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How to Serve JSON or XML Data in Ghost

How to serve static JSON, XML or text data from your Ghost theme, with custom routes and template files.

Norbert
Norbert4 min read

Ghost CMS is a popular content management system that is widely used for creating and managing dynamic content such as blog posts or articles. However, not many people know that it can also be used to serve static XML or JSON data. In this blog post, we'll explore the process of using Ghost CMS to serve static XML or JSON data and why it can be a useful solution for certain use cases.

What is static XML/JSON data?

Before we dive into how to use Ghost CMS to serve static XML or JSON data, it's important to first understand what static XML or JSON data is. Simply put, XML and JSON are data exchange formats used to represent data in a structured manner. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, while JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation.

Static XML or JSON data refers to data that is stored in a file on a server and is not dynamically generated based on user interactions or other factors. Static data is generally used for displaying information that doesn't change frequently, such as contact information, product descriptions, or a list of events.

Why use Ghost CMS to serve static XML/JSON data?

So, why would you use Ghost CMS to serve static XML or JSON data instead of other solutions like a simple HTML file or a dedicated API? Here are some potential reasons:

  • Easy to manage: If you're already using Ghost CMS to manage your website or blog, it can be convenient to also use it to manage your static data. This way, you can have all of your content in one place and use Ghost's built-in tools to manage it.

  • Built-in routing: Ghost CMS has a built-in routing system that makes it easy to create custom routes for your static data. This means you can create SEO-friendly URLs for your data and make it easy for users to find what they're looking for.

  • Security: Ghost CMS is a secure platform that is regularly updated. By using Ghost to serve your static data, you can take advantage of its security features and protect your data from potential threats.

How to use Ghost CMS to serve static XML/JSON data?

Now that we've covered the potential benefits of using Ghost CMS to serve static XML or JSON data, let's dive into how to actually do it. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Create a new custom route.

In Ghost CMS, you can create a new custom route by editing the routes.yaml file, that is where all current routes are defined. You can download your current file from Settings > Labs

To create a new one, add a new entry under routes:, for example for a route /json/ add the following:

routes:
  /json/:
    template: json-template
    content_type: application/json

The route URL can be anything, what's important here is the content_type, in our case application/json, but you can define other types as well, such as text/xml for XML data or text/plain for simple text files.

Also the template is important, that will be used to manage your data.

  1. Create a new template file.

In the above example, we are referencing a template file called json-template, which means you have to create a file called json-template.hbs in the root directory of the theme.

  1. Add your data to the template file.

Now you can add your data to the file, here's a sample json:

{
  "firstName": "John",
  "lastName": "Smith",
  "isAlive": true,
  "age": 27,
  "address": {
    "streetAddress": "21 2nd Street",
    "city": "New York",
    "state": "NY",
    "postalCode": "10021-3100"
  }
}
  1. Test your route.

Once you've created your custom route and added a reference to your static data, and also uploaded the new routes, you can test it by visiting the URL that you specified in the route.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while Ghost CMS is primarily designed for managing dynamic content, it can also be used to serve static XML or JSON data. This can be a convenient solution for displaying information that doesn't change frequently, such a JSON file with your products or a structured data set in XML format.

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