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Contentful Middleman

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Contentful provides a content infrastructure for digital teams to power content in websites, apps, and devices. Unlike a CMS, Contentful was built to integrate with the modern software stack. It offers a central hub for structured content, powerful management and delivery APIs, and a customizable web app that enable developers and content creators to ship digital products faster.

Contentful Middleman is a Middleman extension to use the Middleman static site generator together with Contentful. It is powered by the Contentful Ruby Gem.

Experience the power of Middleman while staying sane as a developer by letting end-users edit content in a web-based interface.

The main release works for Middleman v4 starting on version 4.0.0.

If you are using Middleman v3, use older releases. Latest stable release is 3.0.0


Add the following line to the Gemfile of your Middleman project:

gem "contentful_middleman"

Then as usual, run:

bundle install


Run middleman contentful in your terminal. This will fetch entries for the configured spaces and content types and put the resulting data in the local data folder as yaml files.

--rebuild option

The contentful command has a --rebuild option which will trigger a rebuild of your site only if there were changes between the last and the current import.


To configure the extension, add the following configuration block to Middleman's config.rb:

activate :contentful do |f|         = SPACE
  f.access_token  = ACCESS_TOKEN
  f.cda_query     = QUERY
  f.content_types = CONTENT_TYPES_MAPPINGS
Parameter Description
space Hash with an user choosen name for the space as key and the space id as value.
access_token Contentful Delivery API access token.
cda_query Hash describing query configuration. See contentful.rb for more info (look for filter options there). Note that by default only 100 entries will be fetched, this can be configured to up to 1000 entries using the limit option. Example: f.cda_query = { limit: 1000 }.
client_options Hash describing client configuration. See contentful.rb for more info. This option should commonly be used to change Rate Limit Management, Include Resolution, Logging and Proxies.
content_types Hash describing the mapping applied to entries of the imported content types.
default_locale String with the value for the default locale for your space. Defaults to 'en-US'.
use_preview_api Boolean to toggle the used API. Set it to false to use (default value). Set it to true to use More info in the documentation
all_entries Boolean to toggle multiple requests to the API for getting over 1000 entries. This uses a naive approach and can get rate limited. When using this, have in mind adding an order in your :cda_query . Default order is order: 'sys.createdAt'.
all_entries_page_size Integer amount of items per page for :all_entries requests, allowing for smaller page sizes on content heavy requests.
rebuild_on_webhook Boolean to toggle Webhook server. Server will run in port 5678, and will be expecting to receive Contentful Webhook calls on /receive.
webhook_timeout Integer (in seconds) for wait time after Webhook received for rebuilding. Only used if :rebuild_on_webhook is true. Defaults to 300 seconds.
webhook_controller Class for handling Webhook response, defaults to ::ContentfulMiddleman::WebhookHandler.
rich_text_mappings Hash with 'nodeType' => RendererClass pairs determining overrides for the RichTextRenderer library configuration.
base_path String with path to your Middleman Application, defaults to current directory. Path is relative to your current location.
destination String with path within your base path under which to store the output yaml files. Defaults to data.

You can activate the extension multiple times to import entries from different spaces.

Entry mapping

The extension will transform every fetched entry before storing it as a yaml file in the local data folder. If a custom mapper is not specified a default one will be used.

The default mapper will map fields, assets and linked entries.

Custom mappers

You can create your own mappers if you need so. The only requirements for a class to behave as a mapper are an initializer and a map(context, entry) instance method.

The initializer takes two parameters:

  • A Contentful::Array of all entries for the current content model
  • A Middleman::Configuration::ConfigurationManager object containing the Contentful configuration options set in config.rb

See BackrefMapper for an example use of entries.

See the Base mapper for an example use of options.

The map method takes two parameters:

  • A context object. All properties set on this object will be written to the yaml file
  • An entry

Following is an example of such custom mapper:

class MyAwesomeMapper
  def initialize(entries, options)
    @entries = entries
    @options = options

  def map(context, entry)
    context.slug = entry.title.parameterize
    #... more transformations

If you don't want to map all the fields by hand inherit from the Base mappper:

class MyAwesomeMapper < ContentfulMiddleman::Mapper::Base
  def map(context, entry)
    # After calling super the context object
    # will have a property for every field in the
    # entry

There's also an example back-reference mapper in the examples directory for adding back-references onto entries that are linked to by other entries.

Multiple Mappers

If you want to process a Content Type with multiple mappers, you can use the Composite Design Pattern. The Mapper code should look something similar to the following.

Then you can attach as many Custom Mappers as you want to that one.

class CompositeMapper < ContentfulMiddleman::Mapper::Base
  @@mappers = []
  def self.mappers

  def map(context, entry)
    mappers.each do |m|, entry)

Then in your config.rb file:

CompositeMapper.mappers <<
CompositeMapper.mappers <<

activate :contentful do |f|
  '... your config here ...'
  f.content_types = {content_type_name_you_want_to_map: {mapper: CompositeMapper, id: 'content_type_id'}}

NOTE: This kind of Composite Mapper is static, therefore if you want to have multiple combinations of mappers for multiple entries, you'd need to write code a bit differently.

Rich Text BETA

To render rich text in your views, you can use the rich_text view helper.

An example using erb:

<% data.my_space.my_type.each do |_, entry| %>
  <%= rich_text(entry.rich_field) %>
<% end %>

This will output the generated HTML generated by the RichTextRenderer library.

Adding custom renderers

When using rich text, if you're planning to embed entries, then you need to create your custom renderer for them. You can read how create your own renderer classes here.

To configure the mappings, you need to add them in your activate block like follows:

activate :contentful do |f|
  # ... all the regular config ...
  f.rich_text_mappings = { 'embedded-entry-block' => MyCustomRenderer }

You can also add renderers for all other types of nodes if you want to have more granular control over the rendering.

Using the helper with multiple activated Contentful extensions

In case you have multiple activated extensions, and have different mapping configurations for them. You can specify which extension instance you want to pull the configuration from when using the helper.

The helper receives an additional optional parameter for the extension instance. By default it is 0, indicating the first activated extension.

The instances are sequentially numbered in order of activation, starting from 0.

So, if for example you have 2 active instances with different configuration, to use the second instance configuration, you should call the helper as: rich_text(entry.rich_field, 1).

Configuration: examples

activate :contentful do |f|         = {partners: 'space-id'}
  f.access_token  = 'some_access_token'
  f.cda_query     = { content_type: 'content-type-id', include: 1 }
  f.content_types = { partner: 'content-type-id'}

The above configuration does the following:

  • Sets the alias partners to the space with id some-id
  • Sets the alias partner to the content type with id content-type-id
  • Uses the default mapper to transform partner entries into yaml files (no mapper specified for the partner content type)

Entries fetched using this configuration will be stored as yaml files in data/partners/partner/ENTRY_ID.yaml.

class Mapper
  def map(context, entry)
    context.title = "#{entry.title}-title"

activate :contentful do |f|         = {partners: 'space-id'}
  f.access_token  = 'some_access_token'
  f.cda_query     = { content_type: '1EVL9Bl48Euu28QEOa44ai', include: 1 }
  f.content_types = { partner: {mapper: Mapper, id: 'content-type-id'}}

The above configuration is the same as the previous one only that this time we are setting a custom mapper for the entries belonging to the partner content type.

Using imported entries in templates

Middleman will load all the yaml files stored in the local data folder. This lets you use all the imported data into your templates.

Consider that we have data stored under data/partners/partner. Then in our templates we could use that data like this:

  <% do |id, partner| %>
    <li><%= partner["name"] %></li>
  <% end %>

Rendering Markdown:

If you want to use markdown in your content types you manually have to render this to markdown. Depending on the markdown library you need to transform the data. For Kramdown this would be:

<%= %>


If you have localized entries, and want to display content for multiple locales. You can now include locale: '*' in your CDA query.

Then you have the following methods of accessing locales:

  • Manual access

You can access your localized fields by fetching the locale directly from the data

  <% do |id, partner| %>
    <li><%= partner["name"]['en-US'] %></li>
  <% end %>
  • Entry Helper

You can also map an specific locale for all entry fields using localize_entry

  <% do |id, partner| %>
    <% localized_partner = localize_entry(partner, 'es') %>
    <li><%= localized_partner["name"] %></li>
  <% end %>
  • Generic Field Helper

The localize helper will map an specific locale to a field of your entry

  <% do |id, partner| %>
    <li>Value Field: <%= localize(partner, 'name', 'en-US') %></li>
    <li>Array Field: <%= localize(partner, 'phones', 'es') %></li>
  <% end %>
  • Specific Field Type Helper

Or, you can use localize_value or localize_array if you want more granularity.

This method is discouraged, as localize achieves the same goal and is a field-type agnostic wrapper of these methods.

  <% do |id, partner| %>
    <li>Value Field: <%= localize_value(partner['name'], 'en-US') %></li>
    <li>Array Field: <%= localize_array(partner['phones'], 'es') %></li>
  <% end %>

If your fields are not localized, the value of the field will be returned.

In case of the field being localized but no value being set for a given entry, it will use a fallback locale, by default is en-US but can be specified as an additional parameter in all the mentioned calls.

Preview API Helper

You can use the #with_preview helper to try your Preview API content without having to generate the entire data structures.

This generates a new Preview Contentful Client and has a cache that will store your objects in memory until they are considered to need refresh.

It can be used like a Contentful Client:

<% with_preview(space: 'cfexampleapi', access_token: 'b4c0n73n7fu1') do |preview| %>
  <% entry = preview.entry('nyancat') %>

  <p>Name: <%= %></p>
<% end %>

If you want to clear the cache to force a refresh:

<% with_preview(space: 'cfexampleapi', access_token: 'b4c0n73n7fu1') do |preview| %>
  <% preview.clear_cache %>
<% end %>

Caching Rules

  • Every preview client will be cached by Space/Access Token combination
  • Only entry, entries, asset and assets will be cached
  • Every call will be cached by it's query parameters and ID (if ID is applicable)
  • Each call will be considered, by default, stale after 3 tries or 2 hours
  • Cache can be cleared by calling #clear_cache, this applies per preview client

Caching Configuration

You can configure :tries and :expires_in in the #with_preview call like this:

<% with_preview(
     space: 'cfexampleapi',
     access_token: 'b4c0n73n7fu1',
     tries: 20,                                                      # Set Tries to 20 before stale
     expires_in: ContentfulMiddleman::Tools::PreviewProxy.minutes(5) # Set Expiration to 5 minutes
   ) do |preview| %>
  <!-- do your stuff -->
<% end %>

Platform Specific Deployment Caveats

For platform specific issues, please look into the DEPLOYING document. This document is expected to grow with user contributions. Feel free to add your own discoveries to that file by issuing a Pull Request.


Contentful Middleman is an extension to use the Middleman static site generator (Ruby) together with the API-driven Contentful CMS.



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