How To Schedule Posts for Static Site Generators (Jekyll, Hugo, Phenomic etc.)

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Like many static sites we use Markdown + GitHub for all of our blog content.

Having content under version control comes with some great benefits:

  • It's open - Anyone can submit/update content and fix typos via pull requests
  • Version control - Roll back & see the history of any given post
  • No CMS lock in - We can easily port to any static site generator
  • It's just simple - No user accounts to manage, no CMS software to upgrade, no plugins to install.

All that said, there are some missing features when it comes to running your site or blog via a static site generator.

Lacking the ability to schedule posts to publish at a specific time is a pain. Publishing content to our static site and blog has been a manual process.

We had to physically be at our keyboards and click the "merge" button in GitHub.

How antiquated...

So I thought to myself:

There has got to be a better way... a better serverless way.

  • David's brain

#Introducing the Post Scheduler for Static Websites

The post scheduler is a Serverless project that gives static site owners the ability to schedule posts (or other site content).

It works with any static site setup (Jekyll, Hugo, Phenomic, Gatsby etc.)

How much does it cost?:

It's free and open source project. You can easily run under this under the generous free tier of AWS.

Just clone it down, add in your repo details and sls deploy it into your AWS account.

Before:

Late night manual merges 🙈

After:

Sipping margaritas on the beach while posts are being published automatically. 🎉

#Show Me The 💸 (Demo)

Watch the rest of the playlist on youtube

#How It Works

  1. A GitHub webhook fires when a pull request (aka new posts or site content) is updated.

  2. If the pull request comment has a comment matching schedule(MM/DD/YYYY H:MM pm) & the person is a collaborator on the project, the post/content gets scheduled for you.

  3. A serverless cron job runs every hour to check if a post is ready to be published.

  4. When the post is ready to be published, the cron function automatically merges the branch into master and your site, if you have CI/CD built in, will redeploy itself.

To cancel scheduled posts, delete the scheduled comment and it will unschedule the branch.

#Github Webhook Architecture

cloudcraft - post scheduler webhook

#Cron Job Architecture

cloudcraft - post scheduler cron setup

#How to Install

#1. Clone down the repository and run npm install to install the dependencies

#2. Duplicate config.prod.example.json into a new file called config.prod.json and insert your Github username, API token, and webhook secret

// config.prod.json
{
  "serviceName": "blog-scheduler",
  "region": "us-west-2",
  "TIMEZONE": "America/Los_Angeles",
  "CRON": "cron(0 * * * ? *)",
  "GITHUB_REPO": "serverless/blog",
  "GITHUB_WEBHOOK_SECRET": "YOUR_GITHUB_WEBHOOK_SECRET_HERE",
  "GITHUB_API_TOKEN": "YOUR_GITHUB_API_TOKEN_HERE",
  "GITHUB_USERNAME": "YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME_HERE"
}
  • serviceName - name of the service that will appear in your AWS account
  • region - AWS region to deploy the functions and database in
  • TIMEZONE - Timezone the cron runs on. See timezone.json for available options
  • CRON - How often you want to check for scheduled posts? See the AWS cron docs or serverless schedule docs for more information. Default: every hour on the hour
  • GITHUB_REPO - The owner/repoName of your repository
  • GITHUB_WEBHOOK_SECRET - Any string you want. This gets plugged into your webhook settings
  • GITHUB_API_TOKEN - Personal access token. See below for additonal info
  • GITHUB_USERNAME - Your github username. Used for requests to github

#3. Deploy the service with serverless deploy. If you need to setup Serverless, please see these install instructions.

#4. Take the POST endpoint returned from deploy and plug it into your repositories settings in github

image

  1. Add your GitHub webhook listener URL into the Payload URL and choose type application/json

  2. Plugin your GITHUB_WEBHOOK_SECRET defined in your config file

  3. Select which GitHub events will trigger your webhook

  4. Select Issue comments, these will be where you insert schedule(MM/DD/YYYY H:MM pm) comments in a given PR

#5. Submit a PR and give it a go!

#Contributions Welcome

Have an idea on how we can improve the static site post scheduler?

Leave us a comment below, submit a PR, or tweet @DavidWells

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About David Wells

David is a Full Stack JavaScript Developer, entrepreneur, past life marketer. Developer @ http://serverless.com

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