Untitled Static Site Generator

Websites made easy

This software is written in BASH, and uses Pandoc to generate HTML from Markdown files. It is designed to be stupidly simple, allowing Free Software projects to easily host any number of websites.

It is a multi-site static site generator; a single instance of Untitled can handle an unlimited number of websites, all with different templates in Pandoc (for different page layouts), CSS files, footer, header, navigation and more.

With Untitled, it is possible to generate an unlimited number of news pages and blogs, with auto-generated RSS feeds.

The variant of markdown is the Pandoc variant, which you can read about here:
https://pandoc.org/MANUAL.html

The templates feature in Pandoc is really what makes Untitled very powerful. You can make any number of websites, with many different designs, using Pandoc templates. This is precisely why Untitled uses Pandoc. See:
https://pandoc.org/MANUAL.html#templates

Pandoc’s smart mode is used. In this mode, it is possible to use HTML inside Markdown files. For example, if you want to embed videos, use iframes, use JavaScript and more.

Untitled is Free Software, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 3 of the license or, at your option, any later version as published by the Free Software Foundation. You can find a copy of this license in the COPYING file, when you download Untitled, or you can read it here:
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html

Learn more about Free Software:
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.

Real-world examples

Here are some websites built using the Untitled Static Site Generator:

Requirements

Untitled is designed to be stupidly simple. You need:

Untitled currently makes use of GNU-specific extensions of sed for some string pattern substitutions. POSIX/BSD sed won’t work.

It is theoretically possible to run this on non-GNU systems, such as BSD or non-GNU distros containing the Linux kernel (such as OpenWrt or Alpine), but you should ideally run this on GNU+Linux.

Making the Untitled Static Site Generator portable is very much desirable, and these notes will be updated when that has been done.

It is currently assumed that you have access to the shell on your web server, running GNU+Linux. It is also assumed that each website, generated by Untitled, will be available via HTTP on the document root.

Security notes

USE THIS SOFTWARE AT YOUR OWN RISK. A FULL SECURITY AUDIT IS NEEDED.

Symlinks are intentionally unsupported, and ignored, in site directories handled by Untitled. This is for security reasons. If you find that symlinks are permitted, in any way, it’s a bug and you should report it!

At the very least, you are advised to take the following precautions

DO NOT use Untitled in a shared hosting environment, especially on a crontab or other automated setup. You, the operator, must ensure full control of all sites handled by your Untitled installation. For the time being, this is recommended until Untitled is full audited for security, and modified accordingly. Efforts have already been made, but this software is very new and requires a lot of testing. In general, you should consider Untitled to be alpha quality, at best. It is not yet ready for a stable release; it is currently only rolling release, hosted in a Git repository.

Untitled only allows sites to be processed under www/ in the git clone of whatever Untitled version you’re using.

Getting started

Simply make a directory named www/ in the root of your untitled software directory.

In www/, make a directory per website. For each website, set www/sitename/site/ as the document root in your web server. Untitled expects this site directory to exist.

Example website

Check the www-example directory, for an example website. Also look at the logic in the file named build, in the main directory of the untitled static site generator.

The Libreboot website is also hosted in a Git repository, if you want a real-world example of a website that uses Untitled.

How to use

You should use GNU BASH and Pandoc.

See:

Generate entire websites

For security reasons, Untitled will only operate on sites under www/sitename/ where sitename can be anything.

To interact with untitled, your current working directory should be the main directory of untitled, not your website. In that directory, the file named build and the file named clean will exist.

You can have untitled go through an entire website and, if it detects that such an action is needed, it will build each page. It will check whether a page needs to be built. For example, if it was already built and no changes were made, it will skip that page. It does this, using date -r file +%s to check file modification dates. Files ending in .date are created, for files that are tracked by Untitled.

For a given directory name under www/, do this:

./build sites www/directoryname

You can also do:

./build sites directoryname

For example, if your website was hosted at www/foobar:

./build sites foobar

This will only work if your website is set up correctly. Look at the example website in www-example/ and read the sections below.

To build all available websites under www/, just run it without an argument:

./build sites

You can specify multiple websites. For example:

./build sites blogsite catblogsite

In this example, the following sites would be built:

NOTE: If you simply run ./build without any arguments, the ./build sites command will be executed.

Build specific pages

These commands will only operate on pages under www/sitename/ where sitename can be anything. This is for security reasons.

If you want to save time (e.g. if you’re just editing a few pages), you can skip checking the entire site (or sites) and update just that page. Use this command:

./build pages www/sitename/site/path/to/page.html

You can also do:

./build pages sitename/path/to/page.html

Untitled will automatically correct the path, if www/ and site/ are missing from the path. For example, to update the homepage:

./build pages sitename/index.html

You can specify multiple pages, on multiple sites. For example:

./build pages joebloggsandhisdog/index.html janedoesblog/news/guitar.html

NOTE: the mksitemap and mknews functions are not automatically executed when running these commands.

NOTE: if you run ./build pages without specifying any paths to pages, then the ./build sites command will be executed instead. However, if you specify paths and none exist, nothing will happen.

NOTE: If you simply run ./build without any arguments, the ./build sites command will be executed.

Cleaning up

If you want to un-make your site, such that the HTML files are purged, do this:

./clean

This will clean all sites. If you only want to clean a specific site, do this:

./clean sitename

(sitename would be located at www/sitename/, in this example)

NOTE: an HTML file is only deleted if a corresponding Markdown file exists. This means that if you permanently delete a markdown file from your site, you should ensure that the HTML file is also delete dif you don’t want that file to be available anymore.

Markdown files

Write your markdown files, with file extensions ending in .md and the build script will automatically see them. It will convert them into HTML, stripping off the .md file extension and replacing it with .html

Place these markdown files anywhere under www/sitename/site/ where sitename is whatever you named your website, per directory hierarchy rules of Untitled.

Again, the www-example directory can be extremely useful if you want to play around first, before you make a real website with Untitled.

Files in www/sitename/

These files affect the site globally, for each website under www/

Each site has its own directory: www/sitename/

sitename can be anything you want. e.g. kittenblog

www/sitename/site.cfg

REQUIRED

sitename can be anything.

site.cfg is the main configuration file for your website.

Example entries (for libreboot.org):

TITLE="-T Libreboot"
CSS="--css /global.css"
DOMAIN="https://libreboot.org/"
BLOGDIR="news/"
DEFAULTLANG="en"

DEFAULTLANG

This is optional. If unspecified, the default language will be English. Also, if this entry defines an unsupported language, Untitled will default to English.

It specifies the default language, for your website. It may be that you have multiple languages available on your website, where file.md is your chosen language (e.g. German, Japanese, Englist) and file.xx.md is another language for the same page. xx can be anything.

BLOGDIR

This is the directory for your main news section, if you have a news section. You do not need to declare this.

The news section is only valid if it has the right files, in the directory specified here. You can actually have as many news/blog sections as you like, but this setting specifies the “main” one. For example, if you’re a software project you might have a news section, and a release section, and they might both be news pages. News pages have RSS feeds and indexes automatically generated by untitled.

If your website is primarily a blog, you might leave this string empty. That way, your home page is the news index. In that scenario, you would not place an index file in the root of your website. Let untitled generate it for you!

DOMAIN

This is the URL for the home page of your website.

Specifies the .css file, or files, to be used. See above example. Just add entries saying --css /path/to/css/file for each CSS file. The / is the root of your website, when viewed publicly. Basically, / would be the home page, and everything after that is relative. In other words, it is the URI of your CSS file.

TITLE

Use the format above. Don’t use spaces or special characters. Just keep it simply. E.g. -T Gardening

This would usually be the name of your website, company, project or whatever else.

site/template.include

REQUIRED

Put a pandoc template here, in this file.

There is an HTML5 template in www-example/ which you can adapt for your site. TODO: make an xhtml template. Patches welcome!

It is recommended that you put your common site navigation section in this file (formatted in HTML).

optional

Put this in the root of www/sitename/site/. You can actually put whatever you want in here, but it can be used for a navigation menu. You could also use it to put a side-wide notice, on your website.

Write this file in Markdown. You could also put a common navigation section in the template, and use nav files for site-wide announcements, or for announcements on specific pages. How you use Untitled is entirely up to you!

site/global.css

optional

The filename can actually be anything, for your CSS. In fact, it’s entirely optional. You can leave the CSS string empty in site.cfg and just have a site without CSS.

The name global.css is merely what the example website (in www-example/) uses, but you don’t have to use this file name yourself.

This file is for styling your pages (HTML ones, after building your Markdown files).

w3schools has a nice set of tutorials for learning CSS:

https://www.w3schools.com/css/

site/sitemap.html

The file named sitemap.md will be automatically generated, which is then assembled into sitemap.html. This file will sit on the root directory of your website.

Do not manually create these files. They are automatically generated by Untitled. They simply index your entire website.

NOTE: It only looks at pages where a Markdown file exists. It ignores pages where an HTML page exists but a Markdown page doesn’t.

site/sitemap.include

optional

This file MUST be included if you want a sitemap.

Simply put a title and some text in here. Untitled and Pandoc will do the rest!

site/footer.include

optional

If present, this will add a common footer to every page on your website. Write it in Markdown.

Rules for Markdown files

This applies to any .md file under www/sitename/site/ where sitename is whatever you named your website, per directory hiearchy rules.

The file named file.md will be converted into HTML and copied (in HTML format) to file.html.

When you link to other pages, use absolute links or relative links, but don’t link to the .html pages. Link directly to the .md files. Untitled static site generator will use Sed to replace these with .html when generating the HTML pages (it only skips replacing external links, e.g. https://example.com/cats.md

TOC (Table of Contents)

See pages in www-example/ or example websites linked above (such as the Libreboot project website). Look in the markdown files for those sites, on pages that specify x-toc-enable: true. This is a special directive for the Pandoc variant of Markdown. Some other Markdown parsers/generators will also generate a table of contents.

In the untitled static site generator, when a TOC is enabled, the depth is 4. This means that, in HTML, the h1, h2, h3 and h4 tags will show up on the TOC. The TOC is generated based on how you use headers in Markdown, and how they ultimately end up when converted into HTML.

file.nav

If present, the page from file.md will have its own navigation menu, which will override the default nav.include file.

This can be anything. Write it in Markdown. For example, you could use this to put announcements on a page.

file.css

Where you have file.md, you can also include file.css, and this CSS file will be applied specifically to that page.

This does not replace any global CSS files that you specified in site.cfg. It is applied after that one. One possible use-case for this is if you have an otherwise decent CSS file for your site, but you need to override certain rules on a specific page.

file.template

Where you have your Markdown file, strip off the md, you create a new file with the same name but with .template file extension. This will override the default, global template, for that page only.

file.footer

If present, this replaces the global footer for the specific page.

News sections

This section defines what files should be placed in directories that are to be news sections. For instance, you might have a directory on your website named news/, and you would place these files in that directory.

An index page will be automatically generated, so don’t bother making one yourself. Simply write your news pages. Read the notes below for how to set up news sections on your website.

An RSS feed will also be generated, for every news section.

You can have as many news sections as you would like!

Rules for news pages

A table of contents is always enabled, on news pages (but not the news index), unless you want it to be so. Technically, news indexes have a TOC but the page isn’t formatted such that a TOC will appear when Pandoc does its thing.

Start your news page like so, in the Markdown file e.g. www/catblog/site/news/spots-birthday.md

% Page title
% Author name
% Date

Page text goes here

MANIFEST

Place this file in the root of the directory where you want there to be a news section.

The order of the file names dictate what order the links will appear in, on the news index that is automatically generated (see below).

news-list.md.include

This will have a page title, and introductory text. When the index page is generated (see below), the resulting index will include the contents of this file, and then links to each page per the contents of MANIFEST.

index.md and index.html

Do not place these files in directories containing a MANIFEST file. These will be generated automatically, with an index linking to news articles.

news.cfg

In this file, write the following lines:

BLOGTITLE="The daily grind"
BLOGDESCRIPTION="Hot takes, juicy gossip and everything inbetween!"

You can change these strings to whatever you want. Keep it simple! For example:

BLOGTITLE="Bianca's worldly musings"
BLOGDESCRIPTION="Come see what I'm thinking about! I have many thoughts"

For news about your software project, you might say:

BLOGTITLE="Project announcements"
BLOGDESCRIPTION="News about ongoing development will be documented here"

RSS files

Files ending in .rss are automatically generated, if you have news sections.

Translated pages

Untitled supports having translated pages.

Here is an example of a website with multiple translations available, built using untitled:
https://trans.chat/

Set a default language

English is the default in Untitled, but you can change the default language! For example, you might want a Chinese-language website but offer translated pages in German. Untitled will happily let you do this!

Simply set the DEFAULTLANG entry in site.cfg.

How to translate pages

The way it works is quite simple:

For translated pages, if a translated .include file is unavailable, the default-language one will be used.

You can also do this per-page. For example, you might override the default footer on a page, by including file.footer. In this situation, file.de.md will also use file.footer. HOWEVER, you can include file.de.footer aswell, if you so choose!

Translations done automatically

Translations are handled automatically, per page. It does not happen globally; this way, a website doesn’t have to have translated versions of each page. In Let’s look at example scenarios:

file.md, file.pt.md, file.pl.md

In this example, a language menu will appear on each of these pages, allowing selection of DEFAULT(e.g. English), Polish or Portuguese

file.pt.md, file.pl.md

In this example, no default page is included, but Polish and Portuguese are available. In this example, Portuguese and Polish will be available in a language select menu on each page.

template.LANGUAGE.include

This is optional, so long as template.include is included. The translated file will override. This will override the default template, on the specified language.

For example: site/template.de.include

file.LANGUAGE.template

You might have file.template overriding the default global template.include or template.LANGUAGE.include for a given page.

Untitled also lets you override it on a specific translation of that page!

For example: site/file.de.template

Override the default global navigation file, for a given website and a given language.

For example: site/nav.de.include

file.LANGUAGE.nav

You might have file.nav overriding the default global nav.include or nav.LANGUAGE.include for a given page.

Untitled also lets you override it on a specific translation of that page!

For example: site/file.de.nav

footer.LANGUAGE.include

Override the default global footer file, for a given website, on a given language.

For example: site/footer.de.include

file.LANGUAGE.footer

You might have file.footer overriding the default global footer.include or footer.LANGUAGE.include for a given page.

Untitled also lets you override it on a specific translation of that page!

For example: site/file.de.footer

file.LANGUAGE.css

You might have file.css available for file.md. If page.LANGUAGE.md exists, file.LANGUAGE.css will still be added to that page, but that page can also have its own file.LANGUAGE.css.

The file.LANGUAGE.css file does not override file.css. It is merely added.

If file.LANGUAGE.css exists but file.css does not, it will still be applied, but only on file.LANGUAGE.md.

lang/xx/strings.cfg

Add new language support

On language menus, if a language is unsupported, the two-letter code will be used. For example, if Russian is unsupported, ru will be the anchor text for selecting Russian, but you can still select it.

In untitled, you can see the file lang/en/strings.cfg.

In there, you will also see translated ones, e.g. lang/pl/strings.cfg.

If one does not exist for your language, you can create one. Patches welcome!

Check lang/en/strings.cfg to see how it should be done! Entries in strings.cfg are as follows:

Example strings.cfg file:

LANGNAME

This is the anchor text for a given language, on a language select menu, if a site is to have translations. For example, de would be Deutsch here, for the German language.

Example strings:

LANGSELSTR

This is the text for the language selection menu. Currently not used

E.g. “Select language:”

This is the index link, for the previous directory. This link should be ../

This is the index link, for the current directory. The link should be ./

PUBLISHED_BY

For news pages, this string says e.g. “Article published by:”

PUBLICATION_DATE

For news pages, this string says e.g. “Article published on:”

This is the anchor text for the Markdown link, to each Markdown file. Untitled displays the link to the original Markdown file, for each page, on each given page.

This is the anchor text for the default feed, if a news feed is generated on a given site.

The link should be /feed.xml

This is a Markdown link to the site map, if one is included on a given site.

The link should be /sitemap.html

SHAMELESS_PLUG

At the bottom of each page, a string of text can be inserted. By default, this is a string that says the page was generated by the Untitled Static Site Generator, along with a link to the Untitled website.

PDIR

The PDIR option should be ltr or rtl. This defines which order the text should be in. Some languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, are right-to-left languages instead of left-to-right.

Other files

Untitled static site generator only cares about the files specified on this page. It ignores all other files.

For things like images, videos and other binary files, it is recommended that you create a specific directory or subdomain for them, and have only markdown files on your Untitled website.

However, it’s up to you how you run your infrastructure.

It is recommended that you use a Git repository to host your website. Then you can easily keep track of changes to your site. You would use a static version of Untitled on your server, and just build new changes to your site whenever you push them. This is actually why the site/ directory is enforced under the www/sitename/ directory for each site, so as to encourage good practise (because by doing it this way, the .git directory will not be visible on your public web server. You do not want that directory to be visible!)

Markdown file for this page: https://untitled.vimuser.org/index.md

This HTML page was generated by the untitled static site generator.