Crate mdbook

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mdBook is a tool for rendering a collection of markdown documents into a form more suitable for end users like HTML or EPUB. It offers a command line interface, but this crate can be used if more control is required.

This is the API doc, the user guide is also available if you want information about the command line tool, format, structure etc. It is also rendered with mdBook to showcase the features and default theme.

Some reasons why you would want to use the crate (over the cli):

  • Integrate mdbook in a current project
  • Extend the capabilities of mdBook
  • Do some processing or test before building your book
  • Accessing the public API to help create a new Renderer

Note: While we try to ensure mdbook’s command-line interface and behaviour are backwards compatible, the tool’s internals are still evolving and being iterated on. If you wish to prevent accidental breakages it is recommended to pin any tools building on top of the mdbook crate to a specific release.


If creating a new book from scratch, you’ll want to get a BookBuilder via the MDBook::init() method.

use mdbook::MDBook;
use mdbook::config::Config;

let root_dir = "/path/to/book/root";

// create a default config and change a couple things
let mut cfg = Config::default(); = Some("My Book".to_string());"Michael-F-Bryan".to_string());

    .expect("Book generation failed");

You can also load an existing book and build it.

use mdbook::MDBook;

let root_dir = "/path/to/book/root";

let mut md = MDBook::load(root_dir)
    .expect("Unable to load the book");"Building failed");

§Implementing a new Backend

mdbook has a fairly flexible mechanism for creating additional backends for your book. The general idea is you’ll add an extra table in the book’s book.toml which specifies an executable to be invoked by mdbook. This executable will then be called during a build, with an in-memory representation (RenderContext) of the book being passed to the subprocess via stdin.

The RenderContext gives the backend access to the contents of book.toml and lets it know which directory all generated artefacts should be placed in. For a much more in-depth explanation, consult the relevant chapter in the For Developers section of the user guide.

To make creating a backend easier, the mdbook crate can be imported directly, making deserializing the RenderContext easy and giving you access to the various methods for working with the Config.



  • The internal representation of a book and infrastructure for loading it from disk and building it.
  • Mdbook’s configuration system.
  • The error types used through out this crate.
  • Book preprocessing.
  • mdbook’s low level rendering interface.