Ruthlessly simple static site generator, written in Ruby.
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Version 1.0.0

Ruthlessly simple static site generator, written in Ruby.

Note that this is designed to be a single file self-contained quick solution. It produces themable Markdown-based static sites as expected, but the codebase (whilst being compact, clear, and commented) is not idiomatic object-oriented Ruby. This is by design, for brevity and simplicity.


Webrick is used for serving the static site locally when creating/updating it, not for production delivery of the result.


Ruby 2+

You can use the main Ruby site (see link above) installation details, or try RVM, the Ruby Version Manager. On Windows the Ruby+Devkit 2.4.X helps, but be sure to do the full (larger) install when prompted.

Gem dependencies

Upon running, ruthless will fetch it's own dependencies via Bundler. For this to work, Bundler must already be available:

gem install bundler


  • Ensure you have the prerequisites installed (see above).
  • Create a folder and drop the ruthless.rb script into it.
  • Run ruby ruthless.rb --site to generate a simple site in a new folder (named site).
  • Run ruby ruthless.rb to render a static version of the site.
    • Running ruby ruthless.rb --serve also serves the created site.
  • The static site will be in a www folder alongside the site one.

Any existing www folder will be replaced (permissions permitting).

Site folder structure

Content is written in Markdown files in a content folder. Your site structure will mirror the content folder structure.

Running with the --site option will create this structure for you, along with some extra files (shown below).


You can add more content like so:



The site folder should have a ruthless.ini file with the following options (if you create a new site then a sample one will be provided for you).

title = Ruthless
blurb = Ruthlessly simple static site generator
footer = Created by <a href='' target='_blank'></a> and <a href='' target='_blank'>Ruby</a>.

extentions = false

Home = /
Latest = /news

Basic flow

The site is rendered using your content, combined with the layout.liquid template, and the theme.css.

  • The ruthless.ini file is read in
  • The theme.css file is copied over
  • Your *.md files and their locations are read in
  • They are passed though Red Carpet for fast conversion to HTML
  • They are then passed through Liquid for fast templating
  • The results are written to matching folders in the output
  • Files named *.txt are also passed through Liquid, but are not treated as Markdown. They will be written inside <pre> tags.
  • Other file types are copied across unchanged.

Allowed properties in the template


This list is complete, though very small as ruthless is still in progress.

  • sitetitle - from the ruthless.ini file
  • siteblurb - from the ruthless.ini file
  • sitefooter - from the ruthless.ini file
  • content - the final output from the flow above


By using content front matter (as flat YAML metadata) you can provide any key/value information you like and it will make it's way to the template, with the exception of the ones above which are built in.

For example:

title: Welcome to Ruthless
dated: 2018-08-27

For more information, see [the web site](

Debugging in Visual Studio Code

gem install bundler
gem install ruby-debug-ide
gem install debase