March 10, 2007 will

BBCode Python Module

In the last few weeks I have been tinkering with a dynamic website created with Turbogears, but that's not what this blog entry is about. The website I have in mind is similar to a forum in that most of the content come from the users (can't tell you exactly what it is just yet). I wanted a way for users to post comments with simple formatting, but I didn't want to let them enter straight html - for all the problems that would cause. No doubt, some wise-guy would figure out that he could enter the <blink> tag! So I decided to implement something like BBCode, which I dubbed 'Post Markup'.

But once I came close to finishing Post Markup, I realised it was so much like BBCode, it was BBCode (which doesn't seem to have any strict definition anyway). My BBCode parser is deliberately quite relaxed, it will try to make sense of the BBCode rather than throwing errors. It will close open tags as well as handle overlapping tags so that it always produces valid XHTML snippets.

You can download here. This code is 'politeware', you may use it for any purpose you want as long as you say 'thank you' and you promise not to sue me if it breaks! Let me know if you have any suggestions or bug-fixes.

Here's a quick example of basic use.

import postmarkup

markup = postmarkup.PostMarkup().default_tags()
bbcode = "[b]Hello, World![/b]"

print markup.render_to_html(bbcode)

There are comments in the module. If you have any questions, please email or (better) post a comment here so I can build up documentation.

The following is a cut and paste of the test output. It shows the basic tags (bold, italic etc) and more advanced tags.

[s]Strike through[/s]
Strike through
[b]bold [i]bold and italic[/b] italic[/i]
bold bold and italic italic
[google]Will McGugan[/google]
Will McGugan [Google]
[wiki Will McGugan]Look up my name in Wikipedia[/wiki]
Look up my name in Wikipedia [Wikipedia]
[link]My homepage[/link]
My homepage []
[link][/link] []
[quote Will said...]BBCode is very cool[/quote]
Will said...

BBCode is very cool

[b]Long test[/b]

New lines characters are converted to breaks. Tags my be [b]ove[i]rl[/b]apped[/i].

[i]Open tags will be closed.
Long test

New lines characters are converted to breaks. Tags my be overlapped.

Open tags will be closed.
Use Markdown for formatting
*Italic* **Bold** `inline code` Links to [Google]( > This is a quote > ```python import this ```
your comment will be previewed here
Jan Pöschko

This is great! Thank you a lot!


BBCode Python Module...

Will McGugan recently wrote about the BBCode python module he created.  This could useful for my (yet to be released) blog software ....


Thank you! Your Module will be very useful for me.

ugo pozo

Thank you a lot. This will save me a great amount of time!


Thanks a lot! I love it!

Werner Hartnagel

Thank you, your BBCode Parser works pretty fine.
There's a newer package around at:


thanx a lot...! i can use this very well in my next django app...

everything i now need is the same for wiki syntax and i will rock the world! :D


If the purpose of expanding BBCode into full HTML is to save effort, typing and learning then my favoured format for links is:

[|anchor text]

to expand into

anchor text

which is the method used on e2

I am working on my own "html shorthand to longhand converter" and your approach has been helpful... thanks.


ermm last post didnt work but you should get the idea


Thanks (as required by the politeware license you stated), I'll be using this quite extensively :)

A Thousand Thanks (and shall flowers blossom in your garden) !
Politeware… mmmh… neat licence for a neat work !
Thanxs a lot ! i think it will be very usefull for me !
good work !
Markus Ullmann
Thanks much :) Will use it for our new clan page. Wondering if I should start contributing a C version of it for more speeeeeeeed :D
Thanks, very useful. But is there any package for transforming html back to bbcode?
Thanks for this. I started writing my own and was starting to get a little frustrated when a friend pointed me to this site.

This will save me a lot of time :)
resma k

Enjoyed reading the article above, really explains everything in detail, the article is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles Python online Training