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A minimal filesystem-based publishing engine with Markdown support and code highlighting

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Online Documentation.

is a minimal filesystem-based publishing engine with Markdown support and code highlighting.
use NimblePublisher,
  build: Article,
  from: Application.app_dir(:app_name, "priv/articles/**/*.md"),
  as: :articles,
  highlighters: [:makeup_elixir, :makeup_erlang]

The example above will get all articles in the given directory, call
for each article, passing the filename, the metadata, and the article body, and define a module attribute named
with all built articles returned by the

Each article in the articles directory must have the format:

  title: "Hello world"
Body of the "Hello world" article.

This is a markdown document with support for code highlighters:

IO.puts "hello world".


  • :build
    - the name of the module that will build each entry
  • :from
    - a wildcard pattern where to find all entries. Files with the
    extension will be converted to Markdown with
    . Other files will be kept as is.
  • :as
    - the name of the module attribute to store all built entries
  • :highlighters
    - which code highlighters to use.
    for syntax highlighting and you will need to add its
    classes. You can generate the CSS classes by calling
    Makeup.stylesheet(:vim_style, "makeup")
    iex -S mix
    . You can replace
    by any style of your choice defined here.
  • :earmark_options
    - an
  • :parser
    - custom module with a
    function that receives the file path and content as params. It must return a 2 element tuple with attributes and body.


Let's see a complete example. First add

with the desired highlighters as a dependency:
def deps do
    {:nimble_publisher, "~> 0.1.0"},
    {:makeup_elixir, ">= 0.0.0"},
    {:makeup_erlang, ">= 0.0.0"}

In this example, we are building a blog. Each post stays in the "posts" directory with the format:


A typical blog post will look like this:

# /posts/2020/
  title: "Hello world!",
  author: "José Valim",
  tags: ~w(hello),
  description: "Let's learn how to say hello world"
This is the post.

Therefore, we will define a Post struct that expects all of the fields above. We will also have a

field that we will build from the filename. Overall, it will look like this:
defmodule MyApp.Blog.Post do
  @enforce_keys [:id, :author, :title, :body, :description, :tags, :date]
  defstruct [:id, :author, :title, :body, :description, :tags, :date]

def build(filename, attrs, body) do [year, month_day_id] = filename |> Path.rootname() |> Path.split() |> Enum.take(-2) [month, day, id] = String.split(month_day_id, "-", parts: 3) date = Date.from_iso8601!("#{year}-#{month}-#{day}") struct!(MODULE, [id: id, date: date, body: body] ++ Map.to_list(attrs)) end end

Now, we are ready to define our

defmodule MyApp.Blog do
  alias MyApp.Blog.Post

use NimblePublisher, build: Post, from: Application.app_dir(:my_app, "priv/posts/*/.md"), as: :posts, highlighters: [:makeup_elixir, :makeup_erlang]

The @posts variable is first defined by NimblePublisher.

Let's further modify it by sorting all posts by descending date.

@posts Enum.sort_by(@posts, & &, {:desc, Date})

Let's also get all tags

@tags @posts |> Enum.flat_map(& &1.tags) |> Enum.uniq() |> Enum.sort()

And finally export them

def all_posts, do: @posts def all_tags, do: @tags end

Important: Avoid injecting the

attribute into multiple functions, as each call will make a complete copy of all posts. For example, if you want to show define
as well as
, DO NOT do this:
def all_posts, do: @posts
def recent_posts, do: Enum.take(@posts, 3)

Instead do this:

def all_posts, do: @posts
def recent_posts, do: Enum.take(all_posts(), 3)

Other helpers

You may want to define other helpers to traverse your published resources. For example, if you want to get posts by ID or with a given tag, you can define additional functions as shown below:

defmodule NotFoundError do
  defexception [:message, plug_status: 404]

def get_post_by_id!(id) do Enum.find(all_posts(), &(& == id)) || raise NotFoundError, "post with id=#{id} not found" end

def get_posts_by_tag!(tag) do case Enum.filter(all_posts(), &(tag in &1.tags)) do [] -> raise NotFoundError, "posts with tag=#{tag} not found" posts -> posts end end

Custom parser

You may want to define a custom function to parse the content of your files.

  use NimblePublisher,
    parser: Parser,

defmodule Parser do def parse(path, contents) do [attrs, body] = :binary.split(contents, ["\n---\n"]) {Jason.decode!(attrs), body} end end


function from this module receives the file path and content as params. It must return a 2 element tuple with attributes and body.

Live reloading

If you are using Phoenix, you can enable live reloading by simply telling Phoenix to watch the “posts” directory. Open up "config/dev.exs", search for

and add this to the list of patterns:
live_reload: [
  patterns: [

Learn more


All nimble libraries by Dashbit:

  • NimbleCSV - simple and fast CSV parsing
  • NimbleOptions - tiny library for validating and documenting high-level options
  • NimbleParsec - simple and fast parser combinators
  • NimblePool - tiny resource-pool implementation
  • NimblePublisher - a minimal filesystem-based publishing engine with Markdown support and code highlighting
  • NimbleTOTP - tiny library for generating time-based one time passwords (TOTP)


Copyright 2020 Dashbit

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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