Hakyll's functionField

By Beerend Lauwers


Hakyll’s functionField function is not documented anywhere, but it is pretty neat. Let’s say you have this in a Hakyll template somewhere:


That will get parsed as a function call to a Context a that expects one or more String arguments. We can define such a Context a with functionField:

functionField :: String -> ([String] -> Item a -> Compiler String) -> Context a


Here’s a very simple example I used:

postCtx :: Context String
postCtx = functionField "testing" (\args _ -> error $ show args) <> defaultContext

Putting the snippet below in a template and running it:



[ERROR] ["hello","test"]

Even better is that we can also pass other contexts:



[ERROR] ["hello","test","Hakyll's functionField"]

In fact, we can pass in functions as well:



[ERROR] ["hi"]

Unfortunately, that’s all we can do, because of the recursive call to applyExpr in the template processing module:

    applyExpr :: TemplateExpr -> Compiler ContextField

    applyExpr (Ident (TemplateKey k)) = context' k [] x

    applyExpr (Call (TemplateKey k) args) = do
        args' <- mapM (\e -> applyExpr e >>= getString e) args
        context' k args' x

    applyExpr (StringLiteral s) = return (StringField s)


functionField allows us to introduce a custom processing function into our templates. For example, I want to relativize a URL in some JavaScript code, and the relativizeURLs function only focuses on specific tag attributes in HTML code.

With functionField, I’m able to expose that functionality everywhere:

relativizeUrl :: Context a
relativizeUrl = functionField "relativizeUrl" $ \args item ->
    case args of
        [k] -> do   route <- getRoute $ itemIdentifier item
                    return $ case route of
                        Nothing -> k
                        Just r -> rel k (toSiteRoot r)
        _   -> fail "relativizeUrl only needs a single argument"
        isRel x = "/" `L.isPrefixOf` x && not ("//" `L.isPrefixOf` x)
        rel x root = if isRel x then root ++ x else x
-- Add the functionality to our default context
postCtx :: Context String
postCtx = relativizeUrl <> defaultContext

Calling $relativizeUrl("/a/b/c/d")$ then results in a relativized URL in the compiled document. This function is available in my hakyll-extra package on Github.