Blog, Incorporated

After a few months working with Writefreely, (kept separate from a static webpack-generated front page), I just really didn’t like the feel of keeping a blog in separate software with a database, when the content itself was just markdown. Probably the thing to do would be to hop on the static site bandwagon, but I’ve been spending so much time learning elixir & phoenix for other projects, I didn’t relish spending time learning a whole new toolchain.

Luckily, there are good resources on basing a blog off markdown files in Elixir Phoenix, in a manner basically as speedy as a static site. So…

I set to incorporating my blog posts and previous static webpack-based design into a Phoenix site. Had to do a few additions and customizations to get things working just right.

For one, as much as I love Elxiir, the only server-side syntax-highlighting package out there doesn’t support enough languages for my needs. I didn’t like the idea of using client-side javascript, so I decided to leverage Chroma’s cli. Hooking elixir’s System.cmd/3 in with a trimmed & modified version of the ExDoc syntax highlighter code, after parsing the markdown to html, I’m able to isolate all fenced code in a post, write each code fragment to a temp file, apply highlight classes via chroma, and replace the code in the post.

(As an aside, I at first tried using the Pygments cli, which worked fine, but I realized it didn’t seem to support vue templates, and I do some work with vue. At some point it might be fun to try to figure out how to implement the lexers I need in the elixir native project makeup but that’s a big task to tackle some other day!)

Incidentally, Earmark‘s markdown parsing includes support for setting the language for inline code with a braced suffix — e.g., `console.log('test');`{:.lang-javascript} — so my highlighter code below includes support for such code elements.

I also found code hot-reloading wasn’t working great if I added or removed a file, even if I canceled all elixir processes and started it up again. I had to get this fixed because the plan was to deploy new content and other changes via git repository post-receive hook, and while I can script the recompilation, and probably add in a --force flag or something, I wanted it cleaner. Plus I just wanted the convenience of writing posts in dev mode with a preview.

The Dashbit posts referenced above on basing an elixir site off markdown files both cover basic live reloading, but I found I needed to add the following to my Blog module to ensure it was recompiled:

post_paths_hash = :erlang.md5(post_paths) def __mix_recompile__?() do Path.wildcard("content/**/*.md") |> :erlang.md5() != unquote(post_paths_hash) end
Code language: Elixir (elixir)

Following that change, new markdown files are recognized and included as expected.

And, FWIW, here’s my modified highlighter module using chroma (I’ve exported the CSS styles separately (like so: ~/go/bin/chroma -s base16-snazzy --html-styles > _chroma.css) to include in my app.scss. If you use purgecss like me, you’ll need to add the .chroma class to the safelist for the webpack plugin: safelist: {greedy: [/phx/, /topbar/, /inline/, /chroma/]} .)

defmodule Home73k.Highlighter do @moduledoc """ Performs code highlighting. """ alias Home73k.Temp # This refers to a method that gets the chroma binary location from application config @chroma_bin Home73k.app_chroma_bin() |> Path.expand() @doc """ Highlights all code in HTML (fenced code blocks and inlined code) """ def highlight_all(html) do highlight_code_blocks(html) |> highlight_code_inlined() end @doc """ Highlights fenced code blocks in HTML document """ def highlight_code_blocks(html) do ~r/<pre><code(?:\s+class="(\w*)")?>([^<]*)<\/code><\/pre>/ |> Regex.replace(html, &highlight_code_block(&1, &2, &3)) end defp highlight_code_block(_full_block, lang, code) do # perform the code highlighting highlighted = highlight_code(lang, code) # return properly wrapped highlighted code ~s(<pre class="chroma"><code class="language-#{lang}">#{highlighted}</code></pre>) end @doc """ Highlights inlined code in HTML document """ def highlight_code_inlined(html) do ~r/<code(?:\s+class="inline lang-(\w*)")?>([^<]*)<\/code>/ |> Regex.replace(html, &highlight_code_inline(&1, &2, &3)) end defp highlight_code_inline(_full_block, lang, code) do # perform the code highlighting highlighted = highlight_code(lang, code) # return properly wrapped highlighted code ~s(<code class="inline chroma language-#{lang}">#{highlighted}</code>) end # """ # Performs code highlighting using chroma # """ defp highlight_code(lang, code) do # unescape the code unescaped_code = unescape_html(code) |> IO.iodata_to_binary() # write code to temp file tmp_file = Temp.file() File.write!(tmp_file, unescaped_code) # use chroma to highlight the code via temp file bin_args = ["-l", lang, "-f", "html", "--html-only", "--html-prevent-surrounding-pre", tmp_file] System.cmd(@chroma_bin, bin_args) |> elem(0) end # """ # Code below for unescaping html, since it's escaped by Earmark markdown parsing # """ entities = [{"&amp;", ?&}, {"&lt;", ?<}, {"&gt;", ?>}, {"&quot;", ?"}, {"&#39;", ?'}] for {encoded, decoded} <- entities do defp unescape_html(unquote(encoded) <> rest) do [unquote(decoded) | unescape_html(rest)] end end defp unescape_html(<<c, rest::binary>>) do [c | unescape_html(rest)] end defp unescape_html(<<>>) do [] end end
Code language: Elixir (elixir)