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Broccoli Static Site JSON

A Simple Broccoli plugin that parses collections of markdown files and exposes them as JSON:API documents in the output tree, under the specified paths. It also supports the use of front-matter to define meta-data for each markdown file.

It is used for the following official Ember Documentation projects:

Basic Usage

const jsonTree = new StaticSiteJson(folder)

The most basic use, of this Broccoli plugin, is to generate a tree of JSON files from a folder filled with markdown files. The most common usage would be to call StaticSiteJson on a content folder like this: const contentJsonTree = new StaticSiteJson('content').

Important notes about default behaviour:

  • The name of the folder will be the default type for the JSON:API document.
  • The type will automatically be pluralized, so if you use the above content folder the type will be contents.
  • Using front-matter you can define the ID or the Title attribute of the content. Any other attributes must be defined in configuration.

By default the plugin also looks for a pages.yml that exposes it as a JSON:API document named pages.json in the output path. As the name suggests, this JSON file is quite useful to build a Table of Contents in the consuming application.

How to integrate into an Ember app

The simplest way to integrate this into your Ember Application is to create the StaticSiteJson tree and merge it into your Ember app tree as follows:

'use strict';

const EmberApp = require('ember-cli/lib/broccoli/ember-app');
const BroccoliMergeTrees = require('broccoli-merge-trees');
const StaticSiteJson = require('broccoli-static-site-json');

module.exports = function(defaults) {
  let app = new EmberApp(defaults, {
    // Add options here

  let contentsJson = new StaticSiteJson('content');

  return new BroccoliMergeTrees([app.toTree(), contentsJson]);

To see a more in-depth implementation using an in-repo addon check out the Ember Guides App.

Using with Ember Fastboot and Prember

Prember allows you to pre-render any list of URLs into static HTML files at build time using Ember Fastboot. Prember is recommended if you are trying to deploy an Ember-based static site using broccoli-static-site-json.

If you would like to use broccoli-static-site-json with Prember you must make sure that your static json tree is available to the Ember app at build time. The only way to do this is to build the broccoli-static-site-json tree in an Ember Addon and make sure it is exposed via the treeForPublic() hook of that addon. The quickest and easiest way to start working with an Ember addon would be to create an in-repo addon. To create an in-repo addon first run

ember generate in-repo-addon your-addon-name

It will create a new directory lib/your-addon-name with two files: index.json and package.json.

You should update the index.json file and add your broccoli-static-site-json implementation, then you should expose the resulting tree using the treeForPublic hook. You can see an example of how to do this below:

'use strict';

const StaticSiteJson = require('broccoli-static-site-json');

const contentsJson = new StaticSiteJson('content');

module.exports = {
  name: require('./package').name,

  isDevelopingAddon() {
    return true;

  treeForPublic() {
    return contentsJson;

Detailed documentation


By default this plugin assumes the only attribute available on the front-matter is title. You can configure what attributes you want exposed in the JSON:API output by simply adding the attributes config value as follows:

const jsonTree = new StaticSiteJson('content', {
  attributes: ['title', 'subtitle', 'index'],


By default this plugin will use the name of the folder that you're building as the JSON:API type for example if you had the following configuration:

const jsonTree = new StaticSiteJson('author');

it would load the markdown in the folder author and each JSON:API document would have a type of authors.

If you want to specify the type directly you can in the options:

const jsonTree = new StaticSiteJson('really-strange_placeToPut_some_FILES', {
  type: 'author'

Note: just like the folder example the type will be automatically pluralised.


If you want to have the ability to query all of your content at once you can do that by collating content together in a collection. This will place all of your markdown files into a single JSON:API document and can be used for findAll queries. To turn on collation you just need to set the collate attribute to true

new StaticSiteJson(`content`, {
  collate: true,
  • collate: Boolean - Default: false


If you have turned on collation by default BroccoliStaticSiteJson will output the collated documents with the file name all.json. If you want to be able to edit this default output file you can set the collationFileName.

new StaticSiteJson(`content`, {
  collate: true,
  collationFileName: 'articles.json'
  • collationFileName: String - Default: all.json


In most cases when you're using BroccoliStaticSiteJson you probably will not be dealing with collections that are too large. But in some cases, for example a blog, you want to be able to deal with collections of an arbitrary length and it would be useful to paginate your collated collections. To enable pagination you set paginate to be true in your options:

new StaticSiteJson(`content`, {
  collate: true,
  paginate: true,

Note: paginate will do nothing if you haven't set collate to true.

This will produce a series of files in your output tree:


Each of these files makes use of the JSON:API spec's pagination meta and will have links entries for first, last, next, and prev as appropriate.

Note: the contents of content/all.json and content/all-0.json are exactly the same. This is provided for simplicity and backwards compatibility when querying paginated collections.


By default, if you have turned on pagination, BroccoliStaticSiteJson will use a page size of 10 entries per file. If you want to change the page size then you can set the pageSize in the options:

new StaticSiteJson(`content`, {
  collate: true,
  paginate: true,
  pageSize: 20,

Note: pageSize will do nothing if paginate is missing or set to false.


When paginating the order of the items in each page becomes very important, and will be highly dependent on your specific use case. For example, if you are using BroccoliStaticSiteJson for a blogging platform you will most likely want to order the posts by date and from latest to oldest.

For this reason you can define a paginateSortFunction() that will be passed as a compareFunction into Array.sort(). The full list of items will be sorted before they are chunked into pages. Here is a simplified example taken from what is used in empress-blog to sort posts by date:

const contentTree = new StaticSiteJson('content', {
  attributes: ['date'], // this is simplified for the example
  collate: true,
  paginate: true,
  paginateSortFunction(a, b) {
    return -;

Note: you can only sort based on attributes that have been defined in your attributes parameter. id is always available and is the name of the file by default.

Note: paginateSortFunction() does nothing if paginate is not true;


One of the things that differentiates this Broccoli Plugin from some of the other approaches of accessing Markdown, from an Ember application, is that because we are generating JSON:API compatible JSON files we are able to make use of real relationships.

To define a relationship you just need to provide a references configuration to the StaticSiteJson options, which works in the same way as attributes. The only difference is that front-matter value for a reference is added to the relationships definition of the JSON:API document.

const jsonTree = new StaticSiteJson('content', {
  references: ['author'],

Content types

By default this plugin ouputs the Markdown in two formats: the original contents of the Markdown file, under the content attribute, and an HTML version of the file under the attribute html. If you do not need the original Markdown in production then you can remove it from the output by specifying the content types:

const jsonTree = new StaticSiteJson('content', {
  contentTypes: ['html'],

Available content types

  • content - default
    • Contains the full contents of the Markdown file
  • html - default
    • Contains a simple html representation of the Markdown file
  • description - optional
    • Contains the first 260 characters of the content of the file
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