SmartyPants transformations: quotes (including ``backticks'' -style), em-dashes, and ellipses. "--" (dash dash) is used to signify an em-dash; there is no support for en-dashes.
Same as smarty_pants="1", except that it uses the old-school typewriter shorthand for dashes: "--" (dash dash) for en-dashes, "---" (dash dash dash) for em-dashes.
Same as smarty_pants="2", but inverts the shorthand for dashes: "--" (dash dash) for em-dashes, and "---" (dash dash dash) for en-dashes.
Stupefy mode. Reverses the SmartyPants transformation process, turning the HTML entities produced by SmartyPants into their ASCII equivalents. E.g. "“" is turned into a simple double-quote ("), "—" is turned into two dashes, etc. This is useful if you are using SmartyPants from Brad Choate's MT-Textile text filter, but wish to suppress smart punctuation in specific MT templates, such as RSS feeds. Text filters do their work before templates are processed; but you can use smarty_pants="-1" to reverse the transformations in specific templates.
The following single-character attribute values can be combined to toggle individual transformations from within the smarty_pants attribute. For example, to educate normal quotes and em-dashes, but not ellipses or ``backticks'' -style quotes:
Educates normal quote characters: (") and (').
Educates ``backticks'' -style double quotes.
Educates ``backticks'' -style double quotes and `single' quotes.
Educates em-dashes and en-dashes, using old-school typewriter shorthand: (dash dash) for en-dashes, (dash dash dash) for em-dashes.
Educates em-dashes and en-dashes, using inverted old-school typewriter shorthand: (dash dash) for em-dashes, (dash dash dash) for en-dashes.
Translates any instance of
"into a normal double-quote character. This should be of no interest to most people, but of particular interest to anyone who writes their posts using Dreamweaver, as Dreamweaver inexplicably uses this entity to represent a literal double-quote character. SmartyPants only educates normal quotes, not entities (because ordinarily, entities are used for the explicit purpose of representing the specific character they represent). The "w" option must be used in conjunction with one (or both) of the other quote options ("q" or "b"). Thus, if you wish to apply all SmartyPants transformations (quotes, en- and em-dashes, and ellipses) and also translate
"entities into regular quotes so SmartyPants can educate them, you should pass the following to the smarty_pants attribute:
For Blosxom and BBEdit users, set:
my $smartypants_attr = "qDew";
The following Movable Type attributes are supported only for compatibility with older versions of SmartyPants. They are obsoleted by the
smarty_pants attribute, which offers more control than these individual attributes. If you're setting up SmartyPants for the first time, you should use the
SmartyPants attribute instead.
Blosxom and BBEdit users should simply ignore this section.
The smart_quotes attribute accepts the following values:
Suppress all quote education. (Do nothing.)
Default behavior. Educates normal quote characters: (") and (').
Educate ``backticks'' -style double quotes (in addition to educating regular quotes). Transforms each instance of two consecutive backtick characters (
``) into an opening double-quote, and each instance of two consecutive apostrophes (
'') into a closing double-quote.
The smart_dashes attribute accepts the following values:
Suppress dash education. (Do nothing.)
Default behavior. Transforms each instance of "--" (dash dash) into an HTML entity-encoded em-dash.
Educates both en- and em-dashes, using the old-school typewriter shorthand for dashes. Each instance of "--" (dash dash) is turned into an HTML entity-encoded en-dash; each instance of "---" (dash dash dash) is turned into an em-dash.
Same as smart_dashes="2", but inverts the shorthand, using "--" (dash dash) for em-dashes, and "---" (dash dash dash) for en-dashes. Although somewhat counterintuitive in that the longer shortcut is used for the shorter dash, this syntax is backwards compatible with SmartyPants 1.0's original syntax, which used (dash dash) for em-dashes.
The smart_ellipses attribute accepts the following values:
Suppress ellipsis education. (Do nothing.)
Default behavior. Transforms each instance of "..." (dot dot dot) into an HTML entity-encoded ellipsis. If there are four consecutive dots, SmartyPants assumes this means "full stop" followed by "ellipsis".
If you include this tag in a Movable Type template:
it will be replaced with a string representing the version number of the installed version of SmartyPants, e.g. "1.2".
For one thing, you might not care.
Most normal, mentally stable individuals do not take notice of proper typographic punctuation. Many design and typography nerds, however, break out in a nasty rash when they encounter, say, a restaurant sign that uses a straight apostrophe to spell "Joe's".
If you're the sort of person who just doesn't care, you might well want to continue not caring. Using straight quotes -- and sticking to the 7-bit ASCII character set in general -- is certainly a simpler way to live.
Even if you do care about accurate typography, you still might want to think twice before educating the quote characters in your weblog. One side effect of publishing curly quote HTML entities is that it makes your weblog a bit harder for others to quote from using copy-and-paste. What happens is that when someone copies text from your blog, the copied text contains the 8-bit curly quote characters (as well as the 8-bit characters for em-dashes and ellipses, if you use these options). These characters are not standard across different text encoding methods, which is why they need to be encoded as HTML entities.
People copying text from your weblog, however, may not notice that you're using curly quotes, and they'll go ahead and paste the unencoded 8-bit characters copied from their browser into an email message or their own weblog. When pasted as raw "smart quotes", these characters are likely to get mangled beyond recognition.
That said, my own opinion is that any decent text editor or email client makes it easy to stupefy smart quote characters into their 7-bit equivalents, and I don't consider it my problem if you're using an indecent text editor or email client.
One situation in which quotes will get curled the wrong way is when apostrophes are used at the start of leading contractions. For example:
the '80s 'Twas the night before Christmas.
In both cases above, SmartyPants will turn the apostrophes into opening single-quotes, when in fact they should be closing ones. I don't think this problem can be solved in the general case -- every word processor I've tried gets this wrong as well. In such cases, it's best to use the proper HTML entity for closing single-quotes (
’) by hand.
(I should also note that my personal style is to abbreviate decades like this:
so admittedly, I'm not all that interested in solving this problem.)
To file bug reports or feature requests (other than topics listed in the Caveats section above) please send email to:
If the bug involves quotes being curled the wrong way, please send example text to illustrate.
This plug-in effectively obsoletes the technique documented here:
However, the above instructions may still be of interest if for some reason you are still running an older version of Movable Type.
1.0: Wed Nov 13, 2002 Initial release. 1.1: Wed Feb 5, 2003 + The smart_dashes template attribute now offers an option to use "--" for *en* dashes, and "---" for *em* dashes. + The default smart_dashes behavior now simply translates "--" (dash dash) into an em-dash. Previously, it would look for " -- " (space dash dash space), which was dumb, since many people do not use spaces around their em dashes. + Using the smarty_pants attribute with a value of "2" will do the same thing as smarty_pants="1", with one difference: it will use the new shortcuts for en- and em-dashes. + Closing quotes (single and double) were incorrectly curled in situations like this: "<a>foo</a>", where the comma could be just about any punctuation character. Fixed. + Added <kbd> to the list of tags in which text shouldn't be educated. 1.2: Thu Feb 27, 2003 + SmartyPants is now a combination plug-in, supporting both Movable Type (2.5 or later) and Blosxom (2.0 or later). It also works as a BBEdit text filter and standalone command-line Perl program. Thanks to Rael Dornfest for the initial Blosxom port (and for the excellent Blosxom plug-in API). + SmartyPants now accepts the following backslash escapes, to force non-smart punctuation. It does so by transforming the escape sequence into a decimal-encoded HTML entity: Escape Value Character ------ ----- --------- \\ \ \ \" " " \' ' ' \. . . \- - - \` ` ` Note that this could produce different results than previous versions of SmartyPants, if for some reason you have an article containing one or more of these sequences. (Thanks to Charles Wiltgen for the suggestion.) + Added a new option to support inverted en- and em-dash notation: "--" for em-dashes, "---" for en-dashes. This is compatible with SmartyPants' original "--" syntax for em-dashes, but also allows you to specify en-dashes. It can be invoked by using smart_dashes="3", smarty_pants="3", or smarty_pants="i". (Suggested by Aaron Swartz.) + Added a new option to automatically convert " entities into regular double-quotes before sending text to EducateQuotes() for processing. This is mainly for the benefit of people who write posts using Dreamweaver, which substitutes this entity for any literal quote char. The one and only way to invoke this option is to use the letter shortcuts for the smarty_pants attribute; the shortcut for this option is "w" (for Dream_w_eaver). (Suggested by Jonathon Delacour.) + Added <script> to the list of tags in which SmartyPants doesn't touch the contents. + Fixed a very subtle bug that would occur if a quote was the very last character in a body of text, preceded immediately by a tag. Lacking any context, previous versions of SmartyPants would turn this into an opening quote mark. It's now correctly turned into a closing one. + Opening quotes were being curled the wrong way when the subsequent character was punctuation. E.g.: "a '.foo' file". Fixed. + New MT global template tag: <$MTSmartyPantsVersion$> Prints the version number of SmartyPants, e.g. "1.2". 1.2.1: Mon Mar 10, 2003 + New "stupefy mode" for smarty_pants attribute. If you set smarty_pants="-1" SmartyPants will perform reverse transformations, turning HTML entities into plain ASCII equivalents. E.g. "“" is turned into a simple double-quote ("), "—" is turned into two dashes, etc. This is useful if you are using SmartyPants from Brad Choate's MT-Textile text filter, but wish to suppress smart punctuation in specific MT templates, such as RSS feeds. Text filters do their work before templates are processed; but you can use smarty_pants="-1" to reverse the transformations in specific templates. + Replaced the POSIX-style regex character class [:punct:] with an ugly hard-coded normal character class of all punctuation; POSIX classes require Perl 5.6 or later, but SmartyPants still supports back to 5.005. + Several small changes to allow SmartyPants to work when Blosxom is running in static mode. 1.2.2: Thu Mar 13, 2003 + 1.2.1 contained a boneheaded addition which prevented SmartyPants from compiling under Perl 5.005. This has been remedied, and is the only change from 1.2.1. 1.3: Tue 13 May 2003 + Plugged the biggest hole in SmartyPants's smart quotes algorithm. Previous versions were hopelessly confused by single-character quote tokens, such as: <p>"<i>Tricky!</i>"</p> The problem was that the EducateQuotes() function works on each token separately, with no means of getting surrounding context from the previous or next tokens. The solution is to curl these single-character quote tokens as a special case, *before* calling EducateQuotes(). + New single-quotes backtick mode for smarty_pants attribute. The only way to turn it on is to include "B" in the configuration string, e.g. to translate backtick quotes, dashes, and ellipses: smarty_pants="Bde" + Fixed a bug where an opening quote would get curled the wrong way if the quote started with three dots, e.g.: <p>"...meanwhile"</p> + Fixed a bug where opening quotes would get curled the wrong way if there were double sets of quotes within each other, e.g.: <p>"'Some' people."</p> + Due to popular demand, four consecutive dots (....) will now be turned into an ellipsis followed by a period. Previous versions would turn this into a period followed by an ellipsis. If you really want a period-then-ellipsis sequence, escape the first period with a backslash: \.... + Removed "&" from our home-grown punctuation class, since it denotes an entity, not a literal ampersand punctuation character. This fixes a bug where SmartyPants would mis-curl the opening quote in something like this: "…whatever" + SmartyPants has always had a special case where it looks for "'s" in situations like this: <i>Custer</i>'s Last Stand This special case is now case-insensitive.
John Gruber http://daringfireball.net
Portions of this plug-in are based on Brad Choate's nifty MTRegex plug-in. Brad Choate also contributed a few bits of source code to this plug-in. Brad Choate is a fine hacker indeed. (http://bradchoate.com/)
Jeremy Hedley (http://antipixel.com/) and Charles Wiltgen (http://playbacktime.com/) deserve mention for exemplary beta testing.
Rael Dornfest (http://raelity.org/) ported SmartyPants to Blosxom.
Copyright (c) 2003 John Gruber (http://daringfireball.net/) All rights reserved.
Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
* Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
* Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
* Neither the name "SmartyPants" nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.
This software is provided by the copyright holders and contributors "as is" and any express or implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed. In no event shall the copyright owner or contributors be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption) however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of this software, even if advised of the possibility of such damage.