A tiny static-ready blog engine based on the toto library
Last updated 6 years ago by prezjordan .
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$ cnpm install tinman 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.


A tiny static-ready blog engine based on the toto library. The shiniest blog engine in Oz!

npm install -g tinman

What is Tinman?

A basic tinman blog looks like this:

├── articles
│   └── 2014-06-22-hello-world.md
└── public
    └── style.css

Some features include:

  • Generate a simple blog with nothing but a few markdown files
  • Serve anything static by placing it in the public/ directory
  • A comprehensive CLI to handle best-practices for you
  • Customize templates to your heart's desire
  • Run your blog as web server or export it as a static site
  • Add any CSS or JavaScript and have it just work

What do I get?

Tinman generates a page for each article, and an index page listing your articles (sorted by filename). Naming your articles YYYY-MM-DD-my-title.md will sort them such that the most recent article is listed first. It will also set the article's date property for you.


Create a new blog

$ tinman create
Blog title: myblog

  Your blog is ready! To get started:

    cd myblog/
    tinman server

$ tinman create myblog

# Generate example templates to play with as well
$ tinman create myblog --with-templates

Generate a new article

$ tinman new
Title: This is my first blog post

  Article generated at: articles/2014-07-05-this-is-my-first-blog-post.md

Run your blog on a local webserver

$ tinman server
Server listening on port 3000...

$ tinman server --port 1337
Server listening on port 1337...

Build your blog as a static site

$ tinman build

  Blog successfully built to: build/

$ tinman build --output-dir www

  Blog successfully built to: www

Writing Articles

Articles are written in Markdown and use YAML Front Matter to set various options.

title: Hello, World!
date: 2014-06-22

Once upon a time...

This article will be accessible at the url /hello-world by default (based on the article's title). You can customize this option by either:

  • Setting the slug property, making the article accessible at /your-slug-here
  • Setting the route property, and completely overriding the slug (i.e. route: /2014/06/24/musings/my-article

You can include any custom options you'd like (i.e. color: red) in your YAML Front Matter, and recall it from a custom template.


Tinman uses EJS templates and includes the following:

  • article.ejs for templating an individual article
  • index.ejs for the article index page
  • layout.ejs which wraps around the other two and renders asset tags

To customize these templates, pass the --with-templates option to tinman create:

$ tinman create myblog --with-templates

  Your blog is ready! To get started:

    cd myblog/
    tinman server

$ tree myblog
├── articles
│   └── 2014-06-22-hello-world.md
├── public
│   └── style.css
├── templates
│   ├── article.ejs
│   ├── index.ejs
│   └── layout.ejs
└── tinman.json

Beyond the articles directory and sample stylesheet, the --with-templates option creates a templates directory and a tinman.json file, instructing Tinman to use these templates instead of the ones built into it.

What data do my templates receive?

The article template receives all properties of the article as defined in the YAML Front Matter. The content of the article is stored as body. Some extra fields include:

  • summary: the first paragraph of the rendered article
  • filename: self-explanatory
  • date: the date either extracted from the filename or from the date property of the article's Front Matter

The index template has access to the array articles, which holds every article in your blog.

The layout template receives a body, which contains the rendered HTML of the page it contains (either an article page or the index). This template also has access to two strings, stylesheets and scripts, which store the CSS/JS resource tags generated automatically based on the contents of your public directory.


Plugins are small helper modules that all templates can access, allowing you to add extra functionality to your blog. An example plugin may look like the following:

// hello.js
module.exports = function (name) {
  return "Hello, " + name + "!";

Which you can then access in any template like so:

<title><%= plugins.greeting("Jordan") %></title>

How do I load a plugin?

In order for Tinman to appropriately load your plugins, you need to populate the plugins object in your tinman.json file. You'll notice this file is generated for you automatically when you create a new blog using the --with-templates option.

  "title": "Jordan's awesome blog",
  "plugins": {
    "greeting": "./hello"

Each entry in plugins consists of two items, the identifier that your template will be able to call (i.e. plugins.greeting) and a require string (just as you would pass to require() in node).

  "plugins": {
    "ms": "ms",         // load "ms" from node_modules/
    "other": "./blah"   // load "blah.js" locally as "other"

Just remember to npm install any external modules before trying to use them.

Static Files

Tinman will automatically copy static assets (images, stylesheets, javascripts) from the "public" directory (default: public/).

For instance, you can write the following to public/css/colors/main.css:

body {
  color: #222222;

And access it like so:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/colors/main.css">

You can follow the same pattern for including images in your articles, or even serving static HTML documents.

In addition, Tinman scans for javascripts (*.js) and stylesheets (*.css) and automatically generates resource tags in the layout template (layout.ejs is sent both a scripts and stylesheets string). You do not need to edit any templates after writing javascripts or stylesheets.

-- MIT Licensed

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