Introducing rollin


Yet another Ruby blog

I recently moved to China, and the past three days was a big holiday here. My Chinese is still pretty bad and it kinda of limits my, let's say, entertainment options. And that's why I ended up studying Javascript frameworks in order to do a presentation at the office. After jumping from blog to blog I've gathered some amount of data around this topic in a big markdown file. And then I thought - wouldn't it be great if could publish it on blog? I have a bunch of stuff I want to post about and now seemed a perfect time to start it. So let's stop talking about me.

So I went after blogging engines. If you ask me why I didn't scaffold it with Rails I'm gonna blow your head. My requirements were that it needed to be easy to style so I could make it look pretty, that it was filesystem based so I could manage it with git, and that it was markdown. The Ruby Toolbox has listed a bunch of Ruby engines in it's Blog Engine, no wonder! And couldn't find much more than that at the webz.

I won't go in detail in any of them. But it is worth mention in case you want to learn more about it. Jekyll is great, but I didn't want to setup all the necessary infrastructure. Octopress, which is build on top of Jekyll, looks pretty cool! But it does too much stuff and I might have to hack it too much so it worked the way I wanted. Toto was the best alternative. I also tried Serious, which wasn't customizable out of the box, actually none were. Yes! I know there are some really nice blogging tools in Javascript, I was specially interested in wheat. But in the end I just wanted to build my own website and wanted something to handle the posts for me. I wanted a blog library, not an engine.

So I started building the website with Sinatra (yes! it still take less lines than any Javascript framework) and eventually ported out the engine to a gem. And rollin was born!


Rollin is a Ruby blog library. It renders your articles, provides search and archiving. Files are read from the filesystem in the Markdown format. Current list of features:

  • Loads articles from a defined filesystem structure.
  • Renders articles in the markdown format.
  • Allows article specification with metatags similar to Jekyll's yaml front matter.
  • Search articles by date.
  • Search articles by metatags.
  • Provides archiving by year and monthly.

You can read the full documentation at the rollin github page.


For the future it would be nice to have it working with any markup languages. Also having the ability to setup other sources like a git repository, google docs account, or dropbox could make it appealing for some people.