Tyxml is a library for building statically correct HTML and SVG documents.

open Tyxml
let to_ocaml = Html.(a ~a:[a_href "ocaml.org"] [pcdata "OCaml!"])

Using TyXML

Standalone Use

To use TyXML in standalone manner, simply install the tyxml OPAM package, link the tyxml ocamlfind library and open Tyxml.

Use with another library

TyXML combinators can be used in conjunction with other libraries. Please consult the relevant document. For example, Eliom and Js_of_ocaml.

Use with the PPX

TyXML can also be used with the standard HTML syntax, using the PPX syntax extension:

open Tyxml
let%html to_ocaml = "<a href='ocaml.org'>OCaml!</a>"

This syntax is available both while using TyXML standalone, or with another library. In order to do so, install the tyxml-ppx OPAM package and link the tyxml.ppx ocamlfind library.

Creating documents with TyXML

This section assumes you have at your disposal an Html or Svg module, as instructed in the previous section. For standalone use, examples are available in the examples directory.

The documentation for TyXML combinators is provided in Html_sigs.​T and Svg_sigs.​T and is common to all instances of Html and Svg.

The first thing to understand about TyXML is that for most intents and purposes, it is exactly like HTML. As such, the HTML reference is still very useful. For each HTML element or attribute, there is a combinator implementing it. The main differences are that you can use OCaml to manipulate the elements and that invalid markup produces a type error.

In this tutorial, we will build the Mini website. If you prefer the native HTML syntax, you can also use the PPX syntax extension and consult the PPX mini website.

Let us start by building the content of our website. For text, we use the pcdata combinator. In traditional Web fashion, we put everything in a div.

let mycontent =
  div [
    pcdata "This is a fabulous content." ;

The variable mycontent is of type [> `Div] Html.elt. As we can see, the fact that this is a div is reflected in the type. HTML elements are of type elt and have a combinator of the same name, except when it's a reserved OCaml keyword (such as object_).

Our content is fabulous, but for the sake of CSS styling (and still in true Web fashion) we want to add a class to it.

let mycontent =
  div ~a:[a_class ["content"]] [
    pcdata "This is a fabulous content." ;

The a_class creates a new class attribute of type [> `Class] attrib. Similarly to elements, the kind of attribute is reflected in the attrib type. We use the optional argument ~a to pass the list of attributes. This optional argument is available on all element combinators.

In order to add a title to our fabulous content, we use the h1 combinator.

let mycontent =
  div ~a:[a_class ["content"]] [
    h1 [pcdata "A fabulous title"] ;
    pcdata "This is a fabulous content." ;

Naturally, div accepts several children. In TyXML vocabulary, this is a star combinator. There are also unary and nullary combinators, which accept, respectively, one child and zero children.

title is an example of a unary combinator.

let mytitle = title (pcdata "A Fabulous Web Page")

Interlude about type errors

However, what would happen if we were to try to put bold text in our title? This is not specification-compliant! Let's try it.

let mytitle = title (b [pcdata "A Bold Web Page"])
Error: This expression has type ([> Html_types.b ] as 'a) elt
       but an expression was expected of type
         ([< Html_types.title_content_fun ] as 'b) elt = 'b elt
       Type 'a = [> `B ] is not compatible with type 'b = [< `PCDATA ]
       The second variant type does not allow tag(s) `B

As expected, this code does not type-check! The type checker is unfortunately a bit unclear about the source of the error.

It tells us that the given expression has type [> b] elt (indeed, it is produced by a b combinator) but an expression is expected of type [< title_content_fun] elt (which means that is is used as content for a title element). It then tells us that, since [> b] = [> `B] and [< title_content_fun] = [< `PCDATA ], `B is not allowed inside a title.

In order to get reasonable type errors with TyXML, The -short-paths option should always be used when invoking OCaml.

Finishing up the webpage

To finish our webpage, we use body, head and html. The last two combinators have special types due to their specific constraints: head requires only one title child, and html requires exactly two children: head and body.

let mypage =
    (head mytitle [])
    (body [mycontent])

If you are using Eliom or Js_of_ocaml, this is the end of TyXML's territory. However, for standalone use, we now need to print our document as an HTML file. The standalone implementation comes with a printer, Tyxml.​Html.​pp, that we can use to print files:

let () =
  let file = open_out "index.html" in
  let fmt = Format.formatter_of_out_channel file in
  pp () fmt mypage;
  close_out file

Well done, you know have a very minimal (but fabulous) website! Once again, the implementation can be found here.

Other examples are available in the examples directory.

Using your own underlying implementation

You can use TyXML with any underlying implementation. In order to do so, TyXML provides a set of functors. Please consult the relevant manual.