Skip to content
This repository has been archived by the owner on Aug 14, 2020. It is now read-only.


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


Static site generator with an attitude

Szyslak is a static site generator based on Node.JS and Grunt. It is designed for my personal needs and website building habits. While quite a lot of static site generators are available out there, I find that adapting yourself to them makes absolutely no sense. Having to structure my site's code according to the generators' required schemes alone kills them for me.

Don't use this! Create your own! In my opinion, it is much better to have a framework that is adapted to your particular needs and methodologies. If you need a static site generator, I encourage you to create your own. Don't use this (unless it really fits your needs). If anything, use this as a reference for creating your own static site generator (not that I claim this one is properly written).

Current Features

  • Automatic rendering of HTML files with Lo-Dash templates.
  • Template nesting is supported.
  • Automatic compilation of Roole files into CSS.
  • Automatic minification of CSS files (with clean-css) and JS files (with UglifyJS).
  • Automatic parsing of JSON files and YAML/JSON Front Matter (with yaml-front-matter) in HTML files. JSON files are turned into objects that are available inside all HTML pages/templates. YAML/JSON Front Matter is available inside the specific HTML file only.

Getting Started

This plugin requires Grunt ~0.4.1

If you haven't used Grunt before, be sure to check out the Getting Started guide, as it explains how to create a Gruntfile as well as install and use Grunt plugins. Once you're familiar with that process, you may install this plugin with this command:

npm install szyslak --save-dev

Once the plugin has been installed, it may be enabled inside your Gruntfile with this line of JavaScript:


Directory Structure

Szyslak projects have a directory structure of source files in a directory called src/, and the generated site is generated into a directory called dist/.

Inside the source directory, the structure is basically whatever you want it to be, with the following three exceptions:

  • If you want to use JSON data files (you don't have to), they should be placed in a directory of their own. This directory can be named however you want and doesn't have to be at the top of src/. By default, Szyslak searches for them in src/data/.
  • The same goes for templates. You don't have to use them, and by default they're expected to be in src/templates/.
  • And the same goes for vendor/third-party/bower-managed files. By default, they're expected to be in src/vendor/.

The website will have a layout template, always called layout.html, and located in the templates directory.

Here's an example directory structure:


The "szyslak" task

The szyslak task is the only task provided by this package. To use this task, add a section named szyslak to the data object passed into grunt.initConfig(). I recommended using the clean task from grunt-contrib-clean to automatically purge the destination directory when running grunt.

Let's start with an example Gruntfile:

module.exports = function(grunt) {
	// Project configuration.
		szyslak: {
			options: {
				templates_dir: "templates", // this is the default
				data_dir: "data", // this is the default
				vendor_dir: "bower_components", // the default is "vendor"
				vendor_files: [

		// Before generating any new files,
		// remove any previously-created files.
		clean: ['dist/*']

	// Load npm plugins to provide necessary tasks.

	// Default task to be run.
	grunt.registerTask('default', ['clean', 'szyslak']);

	// Run szyslak with a certain target
	grunt.registerTask('production', ['clean', '']);

As you can see in the above example, the szyslak task can receive a target argument. The target is a simple string you can provide to help change the way the website is compiled for different situations or targets. For example, when you compile the website on your personal computer for testing, the target could be localhost (which is the default if no target is provided). When compiling for your web server, the target may be something like The current target is available in pages and templates for your inspection and usage. An example where this may be useful is if your website utilizes the <base> element in its layout template:

		<title><%= title %> | My Awesome Website</title>
		<base href="http://<%= target %>/" />
		<%= __content %>

In the above example, the href attribute of the base element will hold http://localhost/ when the default task is run, and when the production task is run.



Type: String Default value: 'templates'

The directory, inside src/, where template files reside.


Type: String Default value: 'data'

The directory, inside src/, where JSON data files reside.


Type: String Default value: 'vendor'

The directory, inside src/, where third-party source files reside.


Type: Array Default value: none

A list of files to copy from the vendor directory to the destination tree. Only these files are copied, and if this configuration option is not provided, no files are copied.

There are two ways to list files in this array:

  1. An item in this array can either be a simple string (Grunt's globbing patterns are supported), in which case the file(s) are copied directly to the vendor directory in the destination tree (e.g. dist/vendor/), flattened (so 'src/vendor/jquery/jquery.min.js' in the vendor directory is copied to 'dist/vendor/jquery.min.js').
  2. An item can be an object, with two properties: src, which is an array of source files (again, globbing patterns are supported), and dest, which is a destination directory inside the output vendor directory.

For example:

szyslak: {
	options: {
		vendor_directory: "bower",
		vendor_files: [
			{ src: ['bootstrap/dist/{css,js}/bootstrap.min.{css,js}'], dest: 'bootstrap' }

In the above example, the following file copies will be made:

  • src/bower/jquery/jquery.min.js => dist/bower/jquery.min.js
  • src/bower/knockout.js/knockout.js => dist/bower/knockout.js
  • src/bower/bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css => dist/bower/bootstrap/bootstrap.min.css
  • src/bower/bootstrap/dist/js/bootstrap.min.js => dist/bower/bootstrap/bootstrap.min.css

Generation Process

The szyslak tasks employs the following process to generate the site:

  1. If a data directory exists, all JSON files in it are parsed into objects named like the files (minus the .json extension).
  2. If a templates directory exists, all HTML files in it are pre-processed with Lo-Dash, and the resulting template functions are saved into an object.
  3. If a vendor directory exists, and vendor files have been configured, they are copied to the site's dist/ directory.
  4. Szyslak goes over all other files and directories under src/ (recursively of course), and performs the following:
    • If a file has an .html extension, its front matter (either YAML or JSON) is parsed (it doesn't have to have any), and the HTML content is rendered with Lo-Dash (so even though the file is considered a "page", it is rendered as if it were a template).

      The resulting HTML content will be re-rendered into the layout template (layout.html). However, if a template field exists in the page's front matter, the page's content will first be rendered into that template, and only then into the layout template.

      A context object is available inside the page and all the templates in the chain. This object includes all data objects from step 1, all fields from the front matter (if any), and the following keys:

      • __content - the HTML to embed in the template (only available in templates, not in pages themselves).
      • target - the target argument, as explained earlier. Defaults to localhost.
      • path - the relative path of the file inside dist/.
      • base - the same as path but minus the extension.
      • title - the same as path, it's just there to make sure every page has a title even if one was not provided in the front matter.
      • cwd - the directory of the current file, including src/ at the head.
      • relcwd - the same as cwd, minus the src/ at the head.
      • include(template_name) - this function renders a template from the templates directory and embeds the output (example usage: <%= include('header.html') %>). The same context object will be available to the embedded template.
      • fs - an object of the NodeJS File System Class.
      • os - an object of the NodeJS Operating System Class.
      • grunt - the grunt object, so you can use the Grunt API, like grunt.file.
      • children - see following paragraph.

      If the YAML/JSON front matter of the file has a field called needs_children with a true value, Szyslak will look at all the subdirectories of the current working directory (just one level down) and look for a file named index.html in each of these directories. For all index.html files found, their front matter is loaded. An object with all these front matters will be added to the context object, under the field children. The keys of this object will be the names of the subdirectories, and the values are the parsed front matters.

      The resulting HTML content of this process is copied to the appropriate location in the dist/ directory.

    • If the file has a .roo extension, it is compiled to CSS and minified, before being copied.

    • If the file has a .js or .css extension, it is minified and copied.

    • All other files are simply copied as is.

Note that apart from vendor files (see explanation above), directory structures are maintained. Paths are not flattened before copying.

Release History

  • 2013-12-03   v1.4.0   Added the target task argument.
  • 2013-11-28   v1.3.0   Added relcwd (in context), template & needs_children (in front matter).
  • 2013-11-08   v1.2.0   Added the cwd, fs, os and grunt context variables.
  • 2013-10-28   v1.1.0   Added support for template nesting with the include function.
  • 2013-10-23   v1.0.1   Small bugfix with the base context variable.
  • 2013-10-23   v1.0.0   Initial release.


Grunt-based static site generator with an attitude







No packages published