Laze

Laze is a simple static website generator, inspired by the likes of jekyll, bonsai, nanoc, webby and many others. It's main purpose is to convert a bunch of text files into a working website.

Laze is currently in development. Use at your own risk.

Installation

You can install Laze as a rubygem:

gem install laze

You may need to prefix that with sudo, depending on your system. You should then be able to use laze anywhere.

Usage

You run Laze from the command line in your project directory. See laze --help for more information.

Why use a static site generator?

A static site generator can help you automate some of the processes used when creating static websites. It is not a Content Management System, it is just a way to transform simple text files into web pages.

Static site generators usually use separate files for HTML boilerplate code, like a header and footer, and the actual content of the site, like its text pages. Laze is no different.

Then, by running Laze you apply the boilerplate code to your content files and transform them into HTML files. This has several benefits:

  • Consistent page layouts

  • DRY: change the lay-out of many pages by changing a single layout file

  • Transformations: write content using Markdown or another text filter

  • Secure: since the output is only static HTML files, there are no moving parts on your server. There are no server errors and no security attacks.

  • Fast: again, without moving parts on the server, your website will be the quickest it can ever be.

Laze adds some other tricks to make creating websites a little easier.

Note: because there are no moving parts on your web server, but only static HTML files, it is tricky to set up dynamic features such as a contact form or a weblog commenting system. Be sure to weigh your options carefully.

Why use Laze?

The main reason for using Laze to generate your sites is that it makes your website easy to maintain, easy to develop and because it optimizes your website for you.

Various plugin, included by default, help you create a great website

  • Check for missing images in your stylesheets

  • Use Less CSS to write better CSS

  • Automatically minify CSS and Javascript code

  • Automatically concatenate CSS and Javascript files to reduce HTTP requests

  • Automatically generate sitemaps for your site

The notable downside of Laze is that it does not help you generate a blog. That is not to say that you cannot blog using Laze, just that Laze does not relieve any pain.

Project setup

A typical Laze project looks like this:

[project root directory]
 |- input
 |  `- index.html
 |- layouts
 |  `- default.html
 |- includes
 `- output

The input directory holds all your content. Your final website will be generated in the output directory. The end result will look very much like what's in the input directory.

The layouts directory holds files that can be wrapped around your content files. The includes directory holds files that any content file can include somewhere on its page.

Transformation

Here's the transformation process:

  1. Scan the input directory for all files and directories.

  2. Copy everything from /input over to /output…

  3. …but when the file is an HTML page, apply a text filter and layout to it

  4. …and when the file is a CSS file, expand and minify it

  5. …and when the file is a Javascript file, concatenate and minify it

More information

Furthermore, Laze depends on the following third-party Ruby gems:

  • liquid

  • rdiscount

  • redcloth

It could optionally use the following Ruby gems:

  • jsmin

  • cssmin

  • directory_watcher

  • webrick

  • less

Bugs, issues and to do's

There's still a lot to do. Please file bug reports or feature requests at the github project site (github.com/avdgaag/laze).

Credits

Author

Arjan van der Gaag

E-mail

arjan@arjanvandergaag.nl

Website

avdgaag.github.com

Project website

avdgaag.github.com/laze

Project documentation

://avdgaag.github.com/laze/rdoc

Project source

github.com/avdgaag/laze

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.

  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.

  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)

  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.

Copyright

Copyright © 2009 Arjan van der Gaag. See LICENSE for details.