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Tools Open Source Sync WordPress

Sync Markdown Files to WordPress Posts and Pages

Static site generators let you use a revision-controlled tree of markdown files to make a site, but don’t offer a lot of themes or dynamic features. WordPress has lots of themes and dynamic features, but locks up your content in HTML embedded in a database, where you can’t use your own editor or revision control anything.
So why not combine the two?
Postmark is a wp-cli command that takes a markdown file (or entire tree of them) and creates or updates posts, pages, and other database objects in WordPress. Some key features include:

  • No webserver configuration changes required: files can be synced from any directory on the server, and don’t need to be writable or even readable by the web server. (They do need to be readable by the user running the wp-cli command, though!)
  • Files are synced using a GUID to identify the post or page in the DB, so the same files can be applied to multiple wordpress sites (e.g. dev/staging/prod, or common pages across a brand’s sites), and moving or renaming a file changes its parent or slug in WP, instead of creating a new page or post.
  • Files can contain YAML front matter to set all standard WordPress page/post properties
  • Custom post types are allowed, and plugins can use actions and filters to support custom fields or other WP data during sync.
  • Plugins’ special pages (like checkout or “my account”) and themes’ custom CSS can be synced using Option References, and plugins’ HTML options can be synced using Option HTML Values
  • Prototypes and Templating: In addition to their WP post type, files can have a Prototype, from which they inherit properties and an optional Twig template that can generate additional static content using data from the document’s front-matter.
  • Posts or pages are only updated if the size, timestamp, name, location, or contents of an input file (or its prototype/template files) are changed (unless you use --force)
  • Works great with almost any file-watching tool (like entr, gulp, modd, reflex, guard, etc.) to update edited posts as soon as you save them, with only the actually-changed files being updated even if your tool can’t pass along the changed filenames.
  • Markdown is converted using league/commonmark with the table and attribute extensions, and you can add other extensions via filter. Markdown content can include shortcodes, too. (Though you may need to backslash-escape adjacent opening brackets to keep them from being treated as markdown footnote links. Shortcode openers or closers that are on a line by themselves will be placed outside any paragraphs, divs, tables, etc. that they break, precede, or follow.)
  • Parent posts or pages are supported (nearest above a file becomes its parent, recursively)
  • Slugs default to the filename (or directory name for, unless otherwise given
  • Post/page titles default to the first line of the markdown body, if it’s a heading

Postmark is similar in philosophy to imposer, in that synchronization is always one-way (from the filesystem to the database) but does not overwrite any database contents that aren’t specified by the input file(s). So any part of a post or page that’s not in the markdown or YAML (such as comments) are unaffected by syncing.
(Postmark is also similar to imposer in that it’s pre-installed by mantle. Mantle projects include an optional file watching daemon that detects changes to markdown files in the project’s content/ directory, and automatically syncs them to your DB.)


  • Overview

  • Prototypes and Templating

  • Change Detection
  • Imposer Integration
  • Exporting Posts, Pages, and Other Resources

  • Actions and Filters

    • Markdown Formatting
    • Document Objects

    •   <li>
          <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#sync-actions-for-posts">Sync Actions for Posts</a></p> <ul dir="auto">
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_before_sync">postmark_before_sync</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_metadata">postmark_metadata</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_content">postmark_content</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_after_sync">postmark_after_sync</a>
          <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#sync-actions-for-options">Sync Actions for Options</a></p> <ul dir="auto">
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_before_sync_option">postmark_before_sync_option</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_after_sync_option">postmark_after_sync_option</a>
          <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#export-actions-and-filters">Export Actions and Filters</a></p> <ul dir="auto">
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_export_meta">postmark_export_meta</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_export_meta_key">postmark_export_meta_$key</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_export">postmark_export</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_export_slug">postmark_export_slug</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark-update-wp-post">postmark update wp-post</a>
          <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#other-filters">Other Filters</a></p> <ul dir="auto">
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_author_email">postmark_author_email</a>
              <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="#postmark_excluded_types">postmark_excluded_types</a>
    • Project Status/Roadmap


    Installation and Use

    Postmark can be installed via:

    wp package install dirtsimple/postmark

    The two main commands Postmark provides are:

    • wp postmark sync <file>... [--force] [--skip-create] [--porcelain]
    • wp postmark tree <dir>... [--force] [--skip-create] [--porcelain]

    The sync command creates or updates posts or pages matching the given .md file(s), while the tree command processes all .md files within the named directories (and all their subdirectories). The --porcelain option makes the output silent except for the WordPress post/page/option IDs of the synced files. (Which means you can get a file’s WordPress post ID or option ID by passing its filename to wp postmark sync --porcelain.)
    By default, posts and pages are not updated unless the .md file has changed (or been moved/renamed) since the last time it was successfully synced, but --force overrides that and syncs all named files or directories, whether changed or not. (This can be useful if you add or remove plugins that affect how posts are converted or formatted.) If a file is incompletely synced due to an error, it will be be tried again the next time a similar command is run, even without using --force.
    To sync a markdown file with WordPress, the file’s front matter must include a globally unique identifier in the ID field. If this value is missing, Postmark will add it automatically, unless you use the --skip-create option (in which case you’ll get an error message instead).
    To add an ID, Postmark must be able to write to both the file and the directory in question (to save a backup copy of the file during the change), so you should use --skip-create if those permissions are not available to the wp-cli user. (Also, Postmark assumes that your front matter is formatted in such a way that adding an ID: line to the top of the front matter will not create a syntax error, i.e. that your top-level YAML is not wrapped in {} or anything else.)
    The other commands Postmark provides are:

    • wp export [<spec>...] [--dir=<output-dir>] [--porcelain] [--allow-none] — export the specified post(s), pages, or other resources to markdown files. (See Exporting Posts, Pages, and Other Resources, below, for more info.)
    • wp update [<file>...] [--porcelain] [--allow-none] — export selected state information from the database as .pmx.yml files next to the specified markdown documents, so that complex properties (such as page builder data) can be configured via the WordPress GUI, but still be revision-controlled as a text file. (For more info, see the section below on Updating Exported Documents.)
    • wp postmark uuid [<file>...] — adds an ID: field to each file that doesn’t already have one. If no files are given, it outputs a new UUID to standard output, suitable for use as the ID: of a new .md file. (See The ID: Field below, for more info.)

    File Format and Directory Layout

    Postmark expects to see non-empty markdown files with an .md extension and YAML front matter. If a file is named, it will become the WordPress page/post parent of any other files in that directory or any subdirectory that don’t contain its own If not overridden in the YAML fields, the default slug of a post or page is its filename, minus the .md extension. If the filename is, the name of the containing directory is used instead.
    When syncing any individual .md file, Postmark searches upward until a matching file is found, or a “project root” directory is found. (A project root is any directory containing a .git, .hg, .svn, _postmark, or .postmark subdirectory.) The first such found becomes the parent page or post of the current .md file. (And it is synced if it doesn’t exist in the WordPress database yet, searching recursively upward for more parents until every parent exists and is made the parent of the corresponding child post or page.)
    Postmark input files do not need to be placed under your WordPress directory or even accessible by your webserver. For security, they should not be writable by your webserver, and do not even need to be readable except by the user running wp postmark commands. You also do not have to place all your markdown files in a single tree: the postmark sync and postmark tree commands accept multiple file and directory names, respectively.
    Postmark input files use standard YAML (v1.2) front matter, delineated by --- before and after, like this:

    ID: urn:uuid:1e30ea5f-17fe-422a-9c24-cb591eb2d72d
    Draft: true
    ## Content Goes Here
    If no `Title` was given, the above heading is stripped from the post body and used instead.
    But if a `Title` *was* given, the heading remains in place.

    Content is converted from Markdown to HTML using league/commonmark, and the formatting process can be extended using the actions and filters for markdown formatting.

    The ID: Field

    All front matter fields are optional, except for ID:, which must contain a globally unique identifier, preferably in the form of a uuid. (You can generate suitable values using wp postmark uuid.) By default, Postmark will automatically add the field to new markdown files, unless you use --skip-create or Postmark is unable to write to the file or directory.
    The purpose of ths identifier is to allow postmark to match a file with an existing page or post in the WordPress database, or else know that it needs to create a new one with that identifier. (Post ID numbers are not sufficient for this purpose, since they can vary across wordpress installations, and WordPress’s internally-generated URL-based “guids” are often changed during migration across installations.)

    Front Matter Fields

    In addition to the required ID: field, you can also include any or all of the following optional fields to set the corresponding data in WordPress. Any fields that are not included, or which have a null or missing value, will not be changed from their current value in WordPress:

    Title: # if missing, it's parsed from the first heading if the content starts with one
    Slug:  # if missing, will be obtained from file/directory name
    Category: something          # this can be a comma-delimited string, or a YAML list
    Tags:     bar, baz           # this can be a comma-delimited string, or a YAML list
    Author:    # user id is looked up by email address or user login
    Excerpt: |  # You can set a custom excerpt, which can contain markdown
      Some *amazing* blurb that makes you want to read this post!
    Date: 2017-12-11 13:41 PST        # Dates can be anything recognized by PHP, and
    Updated: April 30, 2018 3:46pm    # use WordPress's timezone if no zone is given
    Status:    # string, WordPress `post_status`
    Draft:     # unquoted true/false/yes/no -- if true or yes, overrides Status to `draft`
    Template:  # string, Worpdress `page_template`
    WP-Type:   # string, WordPress `post_type`, defaults to 'post'
    WP-Terms:  # Worpdress `tax_input` -- a map from taxonomy names to terms:
      some-taxonomy: term1, term2   # terms can be a string 
      other-taxonomy:               # or a YAML list
        - term1
        - term2
    Comments:   # string, 'open' or 'closed', sets WordPress `comment_status`
    Password:   # string, sets WordPress `post_password`
    Weight:     # integer, sets WordPress `menu_order`
    Pings:      # string, 'open' or 'closed', sets WordPress `ping_status`
    MIME-Type:  # string, sets WordPress `post_mime_type`
    Post-Meta:  # array of meta keys -> meta values; only the given values are changed
      a_custom_field: "Good stuff!"
      _some_hidden_field: 42
      delete_me: null  # setting to null deletes the meta key
    Set-Options:  # an option path or array of option paths; each will be set to the post's db ID
      - edd_settings/purchase_history_page  # e.g., make this page the "my account" page for both EDD
      - lifterlms_myaccount_page_id         # and LifterLMS.  See "Working With Options" for more info
    HTML:  # override markdown conversion for specific fields
      Excerpt: "<p>This is html</p>"   # a string means, "use this HTML instead of what's in the field"
      body: true                       # non-false non-string means, "field is HTML, not markdown"

    Please note that Postmark only validates or converts a few of these fields. Most are simply passed to WordPress as-is, which may create problems if you use an invalid value. (For example, if you assign a custom post type that isn’t actually installed, or a status that the post type doesn’t support.) In most cases, however, you can fix such problems simply by changing the value to something valid and re-syncing the file.
    Wordpress plugins or wp-cli packages can add extra fields (or change the handling of existing fields) by registering actions and filters.

    Working With Options

    Many WordPress plugins have special pages (like carts, checkouts, “my account”, etc.) that are referenced in their settings as a post ID. WordPress itself has an option to set the home page (i.e., page_on_front). And sometimes there are options that require HTML, but which you’d like to be able to express as markdown, perhaps in a revision-controlled file.
    Postmark provides three ways to integrate with WordPress options like these:

    • You can set one or more wordpress options (or portions thereof) to the database ID of the document on sync, by putting option paths in the Set-Options: front matter field of the document. (For example, Set-Options: page_on_front would make the document the WordPress home page.)
    • You can update a possibly already existing, plugin-supplied post or page in place by using a urn:x-option-id: URL as the ID: of the document. (The option is set whenever the document is synced, and if there’s no existing post/page, it’s created.)
    • You can set an option (or portion thereof) to the HTML generated by a document, by using a urn:x-option-value: URL as the document’s ID: .

    (In addition, the first two integration methods can actually be combined: you can update a plugin-supplied default page in-place using a urn:x-option-id: URL as the document ID:, and then point other options to the same page using the document’s Set-Options: field.)
    Regardless of which approach you take in a given document, to work with options you will be using option paths. An option path is a /-separated path that begins with a WordPress option name. Any path segments after the first are treated as array keys to traverse sub-items within the option, and all path segments must be urlencoded if they contain anything other than alphanumerics, - and _. (e.g. the path foo/bar%2fbaz refers to the bar/baz key of the foo option.)
    For the Set-Options: field, you will only need to place an option path (or array of them) to update the relevant options or portions thereof. For the ID: field, you will need to prefix the path with urn:x-option-id: or urn:x-option-value:, to distinguish the case where the post ID is stored in the option, from the case where the HTML will be stored in the option.

    Option References

    When a plugin creates a default page whose post ID is stored in an option, you can update that page in place by setting your markdown document’s ID: to a urn:x-option-id: URL, e.g.:

    ID: "urn:x-option-id:edd_settings/purchase_page"  # use this page as the EDD checkout page

    A post with a urn:x-option-id: URL as its ID will be synced slightly differently than normal. As usual, if a post with the given GUID exists, the markdown file is synced into that post. Afterward, the specified option will be edited to reflect the WordPress post_id of that that post. (In the above example, the purchase_page key under the edd_settings option will be created or changed).
    However, if no post with the given GUID exists, the option value (e.g. the purchase_page key under the edd_settings option) will be checked for a valid post ID. If the value exists and references an existing post, the existing post’s GUID will be changed and its contents overwritten by the sync. (This allows you to replace the contents of the default page(s) generated by a plugin when it’s first activated, without manual intervention or creating a duplicate post.)
    Other examples of option references you may find useful:

    • urn:x-option-id:affwp_settings/affiliates_page

    Easy Digital Downloads

    • urn:x-option-id:edd_settings/failure_page
    • urn:x-option-id:edd_settings/purchase_page
    • urn:x-option-id:edd_settings/purchase_history_page
    • urn:x-option-id:edd_settings/success_page


    • urn:x-option-id:lifterlms_checkout_page_id
    • urn:x-option-id:lifterlms_memberships_page_id
    • urn:x-option-id:lifterlms_myaccount_page_id
    • urn:x-option-id:lifterlms_shop_page_id
    • urn:x-option-id:lifterlms_terms_page_id


    • urn:x-option-id:woocommerce_cart_page_id
    • urn:x-option-id:woocommerce_checkout_page_id

    (Note: this list is likely far from comprehensive, even for the plugins listed. Also, since new releases of the above plugins could potentially add, rename, or remove any of these settings, you should always test your sync to a non-production database before updating plugins in production.)

    Custom CSS

    WordPress stores custom CSS for themes in a post of type custom_css, and saves the post ID in an option. So you can sync a theme’s custom CSS from a markdown file using an ID: of urn:x-option-id:theme_mods_THEME/custom_css_post_id, where THEME is the theme’s slug.
    As with other option references, if there is an existing option value with the post id of an existing post, that post will be updated with your markdown file’s contents. Or, if the value isn’t set (or is the default of -1), a new post will be created, and the option value updated to point to the new post.
    So, to define custom CSS for the Hestia theme, you would create a markdown file like this:

    ID:       urn:x-option-id:theme_mods_hestia/custom_css_post_id
    WP-Type:  custom_css
    Title:    hestia
    Slug:     hestia
    Comments: closed
    Pings:    closed
    Status:   publish
    /* CSS Content Goes Here */

    The css code fence wrapping is optional: it is automatically removed if found on posts of type custom_css. (This is done so that you can take advantage of any CSS-specific editing or highlighting features of your markdown editor.) You can fence with either backquotes or tildes (~), as long as there are at least three, the opening and closing fences are the same length and not indented, and the first word on the opening fence line is css in lower case.

    Option HTML Values

    Some WordPress plugins have options containing HTML content, that you might prefer to write using Markdown and/or maintain under revision control. You can sync files to these settings using a urn:x-option-value: URL in each document’s ID:, e.g.:

    ID: "urn:x-option-value:edd_settings/purchase_receipt"

    A post with the above ID: will be synced by converting the document body to HTML, and then saving the result to the purchase_receipt key of the edd_settings option. Most other front matter is ignored (except for that used by prototypes and templating) and no actual post is created, so only the markdown formatting and option sync hooks are invoked during the process, and the command output will list the ID: instead of a WordPress numeric post ID.
    Since options don’t have meta fields, the sync timestamp for options is kept in a (non-autoload) option, postmark_option_cache, thereby avoiding unnecessary updates for unchanged documents. (It is safe to delete this option, however, since the only effect will be to effectively --force the next resync of any documents whose ID: is an option value.)

    Prototypes and Templating

    In some cases, you may have a lot of documents with common field values or structure. You can keep your project DRY (i.e., Don’t Repeat Yourself) by creating prototypes. For example, if you have a lot of “video” pages that contain one or more videos with some introductory text, you could make file(s) like this:

    Prototype: video
     - title: First Video
     - title: Second Video
    # Example Videos
    Dude, check these out!

    Then, in the same directory or a parent, create a _postmark/ or .postmark/ directory containing a video.type.yml file with the common properties:

    WP-Type: post
    Draft: false
    Category: videos

    and a video.type.twig file, containing a Twig template for the body text:

    {{ body }}
    {% for video in Videos %}
    ## {{ video.title }}{{ video.url }}
    {% endfor %}

    Then, every document with Prototype: video in its front matter will have the specified post type, category, and author, as well as being formatted by adding any items listed in Videos: after the body.
    Or, if you’d rather specify the type using just one file, you can combine the properties and template into a single file, putting the properties in front matter, and the Twig template (if any) in the body. (Similar to custom_css posts, the body can optionally be wrapped in a fenced code block with a language of twig, if you want to take advantage of twig-specific editing or highlighting support in your markdown editor.)
    If a file exists alongside a .type.yml and/or .type.twig, then the properties in .type.yml override those in, and the template in .type.twig wraps the output of the template in

    Template Processing

    Twig templates (in .type.twig or are used to generate markdown (not HTML), possibly containing WordPress shortcodes as well. Templates are processed statically at sync time, not during WordPress page generation, and only have access to data from the document being synced. The “variables” supplied to the template are the front-matter properties, plus body for the body text.
    Templates can use full Twig syntax, including macros, the extends tag and include() function, which means that you can put other template files in your _postmark or .postmark directory and then use them as partials or base templates, similar to other static site generators. For example, above we could have done something like this:

    {% from "macros.twig" import video_block %}
    {{ body }}
    {% for video in Videos %}
    {{ video_block(video) }}
    {% endfor %}

    with a macros.twig in our _postmark or .postmark directory containing:

    {% macro video_block(video) %}
    ## {{ video.title }}{{ video.url }}
    {% endmacro %}

    Inheritance and Template Re-Use

    A limited form of prototype inheritance is supported: if a prototype has a file with a Prototype:, then that prototype’s properties are treated as defaults for the (Recursively, if the second prototype itself has a Prototype:). Only properties are inherited, not templates, since applying a template to a template is unlikely to be useful. If you need to share a template between multiple prototypes, put it in a separate .twig file, and then use Twig’s include() (or extends or import) to apply it in each of the places where it’s needed.

    Change Detection

    To make syncing as fast as possible, Postmark caches information about imported documents in the WordPress database, and avoids updating the database unless a document (or its prototype file(s)) have actually changed.
    The information that Postmark caches includes a hash of the document’s front matter and body, after prototypes have been inherited and templates applied. This ensures that if either the document or its prototype files have changed, then the database will be updated with the new results.
    What this process does not automatically detect, however, is changes made to plugins, actions, filters, etc. that affect how the document is rendered to HTML or what data will get inserted into the database. Such changes will not normally be captured unless you use --force to sync all documents, or you add extra fields to your front matter.
    For example, you could add a Prototype-Version field to your prototypes, and then change this field’s value to trigger changes for all the documents using that prototype.
    Of course, that doesn’t help you if you’re creating a Postmark extension (e.g. in a wp-cli package, plugin, theme, or Imposer state module). You can’t edit your users’ prototype files, assuming you even knew what to edit.
    But you can “edit” your users’ front-matter at import time, using the postmark load wp-post action. For example:

    add_action('postmark load wp-post', function($doc) {
        if ( $doc->has('EDD') ) $doc['EDD-Importer-Version'] = '4.1';
    }, 10, 1);
    add_action('postmark_metadata', function($postinfo, $doc) {
    	if ( ! $doc->get('EDD') ) return;
        // ...  code to import various things to $postinfo
    }, 10, 2);

    In this example, the postmark load wp-post handler adds an extra EDD-Importer-Version field when a document is loaded that contains an EDD field. This means that if the import semantics for the EDD field change, the version can be changed, and then any documents with an EDD field will be considered “changed” since their last sync. In this way, merely upgrading the plugin (or package, state module, theme, etc.) will automatically invalidate caching for the affected documents.
    (Note, by the way, that this type of versioning is only required for extensions that are altering the HTML formatting or need access to the postinfo object. If an extension is just providing syntax sugar or remapping fields, and can do everything it needs from the postmark load wp-post action, then the remapped fields would already be part of the document hash, and so any change in the remapping process would automatically change the hash of any documents affected by the change.)

    Imposer Integration

    Postmark provides a state module for optional integration with imposer: just add a shell block like this to your, or any state module that needs to include markdown content as part of its state:

    require "dirtsimple/postmark"      # load the API
    # Use postmark-module for prepackaged .md files that should be read-only and have
    # ID: values already:
    postmark-module "$__DIR__/stuff"   # sync `stuff/` next to this file, with --skip-create option
    # Or use postmark-content for writable directories where you might be adding new .md
    # files without an existing ID:
    postmark-content "my-content"      # sync `my-content/` at the project root

    You can actually use this to distribute wp-cli packages containing markdown content, and have them automatically loaded into the site(s) that use them.
    Note: the postmark-module and postmark-content functions don’t perform an immediate sync when called. Instead, they record the directory information in the imposer JSON specification object for later parsing during the task-running phase of imposer apply. (See the imposer docs for more on how this works.)

    Exporting Posts, Pages, and Other Resources

    To facilitate working with specialized post types and other database resources, postmark provides a wp postmark export command, which creates markdown files in a specified directory, given a list of post IDs, GUIDs, URLs, or imposer references. (e.g. @my-appt-type🆔285). Any resource kind can be exported, as long as it has an export function registered.
    Each export file is given a name based on its slug (i.e., its post_name), possibly with a - and a number at the end. If a file of the given name already exists, it’s checked to see if it has the same GUID — if so, the file is overwritten, otherwise the number is incremented and the next candidate is checked.
    (So if, for example, there are ten posts with unique GUIDs being exported with a post_name of foo, they will end up in,, up through, and repeated exports of any of the ten will use the same filename as was used before, if none are deleted and the post_names don’t change.)
    Currently, post content is exported to markdown files as-is, without any attempt to translate HTML back to markdown. In addition, a great many default-valued or empty fields are likely to be included in the YAML front matter. For this reason, exported posts must be manually edited to resolve these issues. Alternately, you can use the export actions and filters to convert or clean up the content during the export process. (e.g. to remove meta fields that should not be placed under revision control.)
    Because the post excerpt and body are stored as HTML in the database, the exported document has the relevant HTML: front matter fields set to true, so that if the file is imported as-is, the content will not be re-parsed as markdown. If you do convert the content to markdown, you should remove the relevant entries from the HTML: map, or rename it to Export-HTML: if you will be editing the content in WordPress and then saving it with postmark update.
    Also note: a post’s parent, menu order, and MIME type are currently not included in its export file, since menu order and MIME type are used only for menu items and attachments, and postmark determines a post’s parent (if any) using its directory location. (The post’s _thumbnail_id metadata is also excluded, since it references an integer ID that could vary between databases.)

    Updating Exported Documents

    Many WordPress plugins and themes provide additional settings or data for posts and pages, that are difficult to manually specify via front matter. For example, page builders, access restriction tools, page-specific theme options, etc.
    To aid in working with these features while still supporting revision control and dev/prod deployment, Postmark provides the postmark update command. The command exports updated post properties in a .pmx.yml file that lives next to the original markdown document, that are automatically merged into the post during sync. A separate file is used to avoid losing comments, spacing, etc. in the main document’s front matter, and any fields specified in the front matter override those in the .pmx.yml file.
    In order for post metadata fields to be exported, they must be listed in the document’s Export-Meta: front matter (or inherited from a prototype). For example, putting the following in a document’s front matter would allow changes made using Elementor to be saved with postmark update, and then applied to the same or another database via postmark sync or postmark tree:

      # On `postmark update`, export primary Elementor fields
      # Forcibly delete the CSS cache on import, so it won't be stale
      _elementor_css: null
    Export-HTML:  # Use HTML from Elementor instead of the markdown body

    Note that in order to use this feature safely, you need to have a good understanding of what the various metadata fields supplied by your plugins do, so that you don’t corrupt data at deployment time.
    For example, Elementor includes an _elementor_css field that should always be deleted at import time, in order to ensure correct CSS, while LifterLMS has an _llms_num_reviews field that should never be imported in order to not lose data. Some plugins may also generate values based on other fields and normally only set them when a post is updated via the UI, not via the command line. So take care before committing and deploying your .pmx.yml files.
    An easy way to set up the Export-Meta field is to export an existing post or page, then edit the exported file and rename the Post-Meta: field to Export-Meta:. Then, delete any fields that shouldn’t be reset by importing, and the values from the fields you want to keep. Once you have a good idea of the needed fields, you may wish to add them to a prototype so you aren’t copying them to multiple files. Individual documents can add any extra fields, or suppress the exporting of fields by setting the value to false. For example, the following will prevent _some_field from being exported for the current document, even if its prototype listed it for export:

      _some_field: false

    For every non-false entry in Export-Meta, there will be a corresponding entry in the Post-Meta of the .pmx.yml export file: either the value of that metadata field, or null if the post lacks that field. This means that on import, such missing fields will be explicitly deleted, removing any dangling value in the database. This is particularly important for use with plugins that decide things based on the presence or absence of a metadata field, not just its content.

    Updating Exported HTML

    If you will be editing or generating a post’s content or excerpt using the WordPress GUI (e.g. with Gutenberg or a page builder), you should add an Export-HTML: field to your document, listing the fields to export, and remove the corresponding fields from the document (and from the HTML: field, if it exists). So, if you want to create a new document whose content you’ll be mostly editing via the Gutenberg editor, you might create a new empty document like this:

    Title: An Example
    WP-Type: page

    After this document is imported to a WordPress page, you can use postmark update to export the HTML for the body and excerpt.
    (Conversely, if you’ve already created the document in WordPress, you can use postmark export to create the initial markdown file, but you will then need to edit it and rename the HTML: field to Export-HTML:, remove the body text and Excerpt:, and then run postmark update on the file to replace the old body and excerpt in the corresponding .pmx.yml file.)

    Updating Other Fields

    In addition to metadata and HTML fields, you can allow other fields to be updated from the WordPress GUI when doing a postmark update: just add the fields to Export-Fields:. For example, this front matter will cause the Updated: and Tags: fields to be exported to the .pmx.yml file during update:


    Remember, though: fields exported by postmark update are only defaults: you must remove the corresponding field from the main .md file in order for the exported data to be imported.

    Actions and Filters

    All of Postmark’s actions and filters can be registered from a plugin, theme, wp-cli package, or imposer state module. Because Postmark is built on imposer, you can hook the imposer_tasks action to register other actions and filters — meaning you can put your imposer or postmark-specific hooks in a separate PHP file and then require_once that file, e.g.:

    add_action('imposer_tasks', function() {
        require_once(__DIR__ . '/includes/cli-hooks.php');

    Then, you can put any code to register postmark actions or filters in includes/cli-hooks.php, and that file will only be loaded when running wp postmark or imposer.

    Markdown Formatting

    Markdown formatting is controlled by the following filters:

    • apply_filters('postmark_formatter_config', array $cfg, Environment $env) — this filter is invoked once per command, to initialize the League/Commonmark Environment and configuration. Filters can add markdown extensions, parsers, processors, or renderers to the Environment object, or return an altered $cfg array. In addition to the standard configuration elements, $cfg contains an extensions array mapping extension or parser class names to argument arrays (or null). These extension classes are instantiated using the given argument arrays, and added to $env. An extension can be disabled by setting its value in the extensions array to false.
      The current default extensions are:

      • LeagueCommonMarkExtTableTableExtension, which implements Markdown tables,
      • WebuniCommonMarkAttributesExtensionAttributesExtension, which allows adding Kramdown-style HTML attributes to blocks and spans, and
      • LeagueCommonMarkExtStrikethroughStrikethroughExtension, which turns ~~-wrapped text into <del> elements for strikethrough, and
      • LeagueCommonMarkExtSmartPunctSmartPunctExtension, which translates dots and hyphens to ellipses and em/en dashes, and converts plain single and double quotes to their left/right versions.
      • dirtsimplePostmarkShortcodeParser, which detects lines that consist solely of shortcode opening or closing tags, and passes them through without markdown interpretation. (This allows you to enclose markdown blocks within a shortcode, instead of having the shortcode become part of the block itself, which can be problematic when using e.g. conditional tags.)
    • apply_filters('postmark_markdown', string $markdown, Document $doc, $fieldName) — this filter can alter the markdown content of a document (or any of its front-matter fields) before it’s converted into HTML. $fieldName is "body" if $markdown came from $doc->body; otherwise it is the name of the front matter field being converted. (Such as "Excerpt", or any custom fields added by plugins.)
    • apply_filters('postmark_html', string $html, Document $doc, $fieldName) — this filter can alter the HTML content of a document (or any of its front-matter fields) immediately after it’s converted. As with the postmark_markdown filter, $fieldName is either "body" or a front-matter field name.

    Note that postmark_markdown and postmark_html may be invoked several times or not at all, as they are run whenever $doc->html(...) is called. If a sync filter or action set $postinfo['post_content'] or $postinfo['post_excerpt'] before Postmark has a chance to, these filters won’t be invoked unless the filter or action uses $doc->html(...) to do the conversion.
    Also note that if you are adding hooks to any of these filters, you should also add formatter versioning info to documents during relevant postmark load filters, so that when your extension is added, removed, or updated, any affected documents will be considered “changed” and get re-synced.

    Document Objects

    Many filters and actions receive dirtsimplePostmarkDocument objects as a parameter. These objects offer the following API:

    • Front-matter fields are accessible as public, writable object properties. (e.g. $doc->Foo returns front-matter field Foo) . Fields that aren’t valid PHP property names can be accessed using e.g. $doc->{'Some-Field'}. Missing or empty fields return null; if you want a different default when the field is missing, you can use $doc->get('Somename', 'default-value').
    • $doc->body is the markdown text of the document, and is a writable property.
    • $doc->html($propName="body") converts the named property from Markdown to HTML (triggering the postmark_markdown and postmark_html filters).
    • $doc->has("field") returns true if the document has “field” as one of its front matter fields
    • $doc->get("field", $default=null) returns the content of “field” from the frontmatter, or $default if it’s not found
    • $doc->select(['field'=>callback, ...]) calls each callback if the matching field exists, with the value of that field. The return value is an array containing only keys for the fields that existed, with the values being the result of calling the callback. If a callback isn’t actually callable (e.g. true), the value is returned as-is in the output array. If a callback is an associative array, it’s processed recursively, so that e.g. $doc->select(['EDD'=>['Price'=>$cb]]) will call $cb if and only if there is an EDD front matter field that’s an associative array with a Price subfield.

    postmark load resource-kind

    Whenever a document is loaded from disk, do_action("postmark load $kind", Document $doc) is run, to allow modification of the document (e.g. its Post-Meta) before the document hash is calculated. Any changes made to the document during this action will affect the hash calculation, so this is the ideal place to do simple syntax sugar or field remappings.
    If you’re writing an extension that needs to do complex calculations or access the database, however, you should probably use a different hook, and add a versioning field (e.g. MyPlugin-Version-Info) during this action in order to ensure that documents get re-synced when your algorithms change. Likewise, if your extension is altering how markdown formatting is done, you should add a versioning field to ensure that adding, removing, or updating your extension will force affected documents to re-sync.
    The default resource-kind is wp-post, meaning the document is going to be mapped to a WordPress post, or, if the document has an x-option-value URL, the default resource kind is wp-option-html. Other resource kinds can be registered using the postmark_resource_kinds action, and assigned to documents via the Resource-Kind: front-matter field (either directly in the document, or via a prototype).


    Postmark isn’t just for importing posts and option values. In principle, it can be used to import other built-in WordPress objects (like users or categories) or specialty objects defined by plugins (like Gravity Forms, which are stored in a custom database table).
    To determine what kind of object is to be imported, Postmark looks at a document’s Resource-Kind field, which is wp-post by default (unless an x-option-value: URL is used for the ID:, in which case the default kind is wp-option-html). But you can override these defaults using a document’s front-matter or via its prototype, so long as a plugin has registered an import handler for that resource kind.
    To add other resource kinds, an extension can register a hook for the postmark_resource_kinds action, which will receive an array-like object mapping kind names to “kind definition” objects. Handlers registered for this action can then use configuration methods like setImporter(), setExporter(), and setEtagQuery() to configure the kind. For example, the code below registers an importer and exporter for a my_plugin-item resource kind:

    add_action('postmark_resource_types', function($kinds) {
    function my_plugin_import_item_from_doc($doc) {
        # import $doc into database, saving $doc->etag() with it for caching purposes,
        # then return a database ID or WP_Error
    function my_plugin_export_item_to_doc($md, $id, $dir, $doc=null) {
        # Export an database object whose ID is $id by setting values on the
        # MarkdownFile in $md, returning a slug that will be used to generate
        # the export filename.  Return `false` if $id isn't found, or a WP_Error
        # to signal other error conditions.  If $doc is non-null, the export is
        # an update to an existing document, and $doc can be used to trim or
        # filter the output fields accordingly (e.g. the way posts use `Export-Meta:`).

    Whenever a document has a Resource-Kind: of my_plugin-item, the my_plugin_import_from_doc() function will be called to perform the import, replacing Postmark’s builtin sync processing.
    In order to avoid needless database updates for unchanged files, Postmark computes an etag for a document’s contents (which can be obtained via the $doc->etag() method). Importers should save this value in the database upon import, and register a handler to retrieve those etags when a sync begins.
    For example, suppose we wanted to make an importer for WordPress users, but didn’t want to update user data when the import file(s) haven’t changed. We would need to register both an importer and an etag query, e.g.:

    function demo_user_importer($doc) {
        # Create or update a user
        if ( $user_id = email_exists($doc['Email']) ) {
            $user_id = wp_update_user(...);  # ...with appropriate data
        } else {
            $user_id = wp_insert_user(...);  # ...with appropriate data
        # Return error if insert or update failed
        if ( is_wp_error($user_id) ) return $user_id;
        # save $doc->etag() for caching
        update_user_meta($user_id, '_postmark_cache', wp_slash($doc->etag()));
        return $user_id;
    add_action('postmark_resource_types', function($kinds) {
        global $wpdb;
            "SELECT user_id, meta_value FROM $wpdb->usermeta WHERE meta_key='_postmark_cache'"

    In the above example, a _postmark_cache meta field is used to store the etag, with a simple SQL query to fetch it. The query used must return the database ID and etag, in that order, as its first two fields for each item of the appropriate kind.
    Of course, in some cases, there is no way to directly query the database for the necessary information. For example, Gravity Forms doesn’t use WordPress-style metadata for its forms, so the included example extension for Gravity Forms uses setEtagOption('gform_postmark_etag') instead of setEtagQuery() to configure etag handling for the resource kind. This tells postmark to automatically save and load etags from the specified option.
    The downside to this approach is that you will need to write code to remove deleted IDs from the option when the associated database item is deleted. (This wasn’t needed for the user example above, because deleting the user automatically deletes the associated meta field.)
    Finally, if neither a database query nor an option will work for your resource kind, you can use setEtagCallback($callback) to register a function that will be called with zero arguments and should return an array mapping from the database IDs of your resource kind to their associated etags. (As with setEtagQuery(), your import function will be responsible for storing the etag in the database.)

    Sync Actions for Posts

    During the sync process for posts, a document builds up a $postinfo array to be passed into wp_insert_post or wp_update_post. (Postmark only sets values in the $postinfo that have not already been set by an action or filter, so you can prevent it from doing so by setting a value first.)
    For example, Postmark calculates the post_content after calling the postmark_metadata action, but before the postmark_content action. This means you can prevent Postmark from doing its own Markdown-to-HTML conversion by setting post_content from either the postmark_before_sync action, or the postmark_metadata action.
    Note: $postinfo is not actually a PHP array — it’s a PHP ArrayObject subclass with a few extra methods, like get($key, $default=null), has($key), and a few others. But you can still treat is as a regular array for purposes of setting, getting, or removing items. You can see the dirtsimpleimposerBag class for info on most of the other available methods, but there are some additional methods you might find helpful:

    • $postinfo->id() returns the post ID if an existing post is being updated, or null if the post is new.
    • $postinfo->set_meta($key, $val) — does an update_post_meta, setting $key to $val. $key can be a string or an array: if it’s an array, it’s treated as a path to a subitem within the meta field, working much like a key path for the wp-cli wp post meta patch insert command, except that parent arrays are automatically created.
    • $postinfo->delete_meta($key) — deletes the specified meta key, or if $key is an array, it’s treated as a path to a sub-item to delete within the meta field, like a key path for the wp-cli wp post meta patch delete command.

    The following actions run during the sync process (for posts, not options), in the following order:


    do_action('postmark_before_sync', Document $doc, PostModel $postinfo) allows modification of the document (e.g. the Post-Meta field) or other actions before it gets synced. This action can set WordPress post fields (e.g. post_author , post_type) in the $postinfo object, to prevent Postmark from doing its default translations of those fields. (The object is mostly empty at this point, however, so reading from it is not very useful.) Setting $postinfo->wp_error to a WP_Error instance will force the sync to terminate with the given error.


    do_action('postmark_metadata', PostModel $postinfo, Document $doc) lets you modify the $postinfo that will be passed to wp_insert_post or wp_update_post. This hook can be used to override or extend the calculation of WordPress fields based on the front matter.
    When this action runs, $postinfo is initialized with any WordPress field values that Postmark has calculated from the front matter, or which were set in $postinfo by postmark_before_sync actions. It does not, however, contain the post_content or post_excerpt yet, unless set by a previous action or filter.
    Functions registered for this action can set the post_content or post_excerpt in $postinfo to pre-empt Postmark from doing so. They can also set $postinfo['wp_error'] to a WP_Error object to terminate the sync process with an error.
    If post_content, post_title, post_excerpt, or post_status remain empty after processing all functions registered for this action, Postmark will supply default values by converting the document body from Markdown to HTML, and/or extracting a title and excerpt as needed.


    do_action('postmark_content', $postinfo, Document $doc) is similar to the postmark_metadata action, except that markdown conversion and title/excerpt extraction have already been done, if needed.


    do_action('postmark_after_sync', Document $doc, WP_Post $rawPost) allows post-sync actions to be run on the document and/or resulting post. $rawPost is a raw-filtered WordPress WP_Post object, reflecting the now-synced post. This can be used to process front matter fields that require the post ID to be known (e.g. adding data to custom tables).

    Sync Actions for Options


    do_action('postmark_before_sync_option', Document $doc, array $optpath) runs before processing documents that sync to an option HTML value. There is no $postinfo, since no post will be created or updated. However, this filter can still access or modify any other properties of the document, for example to preprocess the body in some way before the option is updated. For convenience, $optpath contains the path to the option being synced, e.g. ['edd_settings', 'purchase_receipt'].


    do_action('postmark_after_sync_option', Document $doc, array $optpath) is just like postmark_before_sync_option, except that it runs after the option value has been updated from the HTML version of the document body. A typical use of this hook would be to update other options from the document’s front matter, e.g.:

    use dirtsimplePostmarkOption;
    add_action('postmark_after_sync_option', function($doc, $optpath){
        if ( $optpath === ['edd_settings', 'purchase_receipt'] ) {
            if ( $doc->has('Title') )  Option::patch(['edd_settings', 'purchase_subject'], $doc->Title);
            if ( $doc->has('Header') ) Option::patch(['edd_settings', 'purchase_heading'], $doc->Header);
    }, 10, 2);

    The above example code will run after syncing any document whose ID is urn:x-option-value:edd_settings/purchase_receipt, check the document for a Title and/or Header field, and then set related EDD options using them.

    Export Actions and Filters

    In each of the below actions and filters, the $md argument is a dirtsimplePostmarkMarkdownFile object, whose body is the post_content of the post being exported, and whose other properties will be exported as YAML frontmatter at the head of the document. Both the actions and filters can read, set, or unset these properties as needed, thereby altering what will be written to the output file.
    The hooks below are listed in execution order:


    do_action('postmark_export_meta', $postmeta, MarkdownFile $md, WP_Post $post) lets you modify the contents of $postmeta (which will ultimately populate the Post-Meta: field of the exported document, if anything is left in it). You can use this to unset meta values that would not be useful in the output, or set document fields from them. (For example, postmark itself sets $md->Template from $postmeta['_wp_page_template'] and then unsets it from $postmeta.)
    The $postmeta object is a Bag (ArrayObject subclass with extra methods) that supports normal array operations like $postmeta['foo']="bar", as well as methods like has(), get(), and select().


    do_action("postmark_export_meta_$key", $meta_val, MarkdownFile $md, WP_Post $post) runs on each meta field that’s still in the $postmeta after running the postmark_export_meta hook. $meta_val is the value of the field.
    If any hooks are registered for this action, the corresponding $key will be removed from the Post-Meta: field of the exported document. (This means that you can add_action("postmark_export_meta_somekey", "__return_true"); as a trivial way to suppress a meta key from being exported (e.g. ones containing dynamic state that should not be saved in an export file.)


    do_action('postmark_export', MarkdownFile $md, WP_Post $post) is called once for each export, with a fully-populated MarkdownFile object, before the output file is written. You can use this to add, change, or remove fields as needed. (For example, to add fields for a custom post type with data stored in other tables.)


    apply_filters('postmark_export_slug', string $slug, MarkdownFile $md, WP_Post $post, $dir) filters the slug that will be used to generate the export filename. $dir is the output directory, and is either an empty string (for the current directory) or a directory name with a trailing /. The initial value of $slug comes from $md->Slug, after the postmark_export hook has had the oppoturnity to change it.

    postmark update wp-post

    do_action('postmark export wp-post', Bag $export, MarkdownFile $md, WP_Post $post, Document $doc) is run by the postmark update command when updating an existing document ($doc) from its corresponding $post. The $md variable contains the MarkdownFile object that would hav been written if a normal export were being performed, and $export is the ArrayObject whose contents will be written to the .pmx.yml file. Callbacks registered for this action can modify $export to change what data will be written.
    While most callbacks for this action will only need the first two arguments, the $doc argument can be used to look for flags to decide how to do the export. For example, you could check $doc->has('Export-Foo') to decide whether to export certain data, similar to the built-in Export-HTML and Export-Meta fields. Upon finding the flag in $doc, you would then copy the relevant data from $md (or $post) to a field on $export.

    Other Filters


    apply_filters('postmark_author_email', string $author, Document $doc) filters the Author: front-matter field (if it exists) to extract an email or login which will be used to find the database ID of the post’s author. This filter accepts a string and should return an email, login, or WP_Error object. If the string is already a valid email or login, the filter should return it unchanged.
    This filter is only invoked if there is an Author: field in the front matter and postmark_before_sync didn’t already set a post_author. Internally, postmark treats the result of this as an Imposer @wp-user reference key, so technically, you can return anything that’s recognized by Imposer as a @wp-user reference with no specific key type.


    apply_filters('postmark_excluded_types', array $post_types) filters an array of post types that will not be importable by postmark. By default, the array contains ['revision', 'edd_log', 'edd_payment', 'shop_order', 'shop_subscription'], to exclude revisions and EDD/WooCommerce orders. If you are using any plugins with custom post types that can grow to thousands of posts, but do not need to be imported, adding the post types to this list will help keep postmark’s startup fast, by reducing the number of GUIDs that need to be loaded from the database.

    Project Status/Roadmap

    This project is still in early development: tests are non-existent, and i18n of the CLI output is spotty. Future features I hope to include are:

    • Some way to mark a split point for excerpt extraction (preferably with link targeting from the excerpt to the break on the target page)
    • Some way of handling images/attachments
    • Link translation from relative file links to absolute URLs

    See the full roadmap/to-do here.