Skip to content


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

Hypertext mechanics in Bash

For command line nerds. With love.

A sample is worth a thousand words:

$ mkdir contents htdocs layouts
$ echo '<h1>Hello World</h1>' > contents/Hello-World
$ echo '<html><body>`content`</body></html>' > layouts/contents.html
$ simsalabash
$ firefox htdocs/index.html

Find more reasonable examples in examples/.

How does it work?

For every file in contents/, the corresponding layout will get expanded into htdocs/ where the output is stored under the name of the content file with the extension of the layout file.

Layouts correspond to content files, when their name (without extension) does match a component of the (relative) path of the content file. Matching starts from the rear end with the file name.

In your content and/or layout files you may use shell expansions like





Hi, this is $USER talking.

to combine your website.

simsalabash does provide the following handy commands:

title    - prints the title which is the formatted file name
           of the content file in process

           usage: title

nav      - prints a recursive standard list navigation

           usage: [(UNFOLD|FLAT)=1] nav [PATH]

           PATH - content path (optional, defaults to content/)
           UNFOLD - unfold navigation, this will make a sitemap
           FLAT - do not dive into subdirectories

content  - prints the content of file in process

           usage: content

include  - include (and expand) another content/layout file

           usage: include FILE...

           FILE - path and name of file to include

Apart from that, you're free to invoke any command you like. For example, you may do something like this:

$FILE was written by $(whoami)

$FILE holds the path and name of the content file in process.

How to extend simsalabash?

There are two places for additional source files:


Use the first location for general extensions you want to have always. Use the latter for project specific extensions and modifications.

You can override existing functions to extend simsalabash or add new ones to add further functionality.

How to use Markdown?

Download from

and put it into your path. Then paste this

	include "$FILE" |

into a file in $HOME/.simsalabash/ to override and extend the default function.


simsalabash aims to be a simple tool to combine a website from a bunch of text files and generate a recursive standard list navigation for it.

It was designed to minify the effort to build and maintain small static websites and targets the experienced Bash user.

But simsalabash is not a Jack of all Trades. Please check out the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages and principles

  • Little to no configuration.
  • Meaningful structure of content/ which mirrors your web site.
  • Automatically generates a recursive standard list navigation.
  • Easy sorting of navigation items with .nav files.
  • The output directory is not temporary so assets and downloads won't get copied everytime you're doing an rsync.
  • No dependencies beyond Bash, cat, mktemp, rm and probably tr (Bash < 4).

Disadvantages and limitations

  • Markdown and things like that are external.
  • There's no integrated web server and never will be.
  • Bash is slow (but fast enough for any web site of reasonable size).
  • Bash is not object-oriented, nor easy, nor hip.


Find a comprehensive list at


Hypertext mechanics in Bash








No releases published


No packages published