DocPad is the easiest way to create your static website. You have the power of a CMS and simplicity of a notepad. Write your website in the markup of your choice (Markdown, HTML, Jade?), in the editor of your choice (Textmate, Sublime, Notepad?), and deploy anywhere (FTP, Git, localhost?). Total control, total simplicity.
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DocPad: It's Like Jekyll.

DocPad (like Jekyll) is a static website generator, unlike Jekyll it's written in CoffeeScript+Node.js instead of Ruby, and also allows the template engine complete access to the document model. This means you have unlimited power as a CMS and the simplicity of a notepad.


  1. Say you were to create the following website structure:

    • myWebsite - src - documents - files - layouts
  2. And you were to create the following files:

    • A layout at src/layouts/default.html, which contains

    • And a layout at src/layouts/post.html, which contains:

       layout: default
    • And a document at src/documents/posts/, which contains:

       layout: post
       title: Hello World!
       Hello **World!**
  3. Then when you generate your website with docpad you will get a html file at out/posts/hello.html, which contains:

    	<head><title>Hello World!</title></head>
    		<h1>Hello World!</h1>
    		<div>Hello <strong>World!</strong></div>
  4. And any files that you have in src/files will be copied to the out directory. E.g. src/files/styles/style.css -> out/styles/style.css

  5. Allowing you to easily generate a website which only changes (and automatically updates) when a document changes (which when you think about it; is the majority of websites)

  6. Cool, now what was with the <%=...%> and <%-...%> parts which were substituted away?

    • This is possible because we parse the documents and layouts through a template rendering engine. The template rendering engine we use is Eco which allows you to do some pretty nifty things. In fact we can display the all titles and links of our posts with the following html:

       <% for Document in @Documents: %>
       	<% if Document.url.indexOf('/posts') is 0: %>
       		<a href="<%= Document.url %>"><%= Document.title %></a><br/>
       	<% end %>
       <% end %>
  7. Cool that makes sense... now how did Hello **World!** in our document get converted into Hello <strong>World!</strong>?

    • That was possible as that file was a Markdown file (i.e. it had the .md extension). Markdown is a great markup language as with it you have an extremely simple and readable document which generates a rich semantic HTML document. DocPad also supports a series of other markup languages which are listed later on.


  1. Install Node.js

  2. Install CoffeeScript

     npm -g install coffee-script
  3. Install DocPad

     npm -g install docpad


  • To generate the rendered website, watch the files for changes, and run the docpad server

  • To generate a basic website structure in the current working directory

      docpad skeleton
  • To regenerate the rendered website

      docpad generate
  • To regenerate the rendered website automatically whenever we make a change to a file

      docpad watch
  • To run the docpad server which allows you to access the generated website in a web browser

      docpad server

Created With


Markup Languges

Template Engines

  • Eco - Templating Made Easy


To learn more about DocPad (including using and extending it) visit its wiki here


  • v0.9 July 6, 2011

    • No longer uses MongoDB/Mongoose! We now use Query-Engine which doesn't need any database server :)
    • Watching files now working even better
    • Now supports clean urls :)
  • v0.8 May 23, 2011

    • Now supports mutliple skeletons
    • Structure changes
  • v0.7 May 20, 2011

    • Now supports multiple docpad instances
  • v0.6 May 12, 2011

    • Moved to CoffeeScript
    • Removed highlight.js (should be a plugin or client-side feature)
  • v0.5 May 9, 2011

    • Pretty big clean
  • v0.4 May 9, 2011

    • The CLI is now working as documented
  • v0.3 May 7, 2011

    • Got the generation and server going
  • v0.2 March 24, 2011

  • v0.1 March 16, 2011


Licensed under the MIT License Copyright 2011 Benjamin Arthur Lupton