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How to Auto-Refresh with Baseprinter

This guide explains how to automatically reload previews of Baseprint document snapshots in your web browser when you save a change to a source text file.





The automatic reloading of a Baseprint preview web page occurs in three stages.

Stage 1: Save Source File Changes from a Text Editor

You can use any text editor to save changes to your source files. The next stage will be triggered when you save a text file that is being monitored by baseprinter.


Some editors, like vim on Linux, by default change files in a way that prevents the proper functioning of file monitoring. Either stick to monitoring a folder or, in the case of vim, use set backupcopy=yes.

Stage 2: Generate New HTML Preview Folder

With the -m/--monitor option of baseprinter, folders or files will be continuously monitored for changes. Upon a folder or file change, the outputs (for Baseprint snapshot, HTML, and/or PDF) will be automatically regenerated.

Press CTRL-C to stop baseprinter when running with the -m/--monitor option.

Stage 3: Preview Web Page Automatically Reloaded

Baseprinter will generate a folder containing a web page preview. The last stage is a local web server that can automatically trigger the reloading of preview web pages viewed in a web browser.

Locally Installed Utility

If you have installed Baseprinter locally, you will need to run a local web server with an automatic reload capability. One such utility is the NPM package live-server.

Using the Container

If you are running Baseprinter via containers, the Baseprinter container image includes a web server that can trigger reloads. It can be used by setting up a second shell function similar to the baseprinter function in step two.

live-baseprinter() {
  podman run --rm -v=.:/mnt -w=/mnt -p=8080:8080 -it \ bash -c "live-server --no-css-inject site & baseprinter -o=site $*"

Once the live-baseprinter shell function is defined, you can run the shell command:

live-baseprinter --defaults mydoc/pandocin.yaml --monitor mydoc -b=baseprint --skip-pdf

This command operates similarly to baseprinter, but an -o=site output option is automatically added. After running this command, you can navigate to http://localhost:8080 to view an HTML preview of the baseprint that reloads automatically.