Easy Google/Yahoo! Sitemaps with webby

webby, for those who don’t know, is a brilliant little gem by Time Pease for creating and managing static HTML sites with Ruby. Built as extension to Rake, it allows you to manage your content seperately from your layout, and use a host of filters on your content (textile, haml, erb, etc).

I’ve been loving it so far, and have a host of ideas for extending webby (which will start in due time). We’ve been rebuilding the entire network of inX websites using all kinds of random combinations of Ruby. Between Merb, Rails and Webby we’ve got all our bases covered for the different websites.

Sitemaps in webby

Part of any site optimization experience is providing a sitemap for Google/Yahoo! indexing. This helps the search providers to better understand your content.

Creating a sitemap in Rails & Co is extremely simple, but how do you tackle it if webby?

Well, webby gives us access to a @pages instance variable, which is its own internal “resource database”. Note that I used the term resource database loosely. This allows us to run through all the pages in our site and extract some of their meta-data for use in a generated sitemap.

Create a file called sitemap.xml in the root of your content folder, and paste the following into it:

---
filter: erb
extension: xml
layout: nil
---
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
  <% @pages.find( :all, :sitemap => true ).each do |page| %>
    <url>
      <loc><%= page.url %></loc>
      <lastmod><%= page.mtime.strftime("%Y-%m-%d") %></lastmod>
      <% if page.changefreq %>
      <changefreq><%= page.changefreq %></changefreq>
      <% end %>
      <% if page.priority %>
      <priority><%= page.priority %></priority>
      <% end %>
    </url>
  <% end %>
</urlset>

The sitemap has its own meta, telling webby not to use a layout and keep the xml file extension. For the rest the file uses the @pages resource database to find pages that have been flagged for inclusion in the sitemap.

To add a file to the sitemap you extend the meta information of the page like this:

---
sitemap: true
---

You can also provide a priority to the sitemap like this:

---
sitemap: true
priority: 0.9
---

And even a change frequency:

---
sitemap: true
priority: 0.9
changefeq: weekly
---

If you run a blog you can probably extend the idea for generating RSS or ATOM feeds.

Robots.txt extension

You also add a robots.txt file to the root of your content directory to help the crawlers find the sitemap, here is my copy:

---
filter: erb
extension: txt
layout:
---
Sitemap: /sitemap.xml

Further reading

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Welcome to the Open Sourcery Archives. These are my older blog posts, from days gone by. I'm keeping them up as part of the historical record. That, and I'm strangely sentimental about them. Please keep in mind that things most certainly have changed since these articles were written, links to external sites might be broken, and general thinking might have changed.

Regardless of all this, I hope you enjoy your stay!

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