Memetica: A Document Publisher

Memetica is a static site generator much like Jekyll. It is only focused on taking a combination of markdown content and CSS. It gives users a series of opportunities to transform that content in any way they wish, then it presents that content wherever the user tells it to.

For the sake of simplicity, nearly everything here is connected through standard POSIX-style Streams.

Technologies used: Node.js, standard UNIX scripting, CSS

For licenses, see

Build Status

Why Memetica?

I originally built Memetica as a reaction to exposure to a complicated system intended to let people build flexible columnar UIs centered around text.

I knew I could do better, so I started building a small, balanced, rule-driven system, expressed in CSS, and filled it with different kinds of content. The content drove the rules and the rules drove the content a bit further, and so on.

The particular details for the styling and markdown parsing, mentioned below, emerged out of me using the system to publish

The Sidebar is activated by interacting with the colored slab on the top left of the screen.


As little as possible. There are a handful of core notions here: headings, columns, rulers, and most of the typographic constructs you see in print.

The default layout is columnar and responsive.

Styles are painted dynamically. In the default layout, the style can be changed via the sidebar.

Color schemes should be built to be legible, as written in the WCAG Specification, for AA Large text or better (so at least 3.00 contrast ratio).

By design, each style/theme is very small, measuring in hundreds of bytes. The average size of a style is ~500 bytes. This keeps things fast.

Markdown Parsing

The Markdown-handling responsibilities are mostly performed by Pandoc, the most excellent Haskell library ever.

I added the notion of a “column” token (|||) into Markdown for Memetica. The reliance on stdin/stdout enables a user to plug in anywhere and transform content (e.g. to detect something that a markdown parser doesn’t understand, like columns, and turn them into something that the parser understands).

Additionally, the architecture of the system allows for the possibility of entirely different Markdown parsers to be used in different places for interesting results or performance improvements.

Additional Possibilities

You could publish a book and style it with CSS. This isn’t unique to Memetica, but I’m not going to stand here and tell you that you can’t do it.

For testing, npm run test, but also see test/

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