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๐ŸŒต Cactus โ€” A composable static site generator

Cactus is a reaction to the amount of static site generators out there that enforce their structures on you. Cactus does very little. If you open it up, you'll find it's full of water.


cactus builds with Esy just fine. Make sure to have libev-dev installed tho!

esy build
esy x cactus

Getting Started

Cactus works in a very simple way. In fact it's almost silly how simple it is. If you put a cactus-project file on the root of your project, cactus will look throughout your whole project for site files.

site files simply tell cactus that this particular folder should be compiled into a website.

So if you have your posts in the following structure:

my/website ฮป tree
โ”œโ”€โ”€ pages
โ”‚ย ย  โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€
โ””โ”€โ”€ sections

You just need to touch a few files:

my/website ฮป touch cactus-project
my/website ฮป touch pages/site sections/site

And you can run cactus to compile the website using the same tree structure under a _public folder:

my/website ฮป cactus build
๐ŸŒต Compiling project...
๐ŸŒฎ Done in 0.002s

my/website  ฮป tree
โ”œโ”€โ”€ _public
โ”‚ย ย  โ”œโ”€โ”€ pages
โ”‚ย ย  โ”‚ย ย  โ”œโ”€โ”€ First-post.html
โ”‚ย ย  โ”‚ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€ Some-other-post.html
โ”‚ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€ sections
โ”‚ย ย      โ”œโ”€โ”€ about.html
โ”‚ย ย      โ”œโ”€โ”€ hire-me.html
โ”‚ย ย      โ””โ”€โ”€ projects.html
โ”œโ”€โ”€ cactus-project
โ”œโ”€โ”€ pages
โ”‚ย ย  โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ย ย  โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€ site
โ””โ”€โ”€ sections
    โ””โ”€โ”€ site

Which you can readily serve however you feel like. Upload to S3, Now, GCS, Github pages, or pretty much wherever.

When in doubt, check out the example folder. All of the features will be showcased there.


You'll quickly notice that the bare compilation from Markdown to HTML doesn't quite fit all use-cases. To alleviate this cactus lets you specify in your site file a template file to be used for all the Markdown files within that specific site.

Say you wanted to wrap all of the pages from the example above in a common markup: add a <meta charset="utf-8"> to all of them. You'd write a template file:

    <meta charset="utf-8">
    {| document |}

And in your site file you'd point to it:

(template "path/to/template.html")

Voila! That's all it takes to get the templating up and running. It's very basic at the moment, but it'll get you quite far! The next step is to provide better support for building pages with arbitrary logic, possibly by letting you specify a module to be used for processing each file.


To copy assets (any supporting file to your site) you can use the (assets ...) rule:


And they will be automatically copied from their location, relative to the site file.

You can also use the shorthand . instead of listing your assets to have all the files in the folder copied over. This is not recursive.