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s2gen - static site generator

This is a simple static site generator written in Scala for my web-site It uses Freemarker as a template engine and assumes that you write the content in Markdown. The generator supports the monitor mode, comes with an embedded Web server and stays completely unopinionated about organizing front-end assets.

It should work well on any operating system provided that JRE8 is installed.

Getting started

Download the latest release from the release page

Extract the downloaded package to any directory and add s2gen executable to the PATH. To achieve that, you can edit your .bashrc:


Initialize a skeleton project in an empty directory by typing the following:

$ s2gen -init

The following directory structure will be generated:

$ tree -L 4
├── content
│   └── blog
│       └── 2016
│           └──
├── s2gen.json
├── site
│   └── css
│       └── styles.css
└── templates
    ├── about.ftl
    ├── archive.ftl
    ├── blog.ftl
    ├── footer.ftl
    ├── header.ftl
    ├── index.ftl
    ├── info.ftl
    ├── main.ftl
    ├── menu.ftl
    ├── page.ftl
    ├── post.ftl
    └── sitemap.ftl

6 directories, 13 files

The example configuration can be found in s2gen.json. The default settings are mostly fine, but feel free to change the and server.port properties. In order to generate the site, simply type s2gen:

$ s2gen
[15:21:41.415] [INFO ] GenerationService - Generation started
[15:21:41.606] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Cleaning up the previous version
[15:21:41.775] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Successfully generated: <archive> 
[15:21:41.785] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Successfully generated: <index> 
[15:21:41.801] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Successfully generated: <about> 
[15:21:41.806] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Successfully generated: <feed.xml> 
[15:21:41.806] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Successfully generated: <sitemap.xml> 
[15:21:41.823] [INFO ] PageGenerationService - Successfully generated: 2016/ 
[15:21:41.887] [INFO ] HttpServerService - Starting the HTTP server
[15:21:41.950] [INFO ] HttpServerService - The HTTP server has been started on port 8080
[15:21:42.267] [INFO ] MonitorService - Registering a file watcher
[15:21:42.289] [INFO ] MonitorService - Waiting for changes...

After generating, s2gen switches to the monitor mode and starts waiting for file changes.

It also starts an embedded Jetty server on a port specified in s2gen.json as the server.port property. If you don't want to start a server in the monitor mode, start s2gen with the -noserver flag.

If you don't need the monitor mode, you can start s2gen with the -once flag. In this case, the site is generated only once, after which s2gen quits.

Generated HTML files will be placed to the site directory. Frontend assets (styles, scripts, images, fonts) could also be added to this directory manually, and s2gen will not touch them.

Custom templates

The bootstrap example generates the About page as a custom template. In order to add a custom template, you must place the Freemarker file in the templates directory and add it to the templates.custom list in s2gen.json:

  "templates": {
    "custom": ["about.ftl"],
    "customXml": ["feed.ftl", "sitemap.ftl"]

For about.ftl, the output HTML file will be placed into ./site/about/index.html, so it can be referenced as follows:

<a href="/about">About</a>

For feed.ftl and sitemap.ftl, the output XML files will be put into the ./site directory.

Custom templates also have access to common site properties like title and description.

Testing the site

s2gen comes with an embedded Jetty server, which starts automatically in the monitor mode and serves static content from the output directory. This is more than enough for testing, so you don't need to install anything else.

Available template values

Inside the template, you will have access to the following values as they are defined in s2gen.json:

reference description
site.title The title of the site
site.description The description of the site The host name including http(s) but excluding the trailing slash
site.lastmod Tha last modification data of the site as a whole in YYYY-MM-DD format (for sitemap)
site.title The title of the site
currentLanguage The current language (only available in I18N mode)

Posts have several more values available to them. In particular, the date and status properties are mandatory in the header section of Markdown content files, and they are available in templates as follows:

reference description The date of the post in YYYY-MM-DD format
content.dateJ The date of the post as java.util.Date
content.status The status of the post. The post is not added to the blog until it's published

The following values are available automatically to all posts:

reference description
content.body The rendered HTML of the post
content.preview The HTML version of the preview section (see the example for the preview markers)
content.previewText The text version of the preview section (see the example for the preview markers)

Custom templates (both XML and HTML) and the archive template have access to the following:

reference description
posts All published posts sorted by date as java.util.List
site.lastPubDateJ The date of the last post as java.util.Date
site.lastBuildDateJ The date of the last site generation as java.util.Date

You can also add other values by putting custom keys to the header section of the Markdown file. They will be available in templates as well. For example the title property will be available as content.title and so on.

I18N support

You can instruct s2gen to build localized variants of your Web-site alongside the default one. This way, the default version will be available at the root address /, whereas localized versions will be served from /<langCode>.

In order to enable the I18N support, you need to create a directory called i18n and put it in templates. The i18n directory should contain files with message translations for your templates, for example,

  • es.propserties

These are Java properties files and they can contain UTF8 and HTML. Defined translations will be available in templates files with the message. prefix, so if you define a property called main_slogan, you can access it in a template using ${messages.main_slogan}.

Templates will also have access to a special variable called currentLanguage. For localized versions, it will return the language code (the name of the .properties file). For the default version, it will return the empty string.

You can write posts in different languages. If you add to a post a special property called language and set to, say, es, then this post will be only available to the corresponding version of the Web-site. You don't need to add this property for posts in the default language, but you can do that - just make sure that you set it to empty string. Then you can use Freemarker conditions to render feed-like pages:

  <#list posts as post>
    <#if post.status == "published" && ((post.language?? && 
        currentLanguage == post.language) ||
        (!post.language?? && currentLanguage == ""))>
        <div class="excerpt">${post.previewText}</div>

The same trick can be used for rendering archive pages and sitemaps.

Markdown content in custom templates

If you want to generate one of your custom pages (i.e Privacy Policy) from Markdown, simply put necessary files in the content/misc directory and make sure your md file has at least:

  • title
  • type (must be anything but post)
  • language (if not provided, the file will be considered to be written in default language

Then, assuming that the title is indeed Privacy Policy, inside of your Freemarker template, reference the content as follows:

<#if misc["Privacy Policy"]??>
  <#if misc["Privacy Policy"][currentLanguage]??>
    ${misc["Privacy Policy"][currentLanguage].body}
    ${misc["Privacy Policy"][""].body}

The above code will check whether you Privacy Policy exists in the currentLanguage and fall back to using default.

Copyright and License

Licensed under the MIT License, see the LICENSE file.