# Hakyll setup

tl;dr: How I use hakyll. Abbreviations, typography corrections, multi-language, use index.html, etc…

This website is done with Hakyll.

Hakyll can be considered as a minimal cms. But more generally it is a library helping file generation. We can view it as an advanced build system (like make).

From the user perspective I blog this way:

1. I open an editor (vim in my case) and edit a markdown file. It looks like this
A First Level Header
====================

A Second Level Header
---------------------

Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me
these questions three, ere the other side he see.
This is just a regular paragraph.

Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.

> This is a blockquote.
>
> This is the second paragraph in the blockquote.
>
> ## This is an H2 in a blockquote
1. I open a browser and reload time to time to see the change.
2. Once I finished I’ve written a very minimal script which mainly do a git push. My blog is hosted on github.

Being short sighted one could reduce the role of Hakyll to:

create (resp. update) html file when I create (resp. change) a markdown file.

While it sounds easy, there are a lot of hidden details:

• Create an archive page containing a list of all the posts.
• Deal with static files.
• Creating an rss feed.
• Filter the content with some function.
• Dealing with dependencies.

The work of Hakyll is to help you with these. But let’s start with the basic concepts.

## The concepts and syntax

For each file you create, you have to provide:

• a destination path
• a list of content filters.

First, let’s start with the simplest case: static files (images, fonts, etc…). Generally, you have a source directory (here is the current directory) and a destination directory _site.

The Hakyll code is:

-- for each file in the static directory
match "static/*" do
-- don't change its name nor directory
route   idRoute
-- don't change its content
compile copyFileCompiler

This program will copy static/foo.jpg to _site/static/foo.jpg. I concede this is a bit overkill for a simple cp. Now how to write a markdown file and generate an html one?

-- for each file with md extension in the "posts/" directory
match "posts/*.md" do
-- change its extension to html
route $setExtension "html" -- use pandoc library to compile the markdown content into html compile$ pandocCompiler

If you create a file posts/foo.md, it will create a file _site/posts/foo.html.

If the file posts/foo.md contains

# Cthulhu

ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

the file _site/posts/foo.html, will contain

<h1>Cthulhu</h1>
<p>ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn</p>

But horror! _site/posts/cthulhu.html is not a complete html file. It doesn’t have any header nor footer, etc… This is where you use templates. I simply add a new directive in the compile block.

match "posts/*.md" do
route $setExtension "html" compile$ pandocCompiler
-- use the template with the current content
>>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/post.html" defaultContext

Now if templates/posts.html contains:

<html>
<title>How could I get the title?</title>
<body>
$body$
</body>
</html>

our cthulhu.html contains (indentation added for readability):

<html>
<title>How could I get the title?</title>
<body>
<h1>Cthulhu</h1>
<p>ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn</p>
</body>
</html>

See, it’s easy But we have a problem. How could we change the title or add keywords?

The solution is to use Contexts. For this, we first need to add some metadatas to our markdown1.

---
title: Cthulhu
---
# Cthulhu

ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

And modify slightly our template:

<html>
<title>$title$</title>
<body>
$body$
</body>
</html>

As Sir Robin said just before dying before the Bridge of Death:

“That’s EASY!”

Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot

## Real customization

Now that we understand the basic functionality. How to:

• use SASS?
• simplify url?
• create an archive page?
• create an rss feed?
• filter the content?
• add abbreviations support?
• manage two languages?

### Use SASS

That’s easy. Simply call the executable using unixFilter. Of course you’ll have to install SASS (gem install sass). And we also use compressCss to gain some space.

match "css/*" $do route$ setExtension "css"
compile $getResourceString >>= withItemBody (unixFilter "sass" ["--trace"]) >>= return . fmap compressCss ### Add keywords In order to help to reference your website on the web, it is nice to add some keywords as meta datas to your html page. <meta name="keywords" content="Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath"> In order to add keywords, we could not directly use the markdown metadatas. Because, without any, there should be any meta tag in the html. An easy answer is to create a Context that will contains the meta tag. -- metaKeywordContext will return a Context containing a String metaKeywordContext :: Context String -- can be reached using$metaKeywords$in the templates -- Use the current item (markdown file) metaKeywordContext = field "metaKeywords"$ \item -> do
-- tags contains the content of the "tags" metadata
-- inside the item (understand the source)
tags <- getMetadataField (itemIdentifier item) "tags"
-- if tags is empty return an empty string
-- in the other case return
--   <meta name="keywords" content="$tags$">
return $maybe "" showMetaTags tags where showMetaTags t = "<meta name=\"keywords\" content=\"" ++ t ++ "\">\n" Then we pass this Context to the loadAndApplyTemplate function: match "posts/*.md" do route$ setExtension "html"
compile $pandocCompiler -- use the template with the current content >>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/post.html" (defaultContext <> metaKeywordContext) ☞ Here are the imports I use for this tutorial. {-# LANGUAGE OverloadedStrings #-} import Control.Monad (forM,forM_) import Data.List (sortBy,isInfixOf) import Data.Monoid ((<>),mconcat) import Data.Ord (comparing) import Hakyll import System.Locale (defaultTimeLocale) import System.FilePath.Posix (takeBaseName,takeDirectory ,(</>),splitFileName) ### Simplify url What I mean is to use url of the form: http://domain.name/post/title-of-the-post/ I prefer this than having to add file with .html extension. We have to change the default Hakyll route behavior. We create another function niceRoute. -- replace a foo/bar.md by foo/bar/index.html -- this way the url looks like: foo/bar in most browsers niceRoute :: Routes niceRoute = customRoute createIndexRoute where createIndexRoute ident = takeDirectory p </> takeBaseName p </> "index.html" where p=toFilePath ident Not too difficult. But! There might be a problem. What if there is a foo/index.html link instead of a clean foo/ in some content? Very simple, we simply remove all /index.html to all our links. -- replace url of the form foo/bar/index.html by foo/bar removeIndexHtml :: Item String -> Compiler (Item String) removeIndexHtml item = return$ fmap (withUrls removeIndexStr) item
where
removeIndexStr :: String -> String
removeIndexStr url = case splitFileName url of
(dir, "index.html") | isLocal dir -> dir
_                                 -> url
where isLocal uri = not (isInfixOf "://" uri)

And we apply this filter at the end of our compilation

match "posts/*.md" do
route $niceRoute compile$ pandocCompiler
-- use the template with the current content
>>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/post.html" defaultContext
>>= removeIndexHtml

### Create an archive page

Creating an archive start to be difficult. There is an example in the default Hakyll example. Unfortunately, it assumes all posts prefix their name with a date like in 2013-03-20-My-New-Post.md.

I migrated from an older blog and didn’t want to change my url. Also I prefer not to use any filename convention. Therefore, I add the date information in the metadata published. And the solution is here:

match "archive.md" $do route$ niceRoute
compile $do body <- getResourceBody return$ renderPandoc body
>>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/archive.html" archiveCtx
>>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/base.html" defaultContext
>>= removeIndexHtml

Where templates/archive.html contains

$body$

<ul>
$posts$
</ul>

And base.html is a standard template (simpler than post.html).

archiveCtx provide a context containing an html representation of a list of posts in the metadata named posts. It will be used in the templates/archive.html file with $posts$.

archiveCtx =
defaultContext <>
metaKeywordContext <>
field "posts" (\_ -> postList createdFirst)

postList returns an html representation of a list of posts given an Item sort function. The representation will apply a minimal template on all posts. Then it concatenate all the results. The template is post-item.html:

<li><a href="$url$">$published$ - $title$</a></li>

Here is how it is done:

postList :: [Item String] -> Compiler [Item String]
-> Compiler String
postList sortFilter = do
-- sorted posts
posts   <- loadAll "post/*" >>= sortFilter
itemTpl <- loadBody "templates/post-item.html"
-- we apply the template to all post
-- and we concatenate the result.
-- list is a string
list    <- applyTemplateList itemTpl defaultContext posts
return list

createdFirst sort a list of item and put it inside Compiler context. We need to be in the Compiler context to access metadatas.

createdFirst :: [Item String] -> Compiler [Item String]
createdFirst items = do
-- itemsWithTime is a list of couple (date,item)
itemsWithTime <- forM items $\item -> do -- getItemUTC will look for the metadata "published" or "date" -- then it will try to get the date from some standard formats utc <- getItemUTC defaultTimeLocale$ itemIdentifier item
return (utc,item)
-- we return a sorted item list
return $map snd$ reverse $sortBy (comparing fst) itemsWithTime It wasn’t so easy. But it works pretty well. ### Create an rss feed To create an rss feed, we have to: • select only the lasts posts. • generate partially rendered posts (no css, js, etc…) We could then render the posts twice. One for html rendering and another time for rss. Remark we need to generate the rss version to create the html one. One of the great feature of Hakyll is to be able to save snapshots. Here is how: match "posts/*.md" do route$ setExtension "html"
compile $pandocCompiler -- save a snapshot to be used later in rss generation >>= saveSnapshot "content" >>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/post.html" defaultContext Now for each post there is a snapshot named “content” associated. The snapshots are created before applying a template and after applying pandoc. Furthermore feed don’t need a source markdown file. Then we create a new file from no one. Instead of using match, we use create: create ["feed.xml"]$ do
route idRoute
compile $do -- load all "content" snapshots of all posts loadAllSnapshots "posts/*" "content" -- take the latest 10 >>= (fmap (take 10)) . createdFirst -- renderAntom feed using some configuration >>= renderAtom feedConfiguration feedCtx where feedCtx :: Context String feedCtx = defaultContext <> --$description$will render as the post body bodyField "description" The feedConfiguration contains some general informations about the feed. feedConfiguration :: FeedConfiguration feedConfiguration = FeedConfiguration { feedTitle = "Great Old Ones" , feedDescription = "This feed provide information about Great Old Ones" , feedAuthorName = "Abdul Alhazred" , feedAuthorEmail = "abdul.alhazred@great-old-ones.com" , feedRoot = "http://great-old-ones.com" } Great idea certainly steal from nanoc (my previous blog engine)! ### Filter the content As I just said, nanoc was my preceding blog engine. It is written in Ruby and as Hakyll, it is quite awesome. And one thing Ruby does more naturally than Haskell is regular expressions. I had a lot of filters in nanoc. I lost some because I don’t use them much. But I wanted to keep some. Generally, filtering the content is just a way to apply to the body a function of type String -> String. Also we generally want prefilters (to filter the markdown) and postfilters (to filter the html after the pandoc compilation). Here is how I do it: markdownPostBehavior = do route$ niceRoute
compile $do body <- getResourceBody prefilteredText <- return$ (fmap preFilters body)
return $renderPandoc prefilteredText >>= applyFilter postFilters >>= saveSnapshot "content" >>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/post.html" yContext >>= loadAndApplyTemplate "templates/boilerplate.html" yContext >>= relativizeUrls >>= removeIndexHtml Where applyFilter strfilter str = return$ (fmap strfilter) str preFilters :: String -> String postFilters :: String -> String Now we have a simple way to filter the content. Let’s augment the markdown ability. ### Add abbreviations support Comparing to LaTeX, a very annoying markdown limitation is the lack of abbreviations. Fortunately we can filter our content. And here is the filter I use: abbreviationFilter :: String -> String abbreviationFilter = replaceAll "%[a-zA-Z0-9_]*" newnaming where newnaming matched = case M.lookup (tail matched) abbreviations of Nothing -> matched Just v -> v abbreviations :: Map String String abbreviations = M.fromList [ ("html", "<span class=\"sc\">html</span>") , ("css", "<span class=\"sc\">css</span>") , ("svg", "<span class=\"sc\">svg</span>") , ("xml", "<span class=\"sc\">xml</span>") , ("xslt", "<span class=\"sc\">xslt</span>") ] It will search for all string starting by ‘%’ and it will search in the Map if there is a corresponding abbreviation. If there is one, we replace the content. Otherwise we do nothing. Do you really believe I type <span style="text-transform: uppercase">L<sup style="vertical-align: 0.15em; margin-left: -0.36em; margin-right: -0.15em; font-size: .85em">a</sup>T<sub style="vertical-align: -0.5ex; margin-left: -0.1667em; margin-right: -0.125em; font-size: 1em">e</sub>X</span> each time I write LaTeX? ### Manage two languages Generally I write my post in English and French. And this is more difficult than it appears. For example, I need to filter the language in order to get the right list of posts. I also use some words in the templates and I want them to be translated. <a href="otherLanguagePath$" onclick="setLanguage('$otherlanguage$')">$changeLanguage$</a> First I create a Map containing all translations. data Trad = Trad { frTrad :: String, enTrad :: String } trads :: Map String Trad trads = M.fromList$ map toTrad [
("changeLanguage",
("English"
, "Français"))
,("switchCss",
("Changer de theme"
,"Change Theme"))
,("socialPrivacy",
("Ces liens sociaux préservent votre vie privée"
,"These social sharing links preserve your privacy"))
]
where
(key, Trad { frTrad = french , enTrad = english })

Then I create a context for all key:

tradsContext :: Context a
where
field name \$ \item -> do
lang <- itemLang item
case M.lookup name trads of
Just (Trad lmap) -> case M.lookup (L lang) lmap of
Just tr -> return tr
Nothing -> return ("NO TRANSLATION FOR " ++ name)
Nothing -> return ("NO TRANSLATION FOR " ++ name)

## Conclusion

The full code is here. And except from the main file, I use literate Haskell. This way the code should be easier to understand.

If you want to know why I switched from nanoc:

My preceding nanoc website was a bit too messy. So much in fact, that the dependency system recompiled the entire website for any change.

So I had to do something about it. I had two choices:

1. Correct my old code (in Ruby)
2. Duplicate the core functionalities with Hakyll (in Haskell)

I added too much functionalities in my nanoc system. Starting from scratch (almost) remove efficiently a lot of unused crap.

So far I am very happy with the switch. A complete build is about 4x faster. I didn’t broke the dependency system this time. As soon as I modify and save the markdown source, I can reload the page in the browser.

I removed a lot of feature thought. Some of them will be difficult to achieve with Hakyll. A typical example:

In nanoc I could take a file like this as source:

# Title

content

<code file="foo.hs">
main = putStrLn "Cthulhu!"
</code>

And it will create a file foo.hs which could then be downloaded.

<h1>Title</h1>

<p>content</p>

<pre><code>main = putStrLn "Cthulhu!"</code></pre>
1. We could also add the metadatas in an external file (foo.md.metadata).