Estax v1.0 Jan 25 2009
Estax (Easy Static XML) is a minimalist tool for generating static websites. It is especially useful if you want to write a static website containing only a few pages, but don't want to copy and paste menu HTML, and also don't want to use PHP or a full-blown CMS. You write your site content in a single, simple XML file and Estax generates the individual pages from it. Use it for seldomly updated and/or private sites, documentation, or when you have a restrictive web host.

Use Estax if you just want to keep it simple.

Advantages Disadvantages How does it look like?
You actually see how the output of Estax can look like right now, as this website was generated using Estax. A simple example for your site content could look like this:
	title="My Homepage"
	author="Andreas Textor">

		<!-- Each link leads to a page that contains all boxes that
			contain the tag -->
		<link tag="home"/>
		<link tag="code"/>

	<box date="2009-01-24" title="Welcome to my Homepage">
		<!-- This tag makes this box appear on the "home"-page -->
		<tag tag="home"/>
		<!-- Use a special tag to create a separate site containing
			only this box -->
		<tag tag="welcome-to-my-homepage"/>
			Hello World! I added a new program on
			the <link tag="downloads"/> section!
			<!-- Write your regular HTML here -->

	<box date="2009-01-23" title="Hello World">
		<tag tag="code"/>
			This is how Hello World is written in C:<br/>
			<listing language="c">
			int main() {
				println("Hello World\n");
				return 0;
Using this XML, Estax creates three pages: home.xhtml, welcome-to-my-homepage.xhtml (each containing the menu and the first box) and code.xhtml which contains the menu and the second box with the listing. You would extend this page by adding more boxes tagged as "home" or "code". With one more box tagged as "code", code.xhtml would then contain the menu and the two boxes. Therefore, the tags are no(t only) fancy Web-2.0-stuff but are actually used to create the structure of the website. If one page contains more than one box, the date attribute determines the order of the boxes.


See Estax-documentation for details.

Estax Documentation Jan 25 2009
Estax transforms a single XML file with a certain format into a number of XHTML pages. The pages can contain a menu with links to other pages, headers and footers, and a number of "boxes" that represent the content. Each box can have a title and a date and a number of tags that serve two purposes: They describe the content of that box, and they are used to determine which boxes should form a page. Every box with tag XYZ will be included on page XZY, which will be created by Estax as XYZ.xhtml (it is encouraged to always write all tags in lower case though, to avoid problems with broken links).

Your content XML has the following structure:
	<header><!-- HTML --></header>
	<footer><!-- HTML --></header>
		<link tag="sometag"/>
		<link tag="category">
				<link tag="subcategory"/>
				<!-- more links -->
		<!-- more links -->
		<tag tag="sometag"/>
		<!-- more tags -->
			<!-- HTML -->
	<!-- more boxes -->
menu, header and footer are optional, as are the tags in boxes.

You write your page in this format, e.g. site.xml (the name is up to you, it just has to end with .xml), then type "make". Estax generates a directory "site" which contains the generated HTML.

Tag descriptions
XML-Tag Description
site The outermost ("root") tag of the site. This has the following attributes:
  • version - This should be set to the version of Estax you use, e.g. "1.0"
  • description - This is the description that appears in the meta information of your website. Optional
  • keywords - The keywords that appear in the meta information of your website. Optional.
  • stylesheet - The stylesheet to use, e.g. "style.css". Optional
  • codestyle - The name of the style to use for syntax highlighting, e.g. "vim", see section on syntax highlighting. Optional
  • dateformat - The format to use for the box dates. See this link for information about the formatters (scroll down a bit to "format"). The default value is "%Y-%m-%d". Optional
  • title - The title of your page.
  • favicon - The icon that is displayed in the browser, e.g. "mysite.ico". Optional
  • author - The author of this page.
<site> can contain <header>, <menu>, <footer> and <box>es.
header Optional. Has no attributes. Fill this with HTML; it is displayed above the menu.
footer Optional. Has no attributes. Fill this with HTML; it is displayed below the boxes.
menu Optional. Has no attributes. Contains <link>s.
link This has the following attributes:
  • tag - The tag this page should link to, e.g. all boxes with this tag are displayed on the page this link points to.
  • caption - Display the caption instead of the capitalized tag name. Optional
A <link> may contain another <menu>.
box The box is used to represent a unit of content, or a section; boxes can not be nested though. Each box has title and date, some content and an automatically generated tag list. It has the following attributes:
  • title - The title to be displayed for this box. The title is optional, if it is ommited, the date of this box won't be displayed as well. Optional
  • date - The date to displayed for this box. The date has the format YYYY-MM-DD, use dateformat attribute in <site> to format the date as you like. Optional
  • hidetags - Set this to "true" if you don't want a tag list generated for this box. Optional
  • id - If you want the <div> this is generated for the box to have an id (for example to allow for a special CSS formatting of this box), set it using the id attribute. Optional
<box> can contain a number of <tag>s and one <content> that contains your HTML. If you want a message to appear at the top of page, you can use a box with hidetags="true", no title and a date that will alwas be sorted on top (like "3000-01-01" - it won't be displayed without a title, but still be used for sorting the boxes).
tag This has the following attributes:
  • tag - A String that represents this tag. The tag string should be all lowercase and should not contain whitespaces.
A <link> may contain another <menu>.
tagcloud Has no attributes. Creates a cloud of tags that link to the respective pages. If you want a separate tags page, create a box with a content that contains only <tagcloud>.
listing This has the following attributes:
  • language - Determines the language of this listing, for syntax highlighting. See the syntax highlighting section for details. Optional
The <listing> is translated into a <pre> tag, which means that formatting is preserved. The leading tabs that you use to indent the source code in the content XML are removed though, so that the source code in the resulting HTML will have no excess left margin (see the example in the main Estax post. The C source code is nicely indented in the XML, it aligns with the surrounding <listings> tag).
space Has no attributes. Generates a single nonbreakable space in the resulting HTML. Note that if you use a &bsp; directly, this will be not appear as an entity in the HTML but will be evaluated by Estax.

Syntax Highlighting

To get nice syntax highlighting you have to do the following: That's all.

Estax Stylesheets

The easiest way to generate a CSS for an Estax-generated page is to look at the page source. Basically, a <box> becomes a <div>, the <menu> becomes a <div> with the "menu" class and the <link>s within become a <ul>. You can look at the stylesheet of this page to see how it can be written.