Homepage and Static Pages

Create your Orchid site's first pages and learn how Orchid processes files.

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Introduction

In the previous tutorial, we learned about how to create a new Orchid project and how to start it from the command line. In this tutorial we will start to add our first content to our homepage and learn about the most basic, but one of the most flexible plugins: Static Pages.

Before continuing, make sure you have followed along with the first tutorial and have started your local Orchid server with gradle orchidServe. We will be building on that example in this tutorial.

You can follow along with this tutorial on your own, or find the source for this in the OrchidTutorials repository.

Your Homepage

Looking at your first Orchid site, you'll notice that it is a bit plain. It's just an empty page with no menus, no content, nothing interesting at all. But let's change that!

Every Orchid site includes a Homepage. This is first page that visitors will see when they go to the root of your website, and is always created even if you don't include any other plugins in your Orchid build. Let's start by adding a new file in your project at src/orchid/resources/homepage.md and adding the following content to it.

## Hello, Orchid

> You are beautiful, and so is your website.

Let's build something _beautiful and unique_, **together**.

There we go, that's looking a bit better. We now have a Markdown file, and whatever you write in that file will be automatically converted to HTML and embedded inside your theme.

But this file doesn't have to be Markdown. Orchid knows a lot of different languages, and you are free to use something else if you wish, such as Asciidoc. By changing the file extension from .md to .ad, you will instruct Orchid to process this file as Asciidoc rather than Markdown.

Let's do that now. Rename src/orchid/resources/homepage.md to src/orchid/resources/homepage.ad and change its contents to the equivalent in Asciidoc.

== Hello, Orchid

____
You are beautiful, and so is your website.
____

Let's build something _beautiful and unique_, *together*.

Adding Static Pages

Example: Small Business

Having a homepage on your site is great and all, but you've probably got a lot more content that you want to show. There are many ways you can add additional pages to your Orchid site, but the easiest way is with the Static Pages plugin.

Let's say you are running a small business which has multiple locations throughout Texas: one in Houston, one in Dallas, and one in Austin. Each location should have its own page which lists its name, address, phone number, and business hours. You want these pages to be in your website at /locations/{locationName}, and also to have an "index" page showing all locations so each one can be easily located. So you want your site to have the following pages:

  • /
  • /locations
  • /locations/houston
  • /locations/dallas
  • /locations/austin

Let's see how we can use the Static Pages plugin to make this site.

Adding Location Pages

We already have our Homepage set up at /, so let's go ahead and set up our Houston location page first. We'll start by making a new file at src/orchid/resources/pages/locations/houston.md. This file works just the same as your Homepage's file. You can write whatever content you want inside it, and it will be converted to HTML and embedded inside your theme for you. Also, just like the Homepage, you can change its file extension to have Orchid process it as another language, if desired.

So let's add the following content to src/orchid/resources/pages/locations/houston.md.

 1 ## Location
 2 
 3 Houston, TX
 4 
 5 ## Address
 6  
 7 1234, Example Dr.
 8 Houston, TX, 12345
 9 
10 ## Phone
11 
12 (123) 456-7890
13 
14 ## Business Hours
15 
16 M-F: 6am - 9pm
17 Sa: 6am - 10pm
18 Su: Closed

While we're at it, lets go ahead and do similar things for our Dallas and Austin locations as well. Copy the houston.md file to dallas.md and austin.md, change the content inside these files, and in just a moment Orchid will have rebuilt your site and included these new pages for us.

You can now view the pages for each business location at http://localhost:8080/locations/houston, http://localhost:8080/locations/dallas, and http://localhost:8080/locations/austin!

Adding Location Index Page

Now that we have a unique page for each of our locations, lets go ahead and create an index page which lists all of our individual locations. As you may have already guessed, we need to create a new file at src/orchid/resources/pages/locations.md, and add the content in there. This is because the Static Pages plugin works by taking all files in your src/orchid/resources/pages/ directory, and copies them into your final site at that same path.

However, if we were to build a really large site with static pages, it might get a bit confusing having the locations index page in a different folder from the rest of the locations pages. So lets actually move src/orchid/resources/pages/locations.md to src/orchid/resources/pages/locations/index.md. The Static Pages plugin will copy any file over directly, but for files named index, it will keep them at the root of that folder, rather than making a sub-page in that folder. So src/orchid/resources/pages/locations/index.md will become /locations instead of /locations/index like the other-named pages would.

We need to get this site out fast so we can start getting people visiting all locations, so let's just hardcode links to each page for now. Add the following to locations/index.md:

## Our Locations

- [Houston](http://localhost:8080/locations/houston)
- [Dallas](http://localhost:8080/locations/dallas)
- [Austin](http://localhost:8080/locations/austin)

Conclusion

Your Orchid site is starting to look pretty good, but lets review what we did:

  1. Orchid keeps most of its files in src/orchid/resources/. One special file in that folder, homepage.md can be added so that Orchid can build its front page with it.
  2. You can add any files you want to src/orchid/resources/pages, and Orchid will copy them over to your final site in that same structure. You can also name special files here index, and they will be kept at the index of that folder in the final site rather than in a sub-directory named index, which can be used to create special landing pages.
  3. The homepage and all static pages are processed based on their file extension. Use the .md extension to process the file as Markdown, and .ad to process it as Asciidoc. In fact, you'll find that any page from any plugin will be processed in a similar manner, so that using all plugins will feel very similar.

Stay tuned for more tutorials on how to use Orchid. In the next tutorial, I will show you how to improve this small business by making the links dynamic, and also adding breadcrumbs and a customizing the locations page content to improve consistency across your site and make it easier to navigate.