Fornax is a static site generator using type safe F# DSL to define page templates

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Fornax is a static site generator using type safe F# DSL to define page templates.

Working features

  • Defining templates in F# DSL
  • Creating pages using templates from .md files with layout entry
  • Creating plain pages without templates from md files without layout entry
  • Transforming .less files to .css files
  • Transforming .scss files to .css files (require having sass installed)
  • Coping other static content to output directory

Planned features

  • Defining .css styles using F# DSL
  • Handling site settings defined in multiple files (a la Jekyll's _data folder) (multiple models? unified model?)


Project is in really early stage right now... let's call it RC3. Right now only way of installing Fornax is building it from source - clone repository, and run build.cmd (Windows) or (Linux / OSX). Compailed Fornax.exe will be in .\temp\release folder, Fornax.Core.dll in .\temp\release\bin. You can add .\temp\release to PATH - Fornax is desinged as globally installed tool.

CLI Application

TODO: More docs. For now run fornax help... BTW, fornax new is not implemented yet (but other commands should work)

Website definition

Fornax is using normal F# code (F# script files) to define templates and data types representing content, and yaml and Markdown to provide content (fitting defined models) for the templates. Sample webpage can be found in samples folder - to build sample webpage run fornax build in this folder.

Site Settings

Site settings are information passed to every page during generation - every template has access to this data.

The model representing site settings is defined in siteModel.fsx file in the root folder of the webpage, content of settings is defined in _config.yml file in the root folder of the webpage.

Sample siteModel.fsx:

type SiteModel = {
    SomeGlobalValue : string

Sample _config.yml:

SomeGlobalValue: "Test global value"


Templates are F# script files representing different templates that can be used in the website. They need to #load siteModel.fsx file, and #r Fornax.Core.dll. They need to define F# record called Model which defines additional settings passed to this particular template, and generate function of following signature: SiteModel -> Model -> Post list -> string -> HtmlElement. SiteModel is type representing global settings of webpage, Model is type representing settings for this template, Post list contains simplifed information about all avaliable posts in the blog (usefull for navigation, creating tag cloud etc.) string is main content of post (already compiled to html).

Templates are defined using DSL defined in Html module of Fornax.Core.

All templates should be defined in templates folder.

Sample template:

#r "../lib/Fornax.Core.dll"
#load "../siteModel.fsx"

open Html
open SiteModel

type Model = {
    Name : string
    Surname : string

let generate (siteModel : SiteModel) (mdl : Model) (posts: Post list) (content : string) =
    html [] [
        div [] [
            span [] [ !! ("Hello world " + mdl.Name) ]
            span [] [ !! content ]
            span [] [ !! siteModel.SomeGlobalValue ]

Page content

Content files are .md files containg page contnt, and header with settings (defined using yaml). Header part is parsed, and passed to template generate function as Model. Content part is compiled to html and also passed to generate function. Header part needs to have layout entry which defines which template will be used for the page.

Sample page:

layout: post
Name: Ja3
Surname: Ja4
# Something else

Some blog post written in Markdown

Post list

Templates are getting Post list as one of the input parameter that can be used for navigation, creating tag clouds etc. The Post is a record of following structure:

type Post = {
    link : string
    title: string option
    author: string option
    published: System.DateTime option
    tags: string list

It's filled based on respective entries in layout part of the post content file. link is using name of the file - it's usually something like \posts\post1.html


  1. Hmmm... it looks similar to Jekyll, doesn't it?
  • Yes, indeed. But the main advantage over Jekyll is type safe DSL for defining templates, and fact it's using normal prorgramming language - no additional syntax to things like loops or conditional statements, it's also very easy to compose templates - you just #load other template and execute as normal F# function
  1. What about F# Formatting?
  • F# Formatting is really good project, but it doesn't provide own rendering / templating engine - it's using Razor for that. Fornax right now is handling only rendering / templating - hopefully, it should work pretty well as rendering engine for F# Formatting.

Contributing and copyright

The project is hosted on GitHub where you can report issues, fork the project and submit pull requests. Please read Contribution Guide

The library is available under MIT license, which allows modification and redistribution for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.