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Groan-less Tumblr theme development

What is this thing, and why should I care?

If you've ever had to build a Tumblr theme, you've probably cried out in pain while tweaking locally, copying, pasting into the theme editor, saving, switching tabs and finally refreshing and waiting for your tesing blog to reload.

Tumblargh aims to reduce suffering involved with building a theme by offering a way to fully develop, lint and test Tumblr themes locally, with real posts from any existing Tumblog.

Getting Started

You'll need to get an OAuth consumer key for the Tumblr v2 API to use remote data with Tumblargh. Registration is simple enough, just go to and fill out the form. Any time Tumblargh asks for your API key, it'll be the OAuth Consumer key provided there.


The recommended way to use tumblargh is in conjuction with Middleman.

Middleman is a static site generator based on Sinatra. Providing dozens of templating languages (Haml, Sass, Compass, Slim, CoffeeScript, and more).

Tumblargh includes a simple Middleman extension that turns any Middleman project into a local Tumblr theme building machine. As of 0.2.0, Tumblargh requires Middleman >= 3.0.

Tumblargh will automatically parse any html files served by Middleman, and populate them with content from the Tumblr of your choosing. It will not parse any HTML during Middleman's build process. The output of middleman build is ready for use on your blog, or submission to the Tumblr theme store.

To get up and running with Middleman, first create a new Middleman project:

$ middleman init MY_PROJECT_NAME

If one does not already exist, create a Gemfile and add the following as needed:

source ""

gem 'middleman'
gem 'tumblargh'

Run bundle install.

The bare minimum setup in your Middleman config.rb is:

require 'tumblargh'

activate :tumblargh,
  api_key: 'API KEY', # This is your OAuth consumer key
  blog: ''

It is highly recommended to run the Middleman server via bundle exec.


See examples/ for a minimal Rack setup, ready to go with rackup or your Ruby server of choice.

Known issues & planned features

  • Source attribution {block:ContentSource}
  • Your likes {block:Likes}
  • Twitter integration {block:Twitter}
  • Custom page support


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