The most boring static page generator
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The most boring static page generator.

Meaning of saai (dutch): boring
Pronounciation: site

Some parts are intentionally hardcoded in C for simplicity.

Build and install

$ make
# make install


- C compiler (C99), tested on gcc and clang.
- libc
- POSIX make (optional).
- mandoc for documentation: (optional).

Tested and works on

- OpenBSD
- Linux (glibc).
- Windows (mingw and cygwin).

Example of a workflow

This script monitors pages for changes and for new files in the directory then
regenerates static files if this happens. If successful then refreshes the
current window/tab in Firefox.

Dependencies: make, xdotool, entr (

if test x"$1" = x"rebuild"; then
make && xdotool search --class firefox key F5
while :; do find pages | entr -d -p "$(readlink -f "$0")" rebuild; done

Using Markdown

A possible method could be to just convert the Markdown to HTML and to run
saait after that as usual.

In this example it uses smu for the Markdown processor, available at:

cd pages
for f in *.md; do
smu -n < "$f" > "$(basename "$f" .md).html"


See the man page of saait(1).

Man page

SAAIT(1) General Commands Manual SAAIT(1)

saait the most boring static page generator

saait [-c configfile] [-o outputdir] [-t templatesdir] pages...

saait writes HTML pages to the output directory.

The arguments pages are page config files, which are processed in the
given order.

The options are as follows:

-c configfile
The global configuration file, the default is "config.cfg". Each
page configuration file inherits variables from this file. These
variables can be overwritten per page.

-o outputdir
The output directory, the default is "output".

-t templatesdir
The templates directory, the default is "templates".

A recommended directory structure for pages, although the names can be

The directory and file structure for templates must be:

The following filename prefixes are detected for template blocks and
processed in this order:

Header block.

Item block.

Footer block.

The files are saved as output/<templatename>, for example
templates/atom.xml/* will become: output/atom.xml. If a template block
file does not exist then it is treated as if it was empty.

Template directories starting with a dot (".") are ignored.

The "page" templatename is special and will be used per page.

A config file has a simple key=value configuration syntax, for example:

# this is a comment line.
filename = example.html
title = Example page
description = This is an example page
created = 2009-04-12
updated = 2009-04-14

The following variable names are special with their respective defaults:

Path to the input content filename, by default this is the path
of the config file with the last extension replaced to ".html".

The filename or relative file path for the output file for this
page. By default the value is the basename of the contentfile.
The path of the written output file is the value of filename
appended to the outputdir path.

A line starting with # is a comment and is ignored.

TABs and spaces before and after a variable name are ignored. TABs and
spaces before a value are ignored.

A template (block) is text. Variables are replaced with the values set
in the config files.

The possible operators for variables are:

$ Escapes a XML string, for example: < to the entity &lt;.

# Literal raw string value.

% Insert contents of file of the value of the variable.

For example in a HTML item template:

<h1><a href="">${title}</a></h1>
<strong>Last modification on </strong>
<time datetime="${updated}">${updated}</time>

The saait utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

A basic usage example:

1. Create a directory for a new site:

mkdir newsite

2. Copy the example pages, templates, global config file and example
stylesheets to a directory:

cp -r pages templates config.cfg style.css print.css newsite/

3. Change the current directory to the created directory.

cd newsite/

4. Change the values in the global config.cfg file.

5. If you want to modify parts of the header, like the navigation menu
items, you can change the following two template files:

6. Create any new pages in the pages directory. For each config file
there has to be a corresponding HTML file. By default this HTML
file has the path of the config file, but with the last extension
(".cfg" in this case) replaced to ".html".

7. Create an output directory:

mkdir -p output

8. After any modifications the following commands can be used to
generate the output and process the pages in descending order:

find pages -type f -name '*.cfg' -print0 | sort -zr | xargs -0 saait

9. Copy the modified stylesheets to the output directory also:

cp style.css print.css output/

10. Open output/index.html locally in your webbrowser to review the

11. To synchronize files, you can securely transfer them via SSH using

rsync -av output/ user@somehost:/var/www/htdocs/

The most boring static page generator.

Meaning of saai (dutch): boring, pronunciation of saait: site

find(1), sort(1), xargs(1)

Hiltjo Posthuma <>