Typed Routes

Rib includes an optional route system based on GADTs than can be used to define safe and structured routes for your site. The sample repo used in Tutorial already uses routes, and you can see the entire code in Quick Preview to see all of this would fit together in a static site generator.

Definining Routes

To define a route, create a GADT type called Route with a type parameter a:

data Route a where
  Route_Home :: Route ()
  Route_Article :: FilePath -> Route Pandoc

Why use GADTs instead of regular ADTs? There are two reasons:

  1. GADTs provides us with a mechanism to specify an unique type (the type parameter a) for each of its constructor. This type, a, is generally the type of the value used to generate the static content (typically HTML) of that route.

  2. The value used to generate a route is not necessary to create the route

For example, this is how we create the article route (typically inside the forEvery block):

let r = Route_Article "hello.md"

Note that we are able to create a route without the value used to generate it, i.e., the Markdown content (point 2). This route is of type Route Pandoc, which means a ~ Pandoc. Therefore, wherever we pass this route - when we pass the value associated with it, it must be of the type Pandoc (point 1). The renderPage function which renders the HTML of a route is defined to take both the route and its value as an argument:

renderPage :: Route a -> a -> Html ()

The renderPage function is thus polymorphic in the route it handles. It can render a common HTML layout, and case on the route value passed to render content to specific to routes. The author finds this way of rendering HTML to be much more ergonomic and pleasant compared to the various templating systems of other static site generators.

Customizing route paths

Once your route type is defined, you may specify the file paths for each of them. To do this, simply derive an instance for the IsRoute class:

instance IsRoute Route where
  routeFile = \case
    Route_Home ->
      pure "index.html"
    Route_Article srcPath ->
      pure $ "article" </> srcPath -<.> ".html"

Notice how in order to calculate the file path of a route, you only need the route (Route a), but not the data (a) used to generate it.

The arguments your route constructors take are meant to be used in the calculation of this file path. For example, the FilePath argument of the Route_Article constructor specifies the source path of the Markdown document, from which we compute the target (generated) path by simply replacing the extension with “.html” (in addition to putting it in a sub directory “article”).

Generating a route

Rib.Route.writeRoute takes a route, a string and writes that string to the file path associated with the route. You will use this in your Shake Action monad, typically inside a forEvery block.

Route URLs

Once routes are fully defined as above, it becomes very straightforward to use them when linking in your HTML. The Rib.routeUrl function takes a route (Route a) and returns the URL to that route.

You will pass your routes to whichever function (renderPage is principle among them) that needs to know the URL to your generated files, as long as they remain polymorphic in the route type.

See also