Make a page that lists old articles

Out of the box, Nesta doesn't provide a page that lists all your old blog posts. It is however, easy to add one.

This recipe will walk you through how to add a page to your site at /archives that lists all your blog posts, organised by the year in which they were written.

A dash of Ruby

If you don't already have one, create a file called app.rb in your project's directory, and paste the following code into it (if you do have one, just add the code that follows to your app.rb file).

module Nesta
  class App
    helpers do
      def list_articles(articles)
        haml_tag :ol do
          articles.each do |article|
            haml_tag :li do
              haml_tag :a, article.heading, :href => path_to(article.abspath)

      def article_years
        articles = Page.find_articles
        last, first = articles[0].date.year, articles[-1].date.year

      def archive_by_year
        article_years.each do |year|
          haml_tag :li do
            haml_tag :a, :id => "#{year}"
            haml_tag :h2, year
            haml_tag :ol do
              articles = { |a| == year }

Creating an /archives page

We've just defined a new Ruby method called archive_by_year that we can call from within a page to insert a list of all the articles on the site. Let's create a new file called content/pages/archives.haml and add the following Haml to it:

%h1 Archives

  Here's the full list of all the posts on the blog. I hope you enjoy
  browsing through them...

  - archive_by_year

In case you haven't used it, Haml is a clean and simple way of writing HTML. Nesta will convert Haml to HTML for you when the page is served. Any line in a Haml file that starts with a hyphen will be treated as Ruby, so our archive_by_year method is run and the HTML it produces is inserted inside an <ol> tag.

Before we load the page, let's just add a bit of CSS to style our list of articles. You can style it however you like, but I tend to use something simple like this:

ol.archive {
    list-style: none;

ol.archive ol {
    list-style: disc;

If you've written your own styles for your site you'll no doubt know which file to add those styles to. If you're using the standard theme you'll be able to add it to a file called views/local.scss and it'll be loaded automatically.

If you fire up a local web server (e.g. with mr-sparkle) you should be able to see a list of all your blog posts at /archives.

Adding navigation links

To make it easier for people to browse your archives you could add a few links to the sidebar. I'm assuming you're using the standard theme here; you may need to adapt the code that follows so that it works with your site's design, but you'll get the idea.

First, create a template that will render a list of links to the years in which we've published articles. Put this Haml in views/years.haml:

  %h1 Articles by year
    - article_years.each do |year|
      %a{ :href => "/archives##{year}" }= year

Let's style it with this CSS (add it to local.scss again, or wherever you put your CSS for styling the /archives page):

nav.archive ol {
    list-style: none;

Now you just need to render the years.haml template in a suitable place in your sidebar. If you're using a theme that has a sidebar.haml template you can copy the sidebar.haml file to your views folder, and edit it so it looks something like this:

  = haml :categories, :layout => false
  = haml :years, :layout => false

If you're not sure where to find a sidebar.haml file, these commands may help (run them from within your site's folder):

$ ls `bundle show nesta`/views
$ mkdir -p views
$ cp `bundle show nesta`/views/sidebar.haml views