[B4X] Markdown to Attributed String

As promised, here is the small code module and snippets that I use to turn markdown text stored on my server to attributed strings. This method splits the load between server and client app and is by no means a full Markdown / CommonMark implementation. But for basic headings, unnumbered lists, and emphasis, it does the job. Server side, this is how I prepare an item ( $newsitem['storyText'] is a news item, with markdown formatting; Parsedown is the PHP library I use on the site. Link detection is set up only to work will fully marked up links, ie the [title here](url here) sort)

$parser = new Parsedown() ;
$newsitem['richtext'] = strip_tags($parser->text($newsitem['storyText']),'<b><i><em><strong><li><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6>') ;
// get an array of links and descriptions from the markdown
$buttons = array() ;
if ( preg_match_all('/\[([^]]*)\] *\(([^)]*)\)/i',$newsitem['storyText'],$matches,PREG_SET_ORDER) > 0 ) {
    foreach ( $matches as $match ) {
        $buttons[] = array( 'title' => $match[1], 'destination' => $match[2]) ;
if ( count($buttons) > 0 ) {
    $newsitem['buttons'] = $buttons ;

The data is passed to my app as JSON; so, the news item will be a map, and the 'richtext' key contains stripped down HTML. The buttons key is a list of links found in the text, and their names, which can be added to a menu.

The attached html2cs does the work using CSBuilder; it could probably be tided up a bit and turned into a class. It would also be easy-ish to support other tags, but note that it's quick and dirty and depends on each one having a distinct first character. Using it is very simple; newsBody is a label:

html2cs.fontbase = 16
newsBody.AttributedText = html2cs.formatString(n.Get("richtext"))

As I say, it's a bit quick and dirty, but if you have Markdown/CommonMark formatting on a server and want to use the same data in app, this gives you some basic compatibility, should work on B4A as well, and doesn't require implementing a whole Markdown library within your app.


  • html2cs.bas
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The html2cs.bas file has been updated with some conditional compilation tags and will now work on both B4i and B4A.

The code has a new parameter, on B4A only, for the typeface, called 'default'

Public default As Typeface = Typeface.DEFAULT

Note that on Android, there's no separate 'attributed string' attribute, so you just say

newsBody.text = html2cs.formatString(n.Get("richtext"))