Using Cassius (Shakespearean template) with Hakyll

As a user of the Yesod framework, I’ve come to know and love the Cassius CSS templating language, although its reliance on Template Haskell is meant to fit better with Yesod’s needs and makes it a bit cumbersome to use everywhere else, I still like the templating language itself and its features a lot. That’s why I used it for styles generation in Silly Bytes together with Hakyll. In this post I will describe the process.

Cassius files

Our .cassius files will live inside the css directory, together with a Gen.hs Haskell module that will take the Cassius sources and compile them to CSS:

{-# LANGUAGE TemplateHaskell #-}

module Gen where

import Text.Cassius
import Data.Text.Lazy (unpack)

main :: IO ()
main = do
    writeFile "default.css" $ unpack $ renderCss def
    writeFile "post.css" $ unpack $ renderCss post
    writeFile "post-list.css" $ unpack $ renderCss postList

def = $(cassiusFile "default.cassius") ()
post = $(cassiusFile "post.cassius") ()
postList = $(cassiusFile "post-list.cassius") ()

This module, when executed (runhaskell Gen.hs), will compile the Cassius sources default.cassius, post.cassius and post-list.cassius to the corresponding CSS files that the -untouched- CSS rule in site.hs will take and use in the generated site.


The Cassius compilation doesn’t happen when we stack exec site build, as we haven’t defined a rule, nor a compiler for them in site.hs and we won’t, because the Template Haskell requirements mess things up.

So instead we are going to have a Makefile that will watch for changes in all the css/*.cassius files and perform the recompilation by executing Gen.hs:

.PHONY: build test css

build: css
    stack build
	stack exec site rebuild

	cd css && stack runhaskell Gen.hs

	while true; do make css; inotifywait -qre close_write css/*.cassius; done

This way, we can execute make watch and it will recompile the Cassius files when needed. A normal stack exec site watch can be running alongside to take care of everything else.