Most zen static website generator in Golang.
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COPYING Licensing under AGPLv3. Apr 1, 2013


Most. Zen. Static. Website. Generator. Ever.

Why another one? C'mon, you must be kidding...

I just wanted to set up a very simple website (just a few pages) with Jekyll and it didn't feel right. I didn't want a blog.

I checked other projects but they were incomplete, cumbersome or solved the wrong problem (blogs, blogs everywhere). I wanted a zen-like experience. Just a layout and some Markdown files as pages with unobstrusive structure and configuration.

Yes, it is another NIH but... I think Zas is a different kind of beast. I admit that I probably overlooked some projects.

Where is the difference?

  1. Gophers. Yes, there is Hugo (kudos!) but... Who wants to learn another directory layout? There is also Hastie too. If you want a blog.
  2. Markdown only. And HTML, if you want.
  3. Just a loop. Zas just loops over all .md and .html files in current directory (and subdirectories), ignoring all any other file (including dot-files).
  4. Your imagination as limit. Zas has a simple extension mechanism based in subcommands. Do you really need to handle a blog with Zas? Install/create a new extension and do it!
  5. Unobstrutive structure, no '_' files. More in Usage section.



$ go get

Go to your site's directory and do:

$ zas init

A .zas directory will be created with sane defaults. Put your layout in .zas/layout.html and you are ready.

$ zas

Yes. Enough. Your delightful site is on .zas/deploy. Enjoy.

What is happening here? Well, "generate" subcommand is called by default. This subcommand accepts the following flags:

  • -verbose: print ALL the things!
  • -full: generates all the input files. By default, zas has an incremental mode which keeps source and deploy directories in sync.

Configuration and extension

Zas is like water. It can flow or it can cr... Nevermind, Zas doesn't crash (please fill an issue if it does).

Everything is configurable at .zas/config.yml. It is created with default vaules everytime you create a repository. Beware, it is created every time you execute init.

You can override "site" config section in two ways:

  1. HTML comment in files (most precedence).
  2. .zas.yml file at directory level. Its scope is its directory and subdirectories (until another .zas.yml is found).

To extend Zas functionality you can use and create plugins. Developers, you can develop them in any language (not only in Golang) thanks to Unix magic. And more gophers.


Any prefixed by "zs" or "mzs" is a potential Zas plugin. All plugins are treated as Zas subcommands.

For example, we invoke an imaginary plugin called 'zshello' as subcommand:

$ zas hello

$ zas hello World
Hello World!

That's all. Any command line argument after subcommand name is passed to "zshello" command.

Beware: Zas won't pass any configuration information. Plugins are responsible to read configuration, even from directory and page levels. Helper libraries in different languages are welcome!

Also, plugins are free to use .zas directory for their own needs. I recommend to create this directory's structure to avoid colliding issues:

+-- plugins
|   +--
|       +-- imdario
|           +-- myplugin
+-- ...    

Any "zs" plugin can be invoked through a script tag with type "application/zas+myplugin". Arguments can be passed with data-args attribute, which content will be used as command-line invoke.

<script type="application/zas+myplugin" data-args="arg1 arg2 ... argN"></script>

The tag is deleted after execution. Any output in stdout will replace the tag.

All plugins will be called in order. Oh, you can even ask for async execution with same-name attribute (hint: async).

Ok, what's the deal with "mzs" prefix? (a.k.a. MIME types plugins)

These are MIME type plugins. Zas uses embed tags to allow easy integration beyond command line. Any MIME type can be configured in .zas/config.yml under mimetypes section.

  text/markdown: markdown
  text/yaml+myplugin: myplugin

If Zas find an embed tag with type attribute set to "text/yaml+myplugin", it will invoke "mzsmyplugin". Zas expects to process plugin's stdout as HTML. It also pipes stderr to user's shell. Any plugin will be called passing current file's path as argument.

<embed src="" type="text/markdown" />

Maybe you are asking to yourself: "Where is mzsmarkdown?". Nowhere! It is a special case, where Zas calls an exported method Markdown. Anyway, I wanted to allow to anyone to override internal Markdown processing if they wish.

If you develop a new plugin, please contact me and I will list it here :) Please, keep in mind: make it idempotent.

Building sites

Your site layout will look like this:

$ ls

Just kidding. A site would be:

$ ls -laR
total 8
drwxr-xr-x   5 Dario  staff   170 30 mar 16:18 .
drwxr-xr-x   6 Dario  staff   204 30 mar 13:17 ..
drwxr-xr-x  13 Dario  staff   442 27 mar 20:05 .git
drwxr-xr-x   3 Dario  staff   102 30 mar 13:18 .zas
-rw-r--r--   1 Dario  staff   941 30 mar 16:19
-rw-r--r--@  1 Dario  staff  1645 30 mar 15:31
drwxr-xr-x   4 Dario  staff   136 30 mar 16:20 section


total 0
drwxr-xr-x  4 Dario  staff   136 30 mar 16:22 .
drwxr-xr-x  7 Dario  staff   238 30 mar 16:19 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 Dario  staff    29 30 mar 13:18 config.yml
-rw-r--r--  1 Dario  staff  2438 30 mar 16:22 layout.html

total 0
drwxr-xr-x  4 Dario  staff  136 30 mar 16:20 .
drwxr-xr-x  7 Dario  staff  238 30 mar 16:19 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 Dario  staff  718 30 mar 16:19
-rw-r--r--  1 Dario  staff  991 30 mar 16:20

All .md files will be converted to HTML and copied in .zas/deploy using .zas/layout.html as layout and copying any other files and their structure. This is also true for .html files.

Keep in mind that any file will be treated as a Go text template before any further processing. You have access to this fields and methods from anywhere:

  • {{.Body}}: the file itself in HTML.
  • {{.Title}}: autodetected title (first H1 header in file), overridden by "title" property in page's config.
  • {{.Path}}: file's path (also valid as URL).
  • {{.Site.BaseURL}}: URL where this site will be deployed, e.g. (without final slash).
  • {{.Site.Image}}: URL to main image. Useful for Open Graph and Twitter meta tags.
  • {{.Page}}: YAML map from first HTML comment (in Markdown and HTML files). It is optional.
  • {{.Directory}}: YAML map from above (up to project's directory) or current directory's .zas.yml file. It is optional.
  • {{.URL}}: full URL for this file.
  • {{.Extra /path/}}: direct access to map holding .zas/config.yml as it is. You can access to any value with its full path. E.g. BaseURL is also available as "/site/baseurl".
  • {{.Resolve id}}: indirect access to site, directory and page config. It works with simple keys (no paths), checking for them in page, directory and site config (as "/site/"), in this order.
  • {{.Language}}: file current language, if defined in the first comment (as YAML property 'language'). By default, "/site/language" value.

What about layout.html?

It is plain HTML. No frills. Just add a placeholder {{.Body}} in your template.

First header level 1 from Markdown files will be made available as {{.Title}}, unless it is overridden.

But... I want to do pages beyond post-like format

No problem! Just use our old friend <embed>. Imagine <layout> is a valid tag.

	    <embed src="" type="text/markdown" />
    	<embed src="section/" type="text/markdown" />

What does it mean? It means you can have .html files with embedded markdown files. Or anything else supported by Zas.


對不起。T我不会说普通话。That's all my Chinese! If you are here, I guess you will enjoy I18N support in Zas.


Yeah, internationalization: you can build multilingual sites with Zas!

You only need to do three simple steps. First, create a i18n.yml file inside your .zas directory, like this:

Main page:
    zh: 首页
    ru: Заглавная страница 
    es: Portada
    ca: Portada
Create account:
    zh: 创建账户
    ru: Создать учётную запись
    es: Crear una cuenta
    ca: Crea un compte
Log in:
    zh: 登录
    ru: Войти
    es: Acceder
    ca: Inicia la sessió

Set your site's main language in .zas/config.yml:

    language: en

And set each file's language in first comment or, if you have lots of files, as a .zas.yml in a subdirectory where to group them.

+-- zh
    +-- .zas.yml
+-- ru
    +-- .zas.yml
+-- es
    +-- .zas.yml
+-- ca
    +-- .zas.yml

Your .zas.yml will look like this, i.e. for Russian (ru):

language: ru


Check at the planned enhancements here.

Feel free to open an issue if you think Zas should do something specific in its core.

Contact me

If I can help you, you have an idea or you are using Zas in your projects, don't hesitate to drop me a line (or a pull request): @im_dario


Written by Dario Castañé.


Zas is under AGPL v3 license.

Other cool projects

Recently I found this cool generator inspired by zas: zs. I'm happy to be a humble reference for somebody :)

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