Rendering the preview

How the preview of the plugin (usually on the right side of the editor) is rendered.

Rendering AsciiDoc to HTML

The central class and method to create AsciiDoc from HTML is AsciiDoc.render(). It is implemented as a singleton.

It registers custom Asciidoctor extensions that are needed to improve the preview. It also enables custom extensions in the .asciidoctorconfig folder.

Displaying the HTML as a preview

There are three different preview implementations:

  • JeditorHtmlPanel (for Swing)

  • JavaFxHtmlPanel (for JavaFX)

  • AsciiDocJCEFHtmlPanel (for JCEF, an embedded Chrome).

The Swing preview will run on all JDKs and environments. It has very limited functionality as it doesn’t support JavaScript. Its capabilities to display HTML and CSS are limited. Therefore, the preview is not up-to-standards anymore.

The JavaFX preview is the current default preview. It is available when the user is running 64bit JDK with JavaFX (the default JDK for JetBrains IDE). Starting with release 2020.2 JetBrains doesn’t ship JavaFX pre-bundled. Users can install the JavaFX for plugins on 64bit JREs to re-enable the JavaFX preview.

The JCEF preview is available from IntelliJ 2020.2 onwards when running the IDE with JetBrains Runtime.

The JavaFX and JCEF previews use HTML enriched with CSS and JavaScript. They use JavaScript to scroll the preview to the current position: once the user moves the cursor, the cursor line is transmitted to the preview using scrollToLine() and repositions the preview using JavaScript.

When the user interacts with the JavaFX or JCEF preview (for example clicks on a text or a link), there is a bridge JavaPanelBridge back from JavaScript to Java to trigger actions like scrolling the editor or opening a link in the browser.

Debugging the preview

Developers can log information from the JavaFX or JCEF preview the preview using:


This will call the method JavaPanelBridge#log, an inner class of JavaFxHtmlPanel for the JavaFX preview and myBrowserLog.addHandler for the JCEF preview.