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Literate programming is the art of preparing programs for human readers. noweb is designed to meet the needs of literate programmers while remaining as simple as possible. Its primary advantages are simplicity, extensibility, and language-independence. noweb uses 5 control sequences to WEB's 27. The noweb manual is only 3 pages; an additional page explains how to customize its LaTeX output. noweb works ``out of the box'' with any programming language, and supports TeX, latex, and HTML back ends. A back end to support full hypertext or indexing takes about 250 lines; a simpler one can be written in 40 lines of awk. The primary sacrifice relative to WEB is that code is seldom prettyprinted.

Current Version:   2.8a

License Type:   Free for all use including commercial use

Home Site:

Source Code Availability:   Yes (from Home Site)

Available Binary Packages:

Targeted Platforms:

All Unix platforms. There exist DOS and Mac ports also.

Software/Hardware Requirements:

Icon programing language is not required but is strongly recommended.

Other Links:

Mailing Lists/USENET News Groups:


User Comments:

  • Andrew L. Johnson and Brad C. Johnson, "Literate programming using noweb", Linux Journal, 64-69, October 1997.
  • Norman Ramsey, "Literate programming simplified", IEEE Software, 11(5):97-105, September 1994.

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