Gutenberg 0.4.0: custom taxonomies, image processing and more

Gutenberg is a powerful static site engine inspired by Hugo but simpler to use. You can build pretty much any kind of static site with it using markdown:

  • a basic blog
  • a landing site
  • a knowledge base
  • a gitbook (there is a theme for that)
  • a documentation site
  • all of the above combined

You can download built binaries from the Github releases page or install it from one of the installation methods.

You should also be able to install it on Ubuntu via Snapcraft once this bug is resolved.

What's new

Lots of things! You can view the CHANGELOG for a quick overview: I will look at the biggest changes in more details here including the breaking ones and how to migrate.

Breaking: custom taxonomies

Taxonomies are a way to group content together, the most common one in blogs being tags and categories. Before 0.4.0, you could only have those two taxonomies: tags and categories. You couldn't paginate their pages, have a RSS feed for each or create your own taxonomy.

Let's see how to use, and also how to migrate from the point of view of a current user already using tags/categories.

If you are looking for more information, the docs have been updated — look for the various taxonomies pages in the side menu.

Updating the configuration

The first thing to do is open your config.toml and list the taxonomies you want to use:

# You can delete those 2 lines, they aren't used anymore.
generate_tags_pages = true
generate_categories_pages = true

# And define them like so instead
taxonomies = [
    # each tag will have its own RSS feed
    {name: "tags", rss: true},
    # 5 items per page for a term, you can also customise the pagination path
    # like for the rest of the paginated content
    {name: "categories", paginate_by: 5},
    # Basic definition: no RSS or pagination
    {name: "authors"},

Updating the templates

We need to change two things regarding the taxonomies templates:

  • their location
  • the main variable they use

First we need to move the templates their new location:

  • tags.html -> tags/list.html
  • tag.html -> tags/single.html
  • categories.html -> categories/list.html
  • category.html -> categories/single.html

In short, Gutenberg is now looking for:

  • $TAXONOMY_NAME/single.html
  • $TAXONOMY_NAME/list.html

Lastly, the name of the variables available have changed:

  • replace tags and categories with terms
  • replace tag and category with term

Updating the content

Before, your front-matter would look like:

title = "Provisioning and deploying this blog with Ansible"
description = "Showing off Ansible by example"
date = 2013-08-17
category = "Devops"
tags = ["ansible"]

An updated version is:

title = "Provisioning and deploying this blog with Ansible"
description = "Showing off Ansible by example"
date = 2013-08-17

categories = ["Devops"]
tags = ["ansible"]

Note that every taxonomies is now required to take an array of string, whereas before there could be only a single category.

Breaking: removal of order sorting & renaming of next/previous

Before 0.4.0, you could sort pages by date, order and weight.

order and weight were the opposite of each other but the difference of meaning led to confusion when trying to get the previous or the next page.

To make things more explicit two changes have been made:

  • order has been removed
  • page.previous and have been renamed depending on the sorting used:
    • date: now called page.earlier and page.later
    • weight: now called page.lighter and page.heavier

No more <a class="previous" href="{{}}>{{}}</a>!

To fix sites using order or date, you will need to:

  • change sort_by of the sections to use weight
  • rename order to weight and invert the order of values if necessary
  • rename next and previous to heavier/lighter or later/earlier

This has been implemented by Daniel Sockwell as his first ever Rust PR! Daniel has also made tons of improvements to the documentation, something always appreciated.

Image processing

This is the amazing work of Vojtech Kral who also wrote a thorough documentation page explaining it in detail.

In short: you can now resize images from a template and implementing a gallery is trivial. Open an issue if you have an idea for some image processing not already in!

Shortcodes fixes

In the previous versions, shortcodes were detected with a Regex and built up while parsing the Markdown which ended up being some of the worst spaghetti code I have ever written. It lead to numerous bugs as well some valuable features like array arguments to be almost impossible to implement — at least for me.

In Gutenberg 0.4.0, shortcodes are now rendered before Markdown as a separate pass, going through a custom parser specifically written for it. The rendered shortcodes are then inserted back into the Markdown as raw HTML so the (much simplified) Markdown parser can ignore them. Thanks to that redesign, all shortcodes feature requests were added easily and every known bug has been fixed.

Link rot can be a big issue: some pages might not make sense anymore as a whole if an important link stopped working.

Since Gutenberg already checks internal links, only external links were left to check! Simply add check_external_links = true to your config.toml and Gutenberg will look up every link in your pages, reporting the ones not working.

This process is quite slow though so I would recommend enabling it once in a while to check but not all the time. Keep in mind that some results might be false negatives: for example always returns a 404.

What's next

The main goal for the next version is i18n support. There is an open RFC to discuss how the implementation would look like, comments are very welcome.

The main issue left seems to be the translation of the template texts as I'm not sure how to handle that. Right now it's a dictionary in config.toml but that can grow to be quite large so a separate file for each language would make sense. Pluralization also becomes an issue.

Once the spec is clearly defined on all points, I would happy to mentor people of any skill level on bits of it: gutenberg is divided in many sub-crates, making changes pretty self-contained.

As always if you have any feedback or bugs, please open an issue. Hopefully soon Gutenberg will have enough users to qualify for a free open-source Discourse forum to have a good way to interact with users more efficiently than GitHub issues. If you are using Gutenberg and are not featured in the list of sites, please add yourself!