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Josef Biehler
Josef Biehler

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Use eleventy to create my static page

Example files: You'll find the example code in the blog post's project directory

This is the second part of this series. In the first I talked about my motivations to revive my old website (link will be added in the next days). Now we need to build the first milestone and this is definitely the HTML that everyone can view in the browser.
I thought a lot about how to do this. For those that just began to code the last one to ten years, I can tell you that today you have the best time ever. Back then there were only a few tutorials, nearly nothing complex with javascript, PHP was very popular and so were PHP based CMS systems.
Nowadays this has changed completely. You have plenty of possibilities to build a website. You can choose whatever JS framework you want. You can host your page, whether you use NodeJS or C# or ... , with very low cost or even for free if you publish your project der an open source license.

Choosing the right thing

Among all those possibilities it is very hard to decide how I should create my website. I already have one that is written with React but completely manually. This is sufficient because that content does not change very often. But I plan to updated the content of the new page every day or at least once per week.
By chance I discovered 11ty a few days ago. It is a static site builder that works with zero config. I hate tools I have to configure very long. In the best case I install it and it works. And yes, 11ty fulfills exactly my expectation!

This are the steps to use eleventy:

  • install it: npm install -D @11ty/eleventy
  • create a npm script:
"scripts": {
    "11ty": "eleventy"
  • create a .md file
  • call npm run 11ty

And after that you will find a directory named _site that contains the HTML code.

NOTE: You also can start a watch task to enable 11ty to automatically observe your .md files. See the sample project files for this blog post.

Display tweets in the page

Let's say we have a file tweets.json that contains a list of tweets and we want to display them. How can we do this? Eleventy sends the markdown files through the liquid template engine so we can use everything we can do in liquid. That means we have control structures and iteration structures as well.

So something like this will do the trick:

{% for tweet in tweets %}
  id: {{ }}
{% endfor %}

Publish a new dynamic collection to liquid

In order to access tweets we must read the file and tell someone that we have a new list of objects.

The reading part is easy:

    const tweetsStr = fs.readFileSync("../preprocessing/twitter/tweets.json").toString();
    const tweets = JSON.parse(tweetsStr);

Eleventy offers a special method that allows you to add new collections. To use this you must create a file named .eleventy.js in the project root (it is a config file) that exports a function whose only parameter is a eleventyConfig object.
On that object you can call addCollection('tweets', tweets). Now you can access it:

{% for t in collections.tweets %}
    {{ }}
{% endfor %}

Note the collections keyword here which is necessary.

Full code of .eleventy.js:

// project/.eleventy.js

const fs = require("fs");

module.exports = function(eleventyConfig) {
  const tweetsStr = fs.readFileSync("./tweets.json").toString();
  const tweets = JSON.parse(tweetsStr);
  eleventyConfig.addCollection("tweets", () => tweets);

  return {
    dir: {
      input: "views",
      output: "dist"


You have learned how easy Eleventy can be setup and how you can utilize Liquid to display a dynamic list.

What's next

Now as we have HTML code, I have to publish it somewhere. In the next article I'll show you how everything can be deployed to a webspace using travis and a FTP server. Hopefully this works, otherwise I must choose another strategy 😅

Found a typo?

As I am not a native English speaker, it is very likely that you will find an error. In this case, feel free to create a pull request here: . Also please open a PR for all other kind of errors.

Do not worry about merge conflicts. I will resolve them on my own.

Top comments (3)

bayuangora profile image
Bayu Angora • Edited

With Hugo, I can excerpt article easily with this parameter ->

{{ .Summary | truncate 80 }}

How to excerpt with Eleventy?

gabbersepp profile image
Josef Biehler


do you use Nunjucks?

Then give this a try:

{% set text = "<b>very</b> very large text" %}

{{ text | striptags(true) | truncate(10) }}


very very...
bayuangora profile image
Bayu Angora • Edited

I use liquid. I follow this tutorial and it works.