Adds support for late bound links to DocPad

npm install docpad-plugin-links
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Links plugin for DocPad

A markup agnostic DocPad plug-in for smooth linking in large project documentations.


The plug-in hooks into DocPad's page generation process and replaces ref: prefixes with relative references to the specified file. At the same time it stores the references and validates them against existing files in a project.

Page /index.html

Check out <a href="ref:/b/#my-heading">this section</a> on <a href="ref:/b/">the other page</a>.
Or try <a href="ref:/broken.html">a broken link</a>.

Page /b/

## my heading
This page may **safely** be linked to.

Console Output

~: docpad generate


[docpad-plugin-links] processing documents
[docpad-plugin-links] completed in 11708 ms
[docpad-plugin-links] validating links


[docpad-plugin-links] dead links detected!
  >  /index.html : /broken.html ( /broken.html )
[docpad-plugin-links] link validation summary
  > total: 3
  > found: 2
  > ignored: 0
  > dead: 1

Error: Found dead links (see log)

The plugin may optionally fail if invalid document references are used or in-page links are defined twice.

Use the Plugin

npm install --save docpad-plugin-links


  • Generate in-page heading links based on heading text and <section /> nesting
  • Expand ref:/some/link and ref:asset:/assets/img.png in <a href /> and <img src /> to actual link targets
  • Collect and report dead links



The plugin may be configured via a plugin configuration entry in the docpad.conf.js file:

var conf = {
  plugins: {
    links: { /* plugin configuration */ }

The configuration may look like this

  validate: {
    // whether to fail if errors are detected
    failOnError: true || false, 

    // a pattern for external files that are to be ignored during link checking
    ignoreTargetPattern: /.*external.*/ || null,

    // a pattern for documents to not check for dead links
    ignoreDocumentPattern: /.*summary\.html/
  process: {
    // which headings to process to generate ids for
    headings: [ 'h1', 'h2', 'h3' ],

    // which documents (by meta tag) to include during link generation
    include: [ 'links' ] || 'layouted'

    // which documents (by meta tag) to exclude during link generation
    exclude: [ 'no-link-check' ]

  // which log level to use to display output to the user
  logLevel: 'default' || 'performance' || 'debug' || 'none'

Usage Details

This gives some details on the functionality provided by the plugin.

Lets say you have the document posts/ with ref: prefixed links to other documents:

title: 'Some Document'

[Link to other doc](ref:other-document.html)
[Link to introduction](ref:/index.html#section1-introduction)

The plugin will make sure that

  • ref: prefixed links are expanded to actual document references independant of where posts/ ends up after includes
  • ref: links are recorded and checked for validity after built

The resulting html code will look like this:

<a href="other-document.html">Link to other doc</a>
<a href="../index.html#section1-introduction">Link to introduction</a>

It is possible to expand paths to image urls as well:

<img src="ref:asset:/assets/images/some-image.jpg" />

Instead of using ref: simply use ref:asset: as a prefix to do so. Assuming the document is located under posts/recent/ the resulting HTML looks like this:

<img src="../../assets/images/some-image.jpg" />

In-page Anchor Generation

Lets say the document index.html (linked from contains the following code:

title: 'Index'

<section id="section1">
    Bla blub.
    <section id="sub1">
      <h2>You did not know this!!$$$</h2>
        Special trick.

This plugin will generate in-page anchors for each heading based on its nesting in <section/> elements.

The rules for generation are:

  • concatenate parent section ids and the heading text using dashes
  • slugify the resulting string by
    • removing all non-word characters
    • replacing spaces with dashes
    • lowercasing the result

The resulting HTML code looks like this:

<section id="section1">
  <h1 id="section1-introduction">Introduction</h1>
    Bla blub.
    <section id="sub1">
      <h2 id="section1-sub1-you-did-not-know-this">You did not know this!!$$$</h2>
        Special trick.

Checkout the tests for all supported use cases.

The plugin collects all ref: annotated links and validates them against documents and in-page anchors.

If there is a missmatch between referenced and actual defined anchors the plugin will report that as a dead link:

Dead link in  /posts/mypost.html : /other-post.html ( /other-post.html )

Build the Plugin

# install dependencies
npm install
node_modules/.bin/cake test-setup

# create modules
node_modules/.bin/cake dev

# test
node_modules/.bin/cake test



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