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## Yet another Ruby blog
I recently moved to China, and the past three days was a big holiday here. My Chinese is still pretty bad and it kinda of limits my, let's say, entertainment options. And that's why I ended up studying Javascript frameworks in order to do a presentation at the office. After jumping from blog to blog I've gathered some amount of data around this topic in a big markdown file. And then I thought - wouldn't it be great if could publish it on blog? I have a bunch of stuff I want to post about and now seemed a perfect time to start it. So let's stop talking about me.
So I went after blogging engines. If you ask me why I didn't scaffold it with Rails I'm gonna blow your head. My requirements were that it needed to be easy to style so I could make it look pretty, that it was filesystem based so I could manage it with git, and that it was markdown. [The Ruby Toolbox](https://www.ruby-toolbox.com/) has listed a bunch of Ruby engines in it's [Blog Engine](https://www.ruby-toolbox.com/categories/Blog_Engines), no wonder! And couldn't find much more than that at the webz.
I won't go in detail in any of them. But it is worth mention in case you want to learn more about it. [Jekyll](http://jekyllrb.com/) is great, but I didn't want to setup all the necessary infrastructure. [Octopress](http://octopress.org/), which is build on top of Jekyll, looks pretty cool! But it does too much stuff and I might have to hack it too much so it worked the way I wanted. [Toto](http://cloudhead.io/toto) was the best alternative. I also tried [Serious](https://github.com/colszowka/serious), which wasn't customizable out of the box, actually none were. Yes! I know there are some really nice blogging tools in Javascript, I was specially interested in [wheat](https://github.com/creationix/wheat). But in the end I just wanted to build my own website and wanted something to handle the posts for me. I wanted a blog library, not an engine.
So I started building the website with Sinatra (yes! it still take less lines than any Javascript framework) and eventually ported out the engine to a gem. And [rollin](http://github.com/marano/rollin) was born!
## rollin
Rollin is a Ruby blog library. It renders your articles and provides archiving. Files are read from the filesystem in the Markdown format.
This is how it works. Add `gem 'rollin'` to the project Gemfile. And write your articles with the following structure:
├── articles
└── 2013_05_01_My_first_post.mk
And then you can use the this API to access your posts.
blog = Rollin::Blog.new()
first_post = blog.articles.first
first_post.id # => "2013_05_01_My_first_post"
first_post.title # => "My first post"
first_post.body # => "<h3>My first post!</h3>\n<p>blah blah blah</p>"
And monthly archive.
may_archive = blog.monthly_archive.first
may_archive.year # => 2013
may_archive.month # => 5
may_archive.articles # => [ Rollin::Article(:title => "My first post" ...) ]
And annual archive.
twenty_thirteen_archive = blog.annual_archive.first
twenty_thirteen_archive.year # => 2013
twenty_thirteen_archive.articles # => [ Rollin::Article(:title => "My first post" ...) ]
twenty_thirteen_archive.monthly_archive # => [ Rollin::MonthArchive(:year => 2013, :month => 5 ...) ]
And this is how to you find a post.
blog.find_article_by_id('2013_05_01_My_first_post') # => #Rollin::Article(:title => "My first post" ...)
So you could have something like in your controller.
get '/' do
@articles = blog.articles
@monthly_archive = blog.monthly_archive
erb :home
end
get '/article/:article_id' do
@article = blog.find_article_by_id(params[:article_id])
erb :article
end
You could make an archive sidebar with similar code.
# home.erb
<ul class='sidebar'>
<% @monthly_archive.each do |month_archive| %>
<li><%= month_archive.year >/<%= month_archive.month %></li>
<% end %>
</ul>
And have the post displayed with.
<h2 class='title'><%= @article.title %></h2>
<div class='content'><%= @article.body %></h2>
You can find a more detailed documentation at [github](http://github/com/marano/rollin).
### Concerns
Since it is meant to be used in a blogging domain it is not optimized with caching. You should implement cache in the infrastructure layer, what shouldn't be hard in a mostly static environment. I use the awesome Varnish, which also allows me to have several domains pointing to different applications running on the same server.
### Future
For the future it would be nice to have it working with any markup languages. Also having the ability to setup other sources like a git repository, google docs account, or dropbox could make it appealing for some people.
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