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Listing posts in Eleventy when you publish offsite

I write a lot, and a lot of my writing is published on other sites. One of the functions of my site is to serve as an archive, so I can keep track of what I’ve done where.

Eleventy is good at a lot of things, and one of those things is getting a blog up and running quickly and without a lot of fuss. Many starter projects include template logic for taking posts and listing them in chronological order, a feature that is table stakes for any blog.

The wrinkle is the template logic for looping through a list of posts expects them to also be hosted on the blog. To co-mingle external posts takes a little extra work. Here’s what I did:

1. Install eleventy-navigation

eleventy-navigation is an official Eleventy plugin that adds support for structured, hierarchical navigation metadata. It’s a great plugin, and I encourage adding it to every Eleventy project.

2. Add eleventy-navigation front matter to your posts

This front matter addition will make manipulating post data a lot easier going forward:

key: {{ title }}
parent: {{ category }}

3. Create posts for each of your external posts

This one might take some work, but getting your house in order means you have a solid foundation build from. The post content should be:

title: "Post title"
date: yyyy-mm-dd
key: {{ title }}
parent: {{ category }}
url: post-url
permalink: false

Make sure these posts are placed in the same directory you store the rest of your on-site posts in.

Here, title is the title of your external post, date is the date it was posted, and url is the URL of where it is posted. The other important bit is permalink: false, which will keep Eleventy from trying to render this post data as a web page.

Doing this will codify your post information inside of Eleventy, and give you all the necessary info to do things with it.

4. Update your post listing logic

The implementation of this will vary based on if you use a starting project and the method they use. Here’s a simplified version of what I used:

style="counter-reset: start-from {{ (postslistCounter or postslist.length) + 1 }}">

{% for post in postslist | reverse %}
<a href="
{% if == false %}
{{ }}
{% else %}
{{ post.url | url }}
{% endif %}"

{{ }}
{% endfor %}

This will generate a co-mingled ordered list of on and offsite posts in chronological order of posting. Of note is the use of the ol element’s oft-overlooked reversed attribute.

It’s a relatively straightforward if/else statement, but that’s sort of the point. Additions to this could include:

I continue to be impressed by Eleventy’s minimal-yet-powerful approach to handling data. The fact that the bulk of my time was spent corralling my posts, and not configuring a teetering pile of convoluted homegrown logic to display them is not lost on me.