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A static web site generator.


>= 0.1.4
>= 0.9.2
>= 2.2.20
>= 0.6.0
>= 2.0.4
>= 2.0.21
>= 1.5.8
>= 0.8.4
 Project Readme


Who needs Wordpress?

The majority of web sites are consumed. Visitors will stumble upon the site, read a few pages (if you're lucky) and then disappear. Normally for every visitor to the site each webpage is generated dynamically. Each visitor has their own version of the web page for that particular moment of time. Is this really necessary? How often does the content on the web site you are visiting change?

Take blogs for example. I have a blog written using the excellent Wordpress software. I'm able to write posts within Wordpress and see them appear on the web site without leaving my web browser. My posts are held in a database, when a user requests to view my blog multiple requests are made to the database to build a dynamic page on which contents rarely changes. I create a new blog post every 3 weeks, it seems a bit unnecessary to generate a web page when the content hasn't changed.

There is another option. Instead of generating the web site dynamically when the page is requested I can generate the web page whenever the content changes. So whenever I create a new post - I regenerate the site.

This has the advantage of serving web pages faster; I use less hosting space; and I cut any unnecessary features which Wordpress provides.

The main disadvantage is that user's aren't able to comment on my posts - but this don't matter too much - nobody ever did! ;-)

Getting Started

who-needs-wp is a small Ruby program which helps generate static web sites. To start using who-needs-wp you need to install Ruby. On Ubuntu enter the following into a command prompt:

sudo apt-get install ruby ruby-dev rubygems

You then need to install who-needs-wp by running the following:

sudo gem install who-needs-wp

Ensure that Ruby gems is in your PATH variable by opening ~/.bashrc and entering:

export PATH=/var/lib/gems/1.8/bin:$PATH

You'll need to re-load the .bashrc file by using the following command:

. ~/.bashrc

Now create a folder which will host your web site

mkdir /var/www/website/

who-needs-wp stores posts in the posts/ folder followed by a folder representing the date of the post. i.e. posts/year/month/day.

Create an example post by creating a folder and creating a Markdown file.

mkdir /var/www/website/posts/2010/03/15/ --parents
gedit /var/www/website/posts/2010/03/15/An_example_post.markdown

The filename will be used as the title for the page - all the underscores will be replaced with spaces.

Along with Markdown Syntax you can also specify the author of the blog post within the file:

Author: Your Name

Before it can generate the site who-needs-wp needs to be configured. Copy the following into /var/www/website/.who-needs-wp.yaml

:url: /website/test
:title: An example blog
:author: Your Name

These are the properties which are used to generate the website:

  • url - The base URL of the website
  • title - A title for the index of your site
  • author - When a author is not specified within the post this author is displayed

Now you can generate your site:

who-needs-wp .

And view the blog at the following URL:


Overriding Templates

You will probably find that the templates used by who-needs-wp don't quite match your requirements. You can override any of the templates by creating a templates folder. You can copy the existing templates from the gem as a starting point. The templates are stored within the /var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/who-needs-wp-0.1.0/lib/who-needs-wp/templates/.

Applying alternative styles

You can specify an additional stylesheet by using the -s or --stylesheet option to the who-needs-wp command.


who-needs-wp can place a Twitter stream in the side bar. This can either be a search or an individual user's feed.

Modifying .who-needs-wp.yaml and add:

  :username: <your twitter user>
  :search: <your twitter search>


who-needs-wp can also display a list of bookmarks from Delicious. Modify .who-needs-wp.yaml and add:

  :user: <your delicious username>

Google Analytics

To enable Google Analytics you need to specify your web property ID in .who-needs-wp.yaml. For example:

:google_analytics: UA-XXXXXXXX

Syntax Highlighting

who-needs-wp will syntax highlight your code snippets using Makers-Mark and Pygments. You will need to ensure that Pygments is installed.

sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
sudo easy_install pygments

Migration from Wordpress

Packaged with who-needs-wp is a simple script called wordpress2wnwp which aids migrating from Wordpress. wordpress2wnwp exports posts from a MySQL database and outputs them in the who-needs-wp filing structure. It also generates Apache2 RewriteRules which rewrite any Wordpress URLs to who-needs-wp.

To find more information on wordpress2wnwp enter the following command:

wordpress2wnwp -h


Copyright (c) 2010 Owen Griffin. See LICENSE for details.