Yiannis Charalambous

Article Compiler Tutorial


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Author: Yiannis Charalambous

Reading Time: 4 minutes


This tutorial will look at how to setup article compiler so that it compiles markdown articles inside a folder and outputs them as HTML in another folder, along with how the template system works. Article compiler can be obtained on GitHub.


Article Compiler uses the following programs:

  • Perl


Article compiler is basically a script, so once you download/clone the git repo, just copy the compile-articles.sh script into a place where you will want to use it. In my case, the website repository contains compile-articles.sh at the root, the website contents, that is, HTML, CSS and files that belong to the website are inside a Source folder.


First Article Compiler compiles the articles and places them in a folder inside of Source, then Static Builder takes the Source folder and builds the website, this forms a small pipeline. It can be automated with a shell script like this:

#!/usr/bin/env sh

echo "Compiling articles"

echo "Running packager"
./package.py Source Public

So running build.sh (that is what I call the script) will run both article compiler and static builder in one command.

Article Template

The template file will allow the HTML generated to be of the same format as the rest of the website, instead of the generated HTML being just a bunch of HTML tags that don’t really resemble the webpage that an article could be found in. Here is the template for this website:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">

    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">
    <title>Yiannis CS - {title}</title>
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

    <import src="Common.html" />


    <import src="Header.html" />

        <div class="ContentCard">
            <div class="ContentCardSection">
                <h4>Reading Time: {time}</h4>

    <import src="Footer.html" />


Note that the import elements are for Static Builder.

The HTML is normal aside from the {title} {article} {time} keywords. These keywords let Article Compiler insert the title of the article and the generated HTML at the correct place. The {article} tag is replaced by the content of the markdown file (aside from the param block that will be explained later). The {time} tag is automatically calculated by the word count of the markdown file. The {title} tag is obtained from the inclusion of a title field inside of the param block at the top of the file.

The Param Block

The param block is a block of meta data that is included at the top of the markdown file, it is removed when the article is compiled so the HTML will not include it. Inside the param block, meta data such as the title of the article can be included. The param block needs to start at the first line of the file, that means that the params keyword is at line 0 of the markdown file, if this is not the case, then article compiler will treat the param block as being part of the file and include it in the generated HTML. An example param block is shown below:

title: Article Compiler Tutorial

The param block starts with the params keyword and ends with the endparams keyword. Between those two keywords, meta data such as what the title of the article is can be declared in the form of key: value. Each meta data entry, along with the params endparams keywords need to be line separated.

Supported Tags

Below is a list of currently supported tags that are supported.

Markdown Tag HTML Template Tag Explanation
N/A article The article will be placed where the tag is.
title title The title of the article.
N/A time Time to read the article, automatically calculated.

More are planned on being added depending on how neccessary they are as a design decision of this script is to keep it minimalistic.

Example Usage

Create an empty folder, this will resemble the root of our website repo. Inside folder create these folders:

  • articles
  • Source
  • Inside the Source folder, create a articles folder.

Inside the root of the website, create a template file, the default accepted file is article_template.html although it can be changed by supplying the script with arguments. Now create an article such as test.md and save it inside articles. Run the ./compile-articles.sh script and it will take the articles inside the articles folder and create HTML webpages using the template and save them inside of Source/articles.