Embedding Regions of Code in Markdown

Regions are snippets of code surrounded by #region and #endregion directives. Regions are not natively supported by TypeScript but for example VSCode recognizes them and allow folding them. You need to put the directives inside single line comments, though, for TypeScript compiler to ignore them.

//#region [-h|-c] <name>
... some code here ...

To attach a region elsewhere in the documentation you need to give it a name. After that you can insert the region anywhere in your markdown using the following syntax. Don't put any other text on the same line.


Note that the name may contain spaces and tabs. So, you can use descriptive names that tell clearly what a regions does. As an example, the following import statements are embedded in a region. With the -c option they appear collapsed when outputted to HTML.

regions imports
import * as path from 'path'
import * as bl from "./block-list";

We are storing all the regions in a dictionary, so their names must be unique. It is possible to omit the name completely, but in that case the region is not stored in the dictionary at all.

interface RegionMap {
    [name: string]: Region

Why would you define a region without a name? You might want to hide parts of the code in the documentation. This is possible by specifying an additional flag which controls how region definitions appear in the documentation. If you call or expand a region in markdown using the <<r:...>> syntax, the region will of course be visible.

The enumeration below lists the possible ways how a region definition is presented in the HTML output.

export enum Visibility { Visible, Hidden, Collapsed }

Region Class

An instance of the following class is created for each region encountered in the code. The properties of the class specify region's name, the file it was defined, and its visibility.

export class Region {
    readonly name: string
    readonly definedInFile: string
    readonly relOutputDir: string
    readonly visibility: Visibility

We also need to store markers designating where the region starts and ends. We use blocks for that. TsTranslator class will ensure that a region aligns with block boundaries.

    private start: bl.BlockList
    private end: bl.BlockList

The dictionary of all defined regions is stored in a static member.

    private static regions: RegionMap = {}

Creating a Region

The constructor just initializes all the properties. When a region is created it is effectively in "open" state. The missing value in the end property signifies that.

    constructor(name: string, start: bl.BlockList, definedInFile: string,
        relOutputFile: string, visibility: Visibility) {
        this.name = name
        this.start = start
        this.end = null
        this.definedInFile = definedInFile
        this.relOutputDir = path.dirname(relOutputFile)
        this.visibility = visibility

Closing a Region

Closing a region sets the last block, after which the regions is ready for use.

    close(end: bl.BlockList) {
        this.end = end

Adding a region

Instead of calling the constructor directly, the users of the class call the static add method to open a new region and to add it in the dictionary. The method makes sure that the region name is unique.

    static add(name: string, start: bl.BlockList, definedInFile: string,
        relOutputFile: string, mode: Visibility): Region {
        let region = this.regions[name]
        if (region)
            throw Error(`Region '${name}' is already defined in file ${region.definedInFile}.
            You cannot have two regions with the same name.`)
        region = new Region(name, start, definedInFile, relOutputFile, mode)
        if (name)
            this.regions[name] = region
        return region

Retrieving a Region

Later on the users can request a region from the dictionary. If it is not found we throw an error, which is probably cought only by the top level exeption handler. So, specifying a wrong name will stop the operation.

    static get(name: string, usedInFile: string): Region {
        let region = this.regions[name]
        if (!region)
            throw Error(`Region <<${name}>> used in file '${usedInFile}' is not defined.
            Make sure that the name is correct and that the source file where it is 
            defined is included in the project.`)
        return region

Expanding a Region

When region is expanded we provide the blocks to be inserted in an iterator. Relative links in the source blocks do not work when blocks are expanded to a new host file. We need to fix them by prepending the relative path from the host directory to the target directory of the source file.

    private hrefRE = /href="([^\/][^:."]*\.html?(#[0-9]*)?)"/gi;

    *expand(relHostPath: string): Iterable<bl.BlockList> {
        let relHostDir = path.dirname(relHostPath)
        let redir = path.relative(relHostDir, this.relOutputDir)
        for (let b = this.start; b && b !== this.end; b = b.next)
            yield bl.BlockList.copy(b, b.contents.replace(
                this.hrefRE, `href="${redir}/$1"`))

Clearing Regions

In watch mode regions will be created again when the same file will be reprocessed. To prevent duplicate regions to be added in the dictionary, we provide a method to remove all the regions defined in a specified file. If no file is given, we clear the whole dictionary.

    static clear(definedInFile?: string) {
        if (!definedInFile) 
            this.regions = {}
                .filter(m => m?.definedInFile == definedInFile)
                .forEach(m => this.regions[m.name] = undefined, this)