Flaco Crushers

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Originally, this post was titled 'Ruby Markdown Implementations' and I was going to talk about alternatives to BlueCloth. But while I was reading up about Maruku, I followed a link to webgen. As if that wasn't enough, reading up on webgen led me to yet another static site generator called webby.

Webgen

Webgen is the first guy I found. My heart sunk a little for Flaco, but I was immediately impressed by it.

Maturity

Webgen has been around for a while, and is written by Thomas Leitner, who has been in the Ruby community since at least 2004. It looks like the project itself has been actively developed since 2004, with the last release being just a week ago. At it's height, it had over 900 downloads.

Code Quality

Skimming through the code, it looks very clean and ruby-like. There are test cases and a custom test harness. The Rakefile has many tasks for streamlining administrative tasks. The RDoc link on the site is broken, but there is very comprehensive RDoc that can be generated with the source. It's worth noting that for a project that started over 4 years ago, the code doesn't look crufty or outdated at all. Kudos to you Mr. Leitner.

Licensing

GPL V2. Licensing doesn't really bother me, but it's worth mentioning.

Noteable Features

  • build custom webgen tags for an extensible templating language.
  • meta information fields.
  • clever configuration.
  • clean way to specify the render chain. e.g. erb, then markdown
  • plugin-like ways to add breadcrumbs and menus.
  • caching (don't know the details, but it creates a cache file)

Webby

After poking around the edges of webgen, I googled for 'static site generation' and found Webby. The webby homepage wow-ed me more, but 'ASCII Alchemy' alone isn't enough sometimes.

Maturity

There's both a rubyforge and a github project for webby. The fact that it uses github and rspec makes me think that Tim Pease is on top of his ruby fashion. The last commit on github was a mere 2 hours ago. The whole project was started about a year ago.

Code Quality

Webby also looks pretty clean and ruby-like. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think I liked how webgen was laid out better. I didn't spend as much time in the webby code, but it seems like it isn't split up as well as webgen and might be harder to add new features. The RDoc didn't seem as good as webgen's. I reserve final judgement for later.

Licensing

MIT License. How chic.

Noteable Features

  • better guides and community for support
  • use of rake for all actions
  • autobuild feature
  • build pages from templates

Both Webgen and Webby share a lot of features. The ones that don't overlap seem like they could be written because of the clean architectures they both seem to follow. The features webby lists and shows in it's tutorial seem to match more with what I want for my blog.

I'm happy to have found these two projects because they both do what I want them to. It saves me a ton of work in doing not-so-much tasks like command line parsing and setting up library paths. On top of that, I can imagine adding the features that I wanted in Flaco that aren't available in these systems. They might even turn out to be features that could be useful to other people :)

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