Created: 2008-09-06 11:32
Updated: 2018-05-23 19:32
License: other

Shinmun - a file based blog engine

Shinmun is a small file based blog engine. Write posts in your favorite editor, track them with git and deploy to Heroku. Small, fast and simple.


  • Posts are text files formatted with Markdown, Textile or HTML
  • Deploy via git-push
  • Easy and fast deploying on Heroku
  • Index, category and archive listings
  • RSS feeds
  • Syntax highlighting provided by CodeRay


Install the gems:

$ gem install shinmun

Create a sample blog:

$ shinmun init myblog

This will create a directory with all necessary files. Now start the web server:

$ cd myblog
$ rackup

Browse to the following url:


VoilĂ , your first blog is up and running!

Writing Posts

Posts can be created by using the shinmun command inside your blog folder:

shinmun post 'The title of the post'

Shinmun will then create a post file in the right place, for example in posts/2008/9/

Post Format

Each blog post is just a text file with a YAML header and a body. The YAML header is surrounded with 2 lines of 3 dashes.

The YAML header has following attributes:

  • title: mandatory
  • date: posts need one, pages not
  • category: a post belongs to one category
  • tags: a comma separated list of tags

Example post:

date: 2008-09-05
category: Ruby
tags: bluecloth, markdown
title: BlueCloth, a Markdown library
This is the summary, which is by definition the first paragraph of the
article. The summary shows up in category listings or the index listing.

Syntax highlighting

Thanks to the fantastic highlighting library CodeRay, highlighted code blocks can be embedded easily in Markdown. For Textile support you have to require coderay/for_redcloth. These languages are supported: C, Diff, Javascript, Scheme, CSS, HTML, XML, Java, JSON, RHTML, YAML, Delphi

To activate CodeRay for a code block, you have to declare the language in lower case:


def method_missing(id, *args, &block)
  puts "#{id} was called with #{args.inspect}"

Note that the declaration MUST be followed by a blank line!

Directory layout

+ pages
+ posts
  + 2007
  + 2008
    + 9
+ public
  + styles.css
+ templates
  + 404.rhtml
  + archive.rhtml
  + category.rhtml
  + index.rhtml
  + index.rxml
  + layout.rhtml
  + page.rhtml
  + post.rhtml  

Blog configuation

In you can set the properties of your blog:

blog.config = {
  :language => 'en',
  :title => "Blog Title",
  :author => "The Author",
  :categories => ["Ruby", "Javascript"],
  :description => "Blog description"


Layout and templates are rendered by ERB. The layout is defined in templates/layout.rhtml. The content will be provided in the variable @content. A minimal example:

    <title><%= @blog.title %></title>
    <%= stylesheet_link_tag 'style' %>
     <%= @content %>

The attributes of a post are accessible via the @post variable:

<div class="article">
  <h1><%= @post.title %></h1>
  <div class="date">
    <%= human_date %>
  <%= @post.body_html %>



Deployment on Heroku

Install the Heroku gem:

$ gem install heroku

Installing your public key:

$ heroku keys:add

Enter your Heroku credentials.
Uploading ssh public key /Users/joe/.ssh/

Create an app on Heroku.

$ heroku create myblog
Created |
Git remote heroku added

Now on your local machine, you create a new remote repository and push your blog to Heroku:

$ cd ~/myblog
$ git init
$ git add .
$ git commit -m 'initial commit'
$ git push heroku

That's it. Your blog is deployed.

GitHub Project

Download or fork the package at my github repository

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