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Franklin is a static-site framework, optimized for online books.

Franklin Logo


Franklin is built on top of Middleman, a fantastic static site generator written in Ruby. The setup steps are as follows:

1) Install Dependencies

Ensure that you have the following installed:

  • Ruby (comes pre-installed on Mac)
  • Rubygems (comes pre-installed on Mac)
  • Bundler (see for installation instructions)

2) Install Middleman

# Run the following commands in the console
gem install middleman

For more detailed instructions, see

3) Download this project, and place it in your ~/.middleman directory:

# If you have git installed...
git clone ~/.middleman/bryanbraun/franklin

If you don't have git installed, you can manually download franklin, unzip it, and drop it into your ~/.middleman folder.

4) Create your project:

# Replace 'mysite' with the name of your project
middleman init mysite --template=bryanbraun/franklin
cd mysite
bundle install  # Installs any franklin-specific gems.

Basic Usage

The most basic purpose of Franklin is to convert a stack of markdown files into an HTML site, and to do it in a way that is optimized for books.

Your markdown files go into the "source" folder. They can be named anything (, except you must have a file named to serve as the front page of your book. Franklin starts you out with some example files, which you can change or remove to suit your needs.

The structure of your book, as given in the Table of Contents, will mimic the structure of the markdown files in the source directory. Notably:

  1. Your front page ( will be promoted to the top of the list.
  2. Pages will be ordered alphebetically by their file names (thus, using a numbered prefix, like is encouraged).
  3. Your readme ( file will not appear in your table of contents (for guidence on how to exclude other items from the Table of Contents, see the README for the Middleman-Navtree gem).

When you are ready to build your site, run the following command:

# This creates a `build` folder, containing your site, converted into static HTML.
bundle exec middleman build

Using Middleman's customization options, you can do all sorts of interesting things beyond this basic use-case. For details, see the Middleman documentation.



This is where you can change the author, title, and other book information. The available parameters are (with example values):

title: Example Book
author: You
license_name: Attribution-ShareAlike


This defines the order and structure of your book (for the table of contents and pagination). This file is generated automatically and should not need adjustment. For advanced use-cases where adjustment is desired, see the middleman-navtree docs (specifically the automatic_tree_updaets option).


Themes can be found in the source/themes directory. You can use your own theme by adding it to the themes folder and changing the value in config.rb: like so:

config[:theme] = 'glide'

Any theme you add must have the following structure:


The main page layout is defined in layouts/layout.erb. For more details on working with layouts, see Middleman's documentation.


Default locale is :en. If you want to change it, for example to :pl, configure middleman:

activate :i18n, :mount_at_root => :pl

and put locales file pl.yml in locales directory in format:

    previous_page: 'Poprzednia'
    next_page: 'Następna'
    table_of_contents: 'Spis treści'


Screenshot of three mobile-friendly Franklin themes

Contribution Guidelines

  1. Fork this project
  2. Create a feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch to github (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Submit a Pull Request


(If you are making a contribution, add your name here as part of your pull request)