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Shttr CLI

About Shttr CLI

Shttr CLI is the main command line interface for managing Shttr apps. It handles creating apps, creating and removing pages, managing build-time and runtime NodeJS dependencies, running the development server, and debugging and deploying apps. It also manages your installed Shell on the Shttr runtime.

Creating Apps

shttr n shttr new shttr n app_name shttr n app_name --bootstrap shttr n app_name --tailwind shttr n app_name --empty

Running shttr n, or shttr new will create a new Shell on the Shttr project. It takes the app name as an argument, and optionally takes a framework specifier after the app name. By default, running shttr n test_app will create a Shttr project called "test_app" populated with the default test site. This is the recommended way to get started, as you can immediately run the test server to confirm that it's all working. Optionally, you can run shttr n test_app --boostrap or shttr n test_app --tailwind to generate empty projects preconfigured to use Bootstrap or TailwindCSS respectively. You also have the option to run shttr n test_app --empty to generate an entirely empty project with no pages and no preconfigured frontend frameworks. Shttr CLI also initializes all new apps as git repos.

Generating Assets

shttr g page page_name shttr generate page page_name

You can use shttr g or shttr generate to generate assets for your app. Currently, there is only one supported generator, the page generator. You would run shttr g page [page name] to generate a new page with your selected name. This creates the proper entrypoint script in cgi-bin, a barebones controller, a blank model, and a barebones view for your page. If Shttr CLI finds a nav.html file in your shared views, that file will be included in your new page's view underneath app.html.

Deleting Assets

shttr r page page_name shttr remove page page_name

The opposite of the generator, shttr r or shttr remove deletes assets from your app. Much like the generator, it only supports pages at the moment. Running shttr r page [page name] would remove the entrypoint, controller, model, and view associated with the page name supplied.

Compiling Static Assets

shttr c shttr compile

Running shttr c or shttr compile will compile all stylesheets down to one css file named with a checksum that will get automatically loaded by each page in your app. It also ensures that all runtime NodeJS dependencies are installed and updated correctly. Because Shttr supports sass as well as css, and because the sass compiler is slow, the compile step is not run by default on every deploy or server operation. You should really only run the compile step if you've recently updated your stylesheets.

Managing Runtime NodeJS Dependencies

shttr npm i shttr npm i node_package shttr npm uninstall node_package

Your app's runtime NodeJS dependencies are handled by using shttr npm. This supports any standard npm command, and ensures that all NodeJS packages are installed into the proper app directory. For example, shttr npm i @domchristie/turn would install the Turn javascript library into your app as a runtime dependency, and shttr npm uninstall @domchristie/turn would remove it.

Running the Server

shttr s shttr server shttr s --production

You can use shttr s or shttr server to run the Shttr server. This will build a Docker image and then run the integrated Apache web server, which can be accessed at localhost:3000. This approach ensures consistency between the development and production environment. The server optionally takes --production as a command line flag, which will run the server in production mode. At the moment, this switch controls whether or not live-reloading is enabled, but once Shttr SQL is released, this switch will also allow for different development and production databases to be used. In development mode, the development files in shttr and cgi-bin are bind-mounted within the Docker container so that any changes you make while the server is running will immediately be reflected in the running server. In production mode, the source files are copied into the Docker image and so the site is read-only while the server is running.

Debugging Pages

shttr debug page_name

The Shttr debugger can be run using shttr debug [page name]. This will create an environment that mimics the CGI environment of the server and runs the page scripts, ultimately outputting the resultant HTML as plain text to teh console. The debugger is also looking for any instances of dbg_break in your scripts. Any occurrence of dbg_break will pause execution at that point and drop you into a shell where any valid shell command is available to you to run at that exact point in the execution of the script. This is useful for inspecting variables at various points in the page's execution, or testing how different functions react to different values without having to edit your source files. Running continue at the debugger shell prompt will resume execution. You can have as many instances of dbg_break as you like, the debugger will simply pause at each one of them as it gets to them.

Deploying Pages

shttr d shttr deploy shttr d -c

In order to deploy your Shttr apps, you'll run shttr d or shttr deploy. Adding the -c flag to the deploy command will run the compile step prior to building the image and deploying. Shttr CLI will read the values in your app's file to determine how to deploy the app. You'll set your deployment target as the value of DEPLOYMENT_TARGET in Currently, there are two supported deployment targets: systemd and static; and one experimental target: aws. The systemd target will deploy your app over SSH to a remote server with Docker installed and register itself as a SystemD service on that server. You'll then need to set up a web server and a reverse proxy to localhost:3000 on the server. This deployment target is very convenient for users of VPS services, since as long as your server already has Docker installed and your reverse proxy is set up, you can deploy your app with a single command.

The static target will compile your app to a static site placed in the static directory in the root of your project. This target doesn't support any of Shttr's dynamic rendering, or features like ShttrDB, but it's very useful for those who want to use Shttr's templating and tooling to build their static site. Sites generated with the static target are suitable for deployment to GitHub Pages, or other such static hosting services.

The aws target produces a zip file which can be deployed to AWS Elastic Beanstalk as a Docker image. This is still a bit experimental because it doesn't yet support features like ShttrDB, so there won't be any option for persistent storage for apps deployed in this way yet.

Updating the System's Shttr Runtime

shttr su

Running shttr su will update your system's current installed Shell on the Shttr runtime by pulling the latest version from the Github repo. This does not affect any already created apps, but the new version will be used for any new apps that are created after updating.

Updating an App's Shttr Runtime

shttr u shttr update

In order to update the Shell on the Shttr runtime for an already created app, you'd run shttr u or shttr update within that app's directory. Be careful doing this, as it is a one-way process, and since Shell on the Shttr is still under heavy development, breaking changes are to be expected. Make sure you understand what's changed in the new Shell on the Shttr runtime and why you need to update before running this command.

Last modified: 22 March 2024