Bootstrapping An {ojs} Quarto Document With An Observable Notebook

Quarto is amazing! And, it’s eating the world! OK. Perhaps not the entire world. But it’s still amazing!

If you browse around the HQ, you’ll find many interesting notebooks. You may even have a few yourself! Wouldn’t it be great if you could just import an Observable notebook right into Quarto? Well, now you can.

#' Transform an Observable Notebook into a Quarto project
#' This will yank the cells from a live Observable notebook and turn it into a Quarto project,
#' downloading all the `FileAttachments` as well.
#' @param ohq_ref either a short ref (e.g. `@@hrbrmstr/just-one-more-thing`) or a full
#'     URL to a published Observable notebook
#' @param output_dir quarto project directory (will be created if not already present)
#' @param quarto_filename if `NULL` (the default) the name will be the slug (e.g. `just-one-more-thing`
#'     as in the `ohq_ref` param eample) with `.qmd` suffix
#' @param echo set `echo` to `true` or `false` in the YAML
ohq_to_quarto <- function(ohq_ref, output_dir, quarto_filename = NULL, echo = FALSE) {

  ohq_ref <- ohq_ref[1]
  if (grepl("^@", ohq_ref)) ohq_ref <- sprintf("", ohq_ref)

  output_dir <- output_dir[1]
  if (!dir.exists(output_dir)) dir.create(output_dir)

  quarto_filename <- quarto_filename[1]

  pg <- rvest::read_html(ohq_ref)

  pg |> 
    html_nodes("script#__NEXT_DATA__") |> 
    html_text() |> 
    jsonlite::fromJSON() -> x

  meta <- x$props$pageProps$initialNotebook
  nodes <- x$props$pageProps$initialNotebook$nodes

  if (is.null(quarto_filename)) quarto_filename <- sprintf("%.qmd", meta$slug)

    sprintf("title: '%s'", meta$title), 
    "format: html", 
    if (echo) "echo: true" else "echo: false",
    purrr::map2(nodes$value, nodes$mode, ~{

          .y == "md" ~ sprintf("md`%s`", .x),
          .y == "html" ~ sprintf("html`%s`", .x),
          TRUE ~ .x

  ) |> 
    purrr::flatten_chr() |> 
      file = file.path(output_dir, quarto_filename), 
      sep = "\n"

  if (length(meta$files)) {
    if (nrow(meta$files) > 0) {
        meta$files$name, ~{
            url = .x,
            destfile = file.path(output_dir, .y),
            quiet = TRUE


You can try that out with my Columbo notebook:

  ohq_ref = "@hrbrmstr/just-one-more-thing", 
  output_dir = "~/Development/columbo",
  quarto_filename = "columbo.qmd",
  echo = FALSE

That will download the CSV file into the specified directory and convert the cells to a .qmd. You can download that example file, but you’ll need the data to run it (or just run the converter).

This is what the directory tree looks like after the script is run and the document is rendered:

├── columbo.html
├── columbo.qmd
├── columbo_data.csv
└── columbo_files
    └── libs
        ├── bootstrap
        │   ├── bootstrap-icons.css
        │   ├── bootstrap-icons.woff
        │   ├── bootstrap.min.css
        │   └── bootstrap.min.js
        ├── clipboard
        │   └── clipboard.min.js
        ├── quarto-html
        │   ├── anchor.min.js
        │   ├── popper.min.js
        │   ├── quarto-syntax-highlighting.css
        │   ├── quarto.js
        │   ├── tippy.css
        │   └── tippy.umd.min.js
        └── quarto-ojs
            ├── quarto-ojs-runtime.js
            └── quarto-ojs.css

The function has not been battle tested, and it’s limited to the current functionality, but it should do what it says on the tin.

I’ll turn this into a Rust binary so it’s more usable outside of the R ecosystem.

You can try out a fledgling Rust version here.

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2 Comments Bootstrapping An {ojs} Quarto Document With An Observable Notebook

  1. Pingback: Amorcer un document Quarto {ojs} avec un bloc-notes observable – Technique de pointe

  2. Pingback: Bootstrapping An {ojs} Quarto Document With An Observable Notebook | R-bloggers

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