Since I started this blog I've been using a sketchy method to add the necessary YAML headers to exported Org-mode files for Jekyll. It's a pain, and I screwed it up yesterday and discovered that the titles for previous blog posts weren't always proper. The reason for that is the titles were based on the file names, and those don't contain all the proper capitalization and punctuation. Poka-yoke dictates that I must now create either guardrails or automation to prevent me from screwing this up in future, and also use this as an opportunity to learn something.

Org-mode has many backends that export to different formats, but it also allows backends to derive from other backends. This blog had been using the HTML backend. What I'd like to have is an exporter that allows me to have custom export options translated into a YAML header for use by Jekyll, with defaults. For example:

#+TITLE: Org Export Jekyll Backend

And the output written to the fASCIIsm Jekyll repository would be:

title:  "Org Export Jekyll Backend"
layout: post

Reading through the documentation, I discovered the following variable that does exactly what I want:

org-export-options-alist is a variable defined in ‘ox.el’.

Alist between export properties and ways to set them.

The key of the alist is the property name, and the value is a list

KEYWORD is a string representing a buffer keyword, or nil. Each
  property defined this way can also be set, during subtree
  export, through a headline property named after the keyword
  with the "EXPORT_" prefix (i.e. DATE keyword and EXPORTDATE
OPTION is a string that could be found in an #+OPTIONS: line.
DEFAULT is the default value for the property.
BEHAVIOR determines how Org should handle multiple keywords for
  the same property. It is a symbol among:
  nil Keep old value and discard the new one.
  t Replace old value with the new one.

The documentation for this variable also notes that #+TITLE is already defined for all exporters, meaning we only need to define #+LAYOUT and give it our desired default.

The template hook in the translate-alist defined the final output function of an exporter. By redefining this, while leaving all other hooks alone, we cause the exporter to fall back to using the HTML backend for everything except the final output.

(require 'org)
(require 'ox-publish)

(org-export-define-derived-backend 'jekyll 'html
  '((nil "LAYOUT" "post" t))
  '((template . org-jekyll-template)))

Next, I stole liberated borrowed blindly copied took inspiration from the template functions in org-mode/lisp/ox-beamer.el and org-mode/contrib/lisp/ox-confluence.el to produce a function that outputs the HTMLified content with a YAML header in front:

(defun org-jekyll-template (contents info)
  (let ((title (org-export-data (plist-get info :title) info))
        (layout (org-export-data (plist-get info :layout) info)))
    (concat "---\n"
            (format "title:  \"%s\"\n" title)
            (format "layout: post\n" layout)

Since testing is good I took another function from org-mode/contrib/lisp/ox-confluence.el:

(defun org-jekyll-export-as-jekyll (&optional async subtreep visible-only body-only ext-plist)
  "Export current buffer to a text buffer.

For information on arguments, see `org-export-to-buffer'."
  (org-export-to-buffer 'jekyll "*org JEKYLL Export*"
    async subtreep visible-only body-only ext-plist (lambda () (text-mode))))

Running this function via M-x org-export-jekyll-as-jekyll, this blog post/config file renders:

title:  "Org Export Jekyll Backend"
layout: post

Since I started this blog I've been using a...

Exporting to buffers is good for testing, but exporting to files is necessary for the project interface.

(defun org-jekyll-publish-to-jekyll (plist filename pub-dir)
  "Publish an org file to Jekyll.

For information on arguments, see `org-publish-org-to'."
  (org-publish-org-to 'jekyll filename ".html" plist pub-dir))

Finally, I need to get the Org-mode project reconfigured to use our new exporter. Going back to our previous setup and copying and editing the project's declaration is easier than altering the existing declaration. We can also fix a long-standing goof about the location of images.

(provide 'ox-jekyll)

;; Set up blog for export as an Org-mode project.
(setq org-publish-project-alist
         :base-directory "~/.emacs.d/"
         :base-extension "org"
         :publishing-directory "~/src/fasciism/_posts/"
         :publishing-function org-jekyll-publish-to-jekyll)
         :base-directory "~/.emacs.d/images/"
         :base-extension "gif\\|jpg\\|png\\|svg"
         :publishing-directory "~/src/fasciism/img/"
         :publishing-function org-publish-attachment)
         :components ("fasciism-posts" "fasciism-images"))))

Now I can use C-c C-e to access the Org Export Dispatcher to export either this post or this whole blog.