A blog is a diary-style collection of text entries, called posts. More recent posts appear first. Blog post content is sometimes more informal than the rest of the website.

To make blog creation quick, Sparkle automates some things:

  • when adding a blog post you go straight to editing the post;
  • a site section will contain the blog index and all posts;
  • you compose a post per page, and Sparkle updates the index for you;
  • your website exposes a machine-readable version of the index (an RSS feed) containing the post content or summary, which makes it simple for feed readers (such as Reeder and NetNewsWire) to subscribe to updates from your blog.

You add a blog to your site by adding the first blog post, which is done via the "Blog" toolbar item. This takes you straight to editing the body of the post.

To publish the post, and the associated rss feed, you publish the whole site as you normally do.

If you already have blog posts and want to add another one in a similar style, consider duplicating an existing post, to preserve layout and formatting.

Sparkle has a few constructs that bring together the blog feature:

  • the blog index page;
  • the blog index element;
  • the blog pagination element;
  • the post pages;
  • blog-specific smart fields;
  • full post and summary variants of blog post pages.

The blog index page

The blog index page will be the first page in a newly created site section, when you first add a blog to your site. It is an otherwise normal page that can be edited like any other page.

The index page always contains a blog index element and a pagination element. These reference the posts in the blog-specific site section.

The blog index element

The index element is automatically constructed from the content of the post pages. In the canvas it will look like the contents of the posts, one after the other.

The index intelligently extracts the main text of each post, removing page header and footer. Or if the post page contains a summary version, that’s used instead.

The index will sort pages in reverse-chronological order (the most recent is shown first), based on the post date. The post date is set in the page settings of each post.

You can configure the index element by setting how many posts to show, and the spacing between posts.

The machine-readable version of the index (RSS feed) will contain the text (or summary) of all posts, regardless of the “posts per page” setting.

The blog pagination element

The pagination element helps site visitors switch between sets of posts in the index element, when the blog contains more posts than the “posts per page” setting. For example if the blog contains 30 posts, and 5 posts per page are configured, the pagination will show 6 index pages.

The blog post pages

A blog post page is almost like a regular page, but it adds information about the author and posting date, which are mandatory in the machine-readable (RSS feed) version of the blog.

The header and footer are not considered content and will not end up in the index. You can also exclude an element from the index via the “Show on blog index” option in the arrange inspector.

A draft blog post page can be excluded from the blog index by setting the “Exclude From Publishing” checkbox.

Blog-specific smart fields

Blog posts by default incorporate some of the page metadata into posts, by using specific smart fields.

The page title, blog post author and post date can be incorporated into the blog post.

The reason they are broken out of the page and into the page settings is so they can be repurposed for use in the index generation and in the machine-readable (RSS feed) version of the blog.

Full post and summary variants of blog post pages

When Sparkle produces the index, by default it incorporates the full text of posts, and any other element you have added to blog post pages. 

If you don’t want the full post text in the index, or want to customize the look of it, Sparkle lets you customize the “summary” view of the post, via the “Customize Index/RSS Summary” action. This allows for very custom layouts and text. Unlike device layouts, which share the vast majority of the content and can differ in style, the custom summary blog post is entirely separate, you are expected to delete anything that is not going into the index, including summarizing text, removing elements and even adding new ones, like say a “More…” button linking back to the post.

With a custom page summary, the summary text is also used instead of the full text in the RSS feed.

Updated for Sparkle 3.1

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All in a powerful native Mac app. 

Nothing else comes close.

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