Install Blog-Doc

Installing and using the app


The Simplest Node.js CMS & SSG !

Features ⚡

  • Administrate your app from the front-end !
  • Gallery to upload your images
  • Create, Read, Update & Delete your pages and posts
  • Paginated blog with chosen number of posts per page
  • Posts pagination to navigate between your posts
  • Write your content in Markdown
  • Ability to use HTML in Markdown
  • Tag(s) for posts
  • Featured image for pages & posts
  • Archive route for posts
  • Tags list route
  • Individual route for each tag
  • Titles & Meta Descriptions
  • Drag and drop your menu links to sort them
  • RSS feed
  • Sitemap
  • Search
  • Code highlighting with Prism
  • Ids for H2 till H4 in Markdown
  • Hot reloading in development mode

Solid stack of technologies 🪨

Backend (input)

  • Node.js 16.x or higher.
  • EJS is 100% JavaScript.
  • Markdown to focus on your content.

Frontend (output)

  • HTML, CSS and a tiny JS file.

Blazing fast and simple 🚀

  • A zero configuration static site generator.
  • Ready to use on your Node.js server as a Node.js CMS.
  • Ready to use, after build, as a static site.
  • Without any unnecessary functionalities, loads in a blink of an eye.
  • Easy to install and use.

Design 🎨

  • Responsive, elegant and simple layout.
  • Ready to use template for blog and/or documentation.
  • Easy to modify if you opt for another design.

How to install Blog-Doc ?

Blog-Doc is a Deta Space application.
You can install it on your Personal Cloud by visiting the Discovery page of Blog-Doc and click on the Install on Space button.

Blog-Doc is also a Node.js app. You should have Node.js on your machine.
Always go for the LTS version. At the time of writing those lines it's 18.12.1 !

If you want to try Blog-Doc, head over it's Github repository and download it.
You can also download it's zip by clicking on the following link : Blog-Doc ZIP.

Once downloaded, extract the zipped folders and files to a new folder and open it in your IDE (I use the one and only VS Code).
Then type in the terminal :

npm install

After the install, to see what Blog-Doc looks like, type in your terminal the following command :

npm run watch

This command will allow you to explore the app in the browser of your choice by visiting localhost on port 3000.

Blog-Doc comes with some posts and pages. You can now begin to create your own pages and posts from the administration, then remove the existing ones also from the administration.

In Space or locally, I wish you an enjoyable trip with Blog-Doc 🚀

Generate a static site

How is it done ?!

When you try to reproduce an idea like a CMS or an SSG, you learn a lot and especially to respect and appreciate the great and hard work of the developers who made applications used by thousand of people !

Rendering a static file out of a template is an easy task, but turning different routes working together to produce a Node.js app into some folders and a lot of files to generate a static site is not an easy one !

The file behind this trick in Blog-Doc is build.js You can find this file under the functions folder. It's very similar to the filesRoute.js. The difference between the two is that filesRoute.js renders the posts, pages and templates in the Node.js app while build.js generates out of those posts, pages and templates a ready to use static site.

How does it work ?

If you're using Blog-Doc on Space or on a Node.js server, head over the Administration page and click on the Build Static Site card. A zipped folder named will be available for you to download. The content of this folder is your static site. Read how to use in it the next section.

If you're using Blog-Doc locally, you can generate the static site from the CMS as described above, or type the following command in your terminal :

npm run build

This command will create a _site folder in which all the necessary folders and files are created. You can now copy the entire content of the _site folder to the server of your choice or just test it locally.

Nota Bene : in both cases, the administration part and all of it's components will be removed from the generated static site !

How to use it ?

Test it locally

Copy the content of the _site folder to a new folder and open it in your IDE, I use VS Code with the Live Server extension.
Launch the local server and you'll be able to explore the static site.

Host it !

Push the content of the _site folder to a host of your choice.
There are many free hosts for static sites. The most known are :

Nota Bene : the above list can be much longer with the different services out there to host a static site !

Push it to Deta Space !

You can push the content of the _site folder to Deta Space as a Node.js app !
It took me less than 5 minutes to do it !
Space Docs are great and straightforward !
You can take a look at the result by visiting Blog-Doc static with Express.
The implementation can be found on the following GitHub repository.


⚠️ You MUST provide the live URL of your site in the Settings page by modifying the siteURL value before deploying the application.

At build time, a rss.xml file is generated in the _site folder.
This file takes the live URL that you provided to generate the correct links for your feed.
Nota Bene : the live URL MUST end with a slash / !

Of course, you MUST also modify siteTitle, siteDescription and rssCopyright in the Settings page.
You SHOULD replace the siteTitle, siteDescription and rssCopyright values with the ones of your site.
You MAY replace the rssSiteLanguage value with the language of your site.
A list of available language codes can be found on the RSS language codes page.

Bellow is a screenshot of the RSS feed of Blog-Doc in Vivaldi browser


Like the RSS feed, you MUST provide the live URL of your site in the Settings page by modifying the siteURL value to generate the correct links for each page, post, tag and template as well as for the blog routes.
Please remember that the Site URL MUST end with a slash / !

You can check the sitemap of your site under the /sitemap route.
At build time, a sitemap.xml is generated in the _site folder.


Blog-Doc has a built-in search feature.
The search functionality allows a user to make a research on the titles and the contents of the posts.

You can check the search of your site under the /search route.
At build time, a posts.json and a search.js are generated in _site/js.
Also, at build time, an index.html is generated under the search folder in the _site folder.

You can disable the search in the Node.js app as well as for the generated static site by giving searchFeature a value of false in the Settings page.

To see it in action, take a look at :

Code highlighting

Blog-Doc uses Prism to highlight inline code and block of code.

To write inline code, surround your code with backticks ``.
To highlight it, provide the language for the inline code by putting after it a curly braces with the alias of the language of the code.
The following examples will give you a better idea.
Assuming this css line p : color { red }, to highlight it you'll write `p { color: red }`{language=css} and you'll get the following output p { color: red }
The code is surrounded with backticks `` and followed by {language=alias of code language}.

To write a block of code, surround your block with a pair of 3 backticks ```.
To highlight it, provide the alias of the language for the block just after the first 3 backticks.
We'll take the previous example and highlight it as a block :

p { color: red }

We'll get the following output :

p {
	color: red;

⚠️ The alias of the code language, inline or block, is always lowercase ⚠️

Visit the supported languages by Prism to get the correct alias if you're unsure.

Ids for H2 till H4 in Markdown

Adding an id attribute to a heading tag, H2 till H4 only, is an optional activated feature by default.

This feature was built with edge cases and typing typos in mind :

  • Regex to match curly braces ignoring everything before the last hashtag
  • Replace accented characters, by their non accented letter
  • Replace upper case letters by lower case one
  • Remove special characters except hyphen and underscore
  • Replace any number of underscore by one hyphen
  • Replace any number of space by one hyphen
  • Remove any number of hyphen at the beginning
  • Replace any number of hyphen by one hyphen only
  • Remove any number of hyphen at the end

To add an id, add a curly braces with a hashtag followed by the id's text.
The following examples will give you a better idea :

<!-- Heading tags with an id property -->

## My awesome H2 title {# my-awesome-h2-title}

The HTML output will be : <h2 id="my-awesome-h2-title">My awesome H2 title</h2>

### My awesome H3 title {# my awesome h3 title}

The HTML output will be : <h3 id="my-awesome-h3-title">My awesome H3 title</h3>

#### My awesome H4 title {# My awesome H4 title}

The HTML output will be : <h4 id="my-awesome-h4-title">My awesome H4 title</h4>

Every White-space is automatically replaced by a hyphen and any number of consecutive hyphens are replaced by one hyphen only.
Any number of hyphen at the beginning or the end of the id's text are removed so the following is also valid :

## My awesome H2 title { # ----- My ----- aWEsOMe ----- h2 ----- tITlE ----- }

Whatever the number of white-space characters / hyphens is at the beginning,
between the words or at the end, the HTML output will still be :

<h2 id="my-awesome-h2-title">My awesome H2 title</h2>

Anything before the last hashtag # is ignored and special characters in the id's text are ignored too :

## My awesome H2 title { /!@# a comment ?%^& # -my= awesome+ h2 \ ( title ) | }

The HTML output will be : <h2 id="my-awesome-h2-title">My awesome H2 title</h2>

⚠️ Please be aware that the following special characters, if used inside the id's text after the last hashtag #, will not be deleted :

& will be parsed to amp (ampersand)
" will be parsed to quot (quotation)
> will be parsed to gt (greater then)
< will be parsed to lt (less then)

As an example :

## Honey & Bees {#Honey & Bees}

The HTML output will be : <h2 id="honey-amp-bees">Honey & Bees</h2>

At build time, predefined ids will be generated into the HTML of the static site.

If you wish to disable this feature, set the addIdsToHeadings value to false in the Settings page.

Finally here !
Since Blog-Doc turned into a CMS, I've planned to add a gallery and a way to retrieve images for the pages and posts directly.
Now it's almost done. Almost, because there is always space to bring on improvements.
For now, you can visit the gallery by hitting the /admin-gallery route, or go to the Administration page and click on the Gallery link in the menu or it's card.

In the global spirit of Blog-Doc, The Galley is pretty simple to use.
You'll find a drop zone where you can drop your image(s) or click on it and choose the image(s) you wish to upload.
⚠️ Once an image added, it will be directly uploaded to the images folder but will not be available yet in the gallery, you MUST click on the Add image(s) ✅ button to add the image(s) to the gallery !

You can also delete an image from the gallery by clicking on it's ✘ DELETE button.

Finally, to assign an image to a page or a post, you can, while creating or updating, choose an image from the gallery by selecting it directly from the page or post.

What's next ?

I intend to make a lot of improvements to this app in my short free time.

You can take Blog-Doc as a prototype and modify it totally to use it with another design and/or another template language (I use the one and only plain JavaScript EJS).

I really hope that this app will be useful in any way for a lot of people out there, I'm considering it as my personal contribution to the Node.js, Express, EJS and Markdown communities.

Ideas, comments and suggestions are most welcome.

SYA, LebCit