lightweight blogging platform
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README.md

Port

A lightweight blogging platform

port makes it easy to run a simple markdown-driven blog/static site generator. There is no admin UI or database. (no need!)

You use the command-line interface to create a new site, which makes a directory where you can store different folders (folders are treated as categories), and within those folders you write markdown files.

Installation is easy:

$ pip install port

(port requires Python 3)

Example

An example site is my own blog: space and times

Features

  • Supports GitHub-Flavored Markdown
  • Supports MathJax syntax (in the default theme)
  • Includes RSS feeds for each category and all posts

Creating a site

To create a site, use the port command-line tool:

$ port create my_new_site

You will be walked through the basic configuration.

A folder will created at whatever directory you specified during configuration.

In there you will notice three folders:

  • .build - this is where your compiled posts are stored. This folder is destroyed every build, so don't store anything important there.
  • assets - this is where your static files will be served from. So for example you could place my_image.png in this folder and then in your posts you could refer to /assets/my_image.png.
  • default_category - this is the default category folder. You can rename this or replace it.
  • pages - this is where you can put non-post/non-category pages, also as markdown. For example, an "About" page.

port treats any folder in this directory (except for the .build, assets, and pages folders) as a "category".

Within each folder/category, including the pages folder, you can write posts as markdown documents (with the .md extension).

When you've added or edited documents, you need to re-build the site:

$ port build my_new_site

Writing a post

When writing a post, you can include any arbitrary metadata using YAML front matter, i.e. by including a section demarcated by --- at the very top of your file.

For example:

---
published_at: 6/17/2015 20:45
draft: true
---

This will be parsed and included as part of the post object passed to your templates (see below).

You should at least include the published_at data; without it port will default to using the last build time as the published at value. This can mess up your post ordering.

Other than that, port supports GitHub-Flavored markdown, so go wild!

Pages are written exactly the same as posts - in Markdown and with optional YAML front matter as well.

Running a site

To preview the built site you can just change into the .build directory and run Python's built-in HTTP server:

python3 -m http.server

The main endpoints are:

  • / - your index page :)
  • /<category name> - a category index page
  • /<category name>/<post slug> - a single post
  • /rss - the rss feed for all your posts (20 most recent published)
  • /rss/<category name> - the rss feed for one category (20 most recent published)
  • /<page> - a non-post/non-category page

Configuration

The new site process will walk you through the basic configuration, which creates a yaml file in the ~/.port folder. You can edit this yaml file to update your config, or add in arbitrary data which gets passed to your templates as a dictionary called site_data.

Miscellany

  • Draft posts are not listed in the category and index pages (and RSS feeds) but can be accessed by their direct url
  • Posts are ordered by reverse chron
  • Arbitrary category metadata can be added for each category by creating a meta.yaml file in the category's directory. You can override the template used for a category here and/or the posts per page value, e.g.:
template: a_special_template.html
per_page: 20
  • Pages can similarly have a different template specified in their YAML front matter.

Themes

port has support for theming - custom themes are super easy to write using Jinja.

Templates

New themes go into ~/.port/themes/. Each theme must, at minimum, include the following templates:

  • category.html - used to render category pages
  • index.html - used to render the home page
  • single.html - used to render single post pages
  • page.html - used to render non-post/non-category pages
  • 404.html - 404 error page

Available data

Within each of these templates, you have access to the following variables:

  • site_data - an object consisting of the data stored in your site's yaml config file and additional metadata, such as categories. Note that the attribute names corresponding to keys in your site's config are lowercase (e.g. if you have SITE_NAME in your config, it is accessed at site_data.site_name)
  • post data: single.html includes a post object, category.html and index.html include a posts list
  • pagination data (category.html and index.html): you get a page object which includes page.current, page.next (the next page's url, None if there is no next page), and page.prev

post objects at minimum consist of:

  • title - the raw markdown title, extracted from the first h1 tag
  • title_html - the compiled title
  • html - the compiled markdown, not including the title and metadata
  • published_at - a datetime object
  • category - the post's category
  • slug the post's slug
  • draft - a bool of whether or not the post is a draft

Whatever else you include as metadata in your files will also show up as attributes on the post object.

page objects are similar, at minimum consisting of:

  • title - the raw markdown title, extracted from the first h1 tag
  • title_html - the compiled title
  • html - the compiled markdown, not including the title and metadata
  • slug the post's slug
  • draft - a bool of whether or not the post is a draft

JS & CSS

The theme's JS and CSS folders are available at /js and /css respectively.

Example

See the default theme for an example.


Syncing to a remote folder

I work on my posts on my local machine, and when they are ready, I build them and then sync the local folder to my remote server which hosts the live site.

There's a convenience command for doing this:

$ port sync <site name> <remote>

For example:

$ port sync my_new_site user@mysite.com:~/my_site

Pro tips

  • If you're using vim, you can configure a keybinding to drop in the current datetime for you, which is useful for setting the published_at value in a post's yaml frontmatter, e.g.:

    nnoremap , "=strftime("%m.%d.%Y %H:%M")P

  • Example nginx conf:

    server { listen 80; server_name my.site.co; root /srv/my_new_site; error_page 404 /404.html; }