Zuzu is a static site generator that takes in markdown files and renders HTML pages. This blog has been written using this generator. This enables noobs like me to write blogs without having to learn a lot of code ;)

How does it work?

Zuzu parses the markdown file using javascript and renders it as html documents. It then saves the html files in the docs folder. The docs, is the final output of the generator and this can be deployed and hosted on various platforms. This particular blog has been deployed on Github Pages. Here is another blog built using zuzu and react for some additional feat. Anubhab’s Blog

1. Create a markdown file

# This is a title
This is a paragraph
This is another paragraph
This is a list:
* Item 1
* Item 2
* Item 3
This is a code block:
print("Hello World")
This is a table:
| Column 1 | Column 2 | Column 3 |
| -------- | -------- | -------- |
| 1        | 2        | 3        |
| 4        | 5        | 6        |
| 7        | 8        | 9        |
This is a link: [zuzu](https://anubhavp.dev/blog/zuzu.html)

2. Run the generator and find your blog

Run npm run generate in the console. We have used GitHub-flavoured markdown in the initial setup. You may add your theme, build your css and js files and add them to the static folder. The static folder contains all the static files that are required to render the blog.

The Static Site Generator

1. Libraries used

  • MarkdownIt Markdown parser done right.
  • MarkdownItAnchor Header anchors for markdown-it.
  • Glob “Globs” are the patterns you type when you do stuff like ls .js on the command line, or put build/ in a .gitignore file.
  • Gray-Matter Parse front-matter from a string or file.
  • Mkdirp Create Dirs if they do not exist.
  • Path Provides utilities for working with file and directory paths.
  • Highlight.js Highlight.js is a syntax highlighter written in JavaScript. It works in the browser as well as on the server. It works with pretty much any markup, and doesn’t depend on any framework and has automatic language detection.
  • MDtoPDF Converts markdown to pdf.
  • RSS RSS parser.
  • Cheerio Fast, flexible, and lean implementation of core jQuery designed specifically for the server.

2. Workflow

The code referred to here is the version1 of the generator.js. We are currently running with the version3. The rest of the code is in the Github Repo. Feel free to browse through the rest of the codes to explore additional features like RSS feed generation, PDF generation, search have been added to the generator.

  1. fs.readfile() from fs reads all the files from the said directory and stores them in filename using glob. It is a glob that matches all the files in the directory. The file system module allows you to work with the file system on your computer.
  2. gray-matter helps extract front matter from the string or file. Converts a string with front matter, like this:
    title: Hello
    slug: home
    <h1>Hello world!</h1>

Into an object like this:

content: '<h1>Hello world!</h1>',
data: { 
    title: 'Hello', 
    slug: 'home' 

It then extracts the front matter and stores it in data. It then stores the content in content and returns the filename to the main() function. It then repeats the process for all the files in the directory.

  1. The main() function then takes in one filename at a time and then parses it through markdownit( ,{markdownitanchor}). markdownit parses the file and converts the markdown content into HTML files. It then creates an html file and writes the parsed content into it. It then saves the html file in the docs folder. This process repeats for all the files in the directory.

  2. The converted html files are stored in the specified directories then using mkdirp. The index.html file is already present in the docs folder. mkdirp creates the directories if they do not exist.

3. Generator Code

This is version 1 of zuzu. The current version is version 3. The code for version 3 is in the Github Repo. This gives you a basic idea of how the generator works.

import fs from 'fs'
import glob from 'glob'
import matter from 'gray-matter'
import mkdirp from 'mkdirp'
import path from 'path'
import hljs from 'highlight.js';
import MarkdownIt from 'markdown-it'
import markdownItAnchor from 'markdown-it-anchor'
import string from 'string'

const slugify = s => string(s).slugify().toString()

const md = MarkdownIt({
    html: true,
    linkify: true,
    typographer: true,
    highlight(str, language) {
        if (language && hljs.getLanguage(language)) {
            try {

                return hljs.highlight(str, { language: language }).value;
            } catch (err) {

        return null;
}).use(markdownItAnchor, { slugify });

const readFile = (filename) => {
    const rawFile = fs.readFileSync(filename, 'utf8')
    const parsed = matter(rawFile)
    const html = md.render(parsed.content)

    return {...parsed, html }

const templatize = (template, { date, title, content, author }) =>
    .replace(/<!-- PUBLISH_DATE -->/g, date)
    .replace(/<!-- TITLE -->/g, title)
    .replace(/<!-- CONTENT -->/g, content)
    .replace(/<!-- AUTHOR -->/g, author)

const saveFile = (filename, contents) => {
    const dir = path.dirname(filename)
    fs.writeFileSync(filename, contents)

const getOutputFilename = (filename, outPath) => {
    const basename = path.basename(filename)
    const newfilename = basename.substring(0, basename.length - 3) + '.html'
    const outfile = path.join(outPath, newfilename)
    return outfile

const processFile = (filename, template, outPath) => {
    const file = readFile(filename)
    const outfilename = getOutputFilename(filename, outPath)

    const templatized = templatize(template, {
        date: file.data.date,
        title: file.data.title,
        content: file.html,
        author: file.data.author,

    saveFile(outfilename, templatized)
    console.log(`📝 ${outfilename}`)

const main = () => {
    const srcPath = path.resolve('content')
    const outPath = path.resolve('docs')
    const template = fs.readFileSync('./templates/initial/template.html', 'utf8')
    const filenames = glob.sync(srcPath + '/**/*.md')

    filenames.forEach((filename) => {
        processFile(filename, template, outPath)