My take on Pelican and Github pages from a beginner's perspective

Posted on December 08, 2016 in Development

Setting up environment:

  1. First we need a pacakge manager to install necessery tools and packages. I chose Homebrew. Install Homebrew package manager and other needed tools for Mac by pasting this command in terminal: /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL" brew install wget

  2. Now, use Homebrew to install python, pip and other related tools. As time of this writing, it will install Python 2.7.12. brew install python

  3. Setup vitutalenv tool to keep python installations separate in their own sandbox: pip install virtualenv

  4. Creating virtualenv for pelican mkdir -p ~/virtualenvs cd ~/virtualenvs virtualenv pelican cd pelican source bin/activate

  5. Install pelican: pip install pelican

  6. Install markdown package: pip install pelican markdown

Setting up github repos:

  1. One repo for source code for blog generator:
  2. One repo for generated html blog contents:

Setting up Blog with Pelican:

  1. Clone github source repo into your local working directory:
git clone githubpages
cd githubpages
  1. Create output directory inside githubpages directory to hold generated html pages to add it as a git submodule: git submodule add output

  2. Setup pelican :

> Where do you want to create your new web site? [.]
> What will be the title of this web site? **Title of your blog**   
> Who will be the author of this web site? **your name**
> What will be the default language of this web site? [en]
> Do you want to specify a URL prefix? e.g.,   (Y/n) Y
> What is your URL prefix? (see above example; no trailing slash)
> Do you want to enable article pagination? (Y/n)
> How many articles per page do you want? [10]
> What is your time zone? [Europe/Paris]    America/Mazatlan
> Do you want to generate a Fabfile/Makefile to automate generation and publishing? (Y/n) Y
> Do you want an auto-reload & simpleHTTP script to assist with theme and site development? (Y/n) Y
> Do you want to upload your website using FTP? (y/N) N
> Do you want to upload your website using SSH? (y/N) N
> Do you want to upload your website using Dropbox? (y/N) N
> Do you want to upload your website using S3? (y/N) N
> Do you want to upload your website using Rackspace Cloud Files? (y/N) N
> Do you want to upload your website using GitHub Pages? (y/N) Y
> Is this your personal page ( (y/N) Y
Error: [Errno 17] File exists: '~/githubpages/content'
Error: [Errno 17] File exists: '~/githubpages/output'
Done. Your new project is available at ~/githubpages

Note: Make DELETE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY = False in to NOT delete output dir, since its a submodule.

Writing your first blog post:

Don't forget to install Markdown package: pip install Markdown. Also, don’t overlook that “.md” files needs meta-data at the beginning of file. Failing to do so, would give error that “NameTile” is failing. Meta data looks like this:

Title: My first title
Date: 2016-12-08 10:20
Modified: 2016-12-08 19:30
Category: Python
Tags: pelican, publishing

Now, write your first blog post by typing in terminal(or your faviorite editor) : vi content/<post-name>.md

Note: you're not required to use '.md' formatting, you can also use .rst formats too.

Build, Commit and Push posts :

Note: if you run into issue that doesn't exist, its because you may not have python environment loaded. You would need to execute this on terminal re-activate environment: source ~/virtualenvs/pelican/bin/activate

  1. To generate HTML contents and start local webserver, type this on terminal: 'make html && make serve`

  2. Generate website using: make publish

  3. Committing to Github: At this point you can add all contents to github. To add submodule in output directory:

cd  output
git add .
git commit -m “Adding my contents”
git push -u origin master
cd ..
echo “*.pyc” >> .gitignore #you can also add this by manually editing .gitignore file
git add .
git commit -m “first commit”
git push -u origin master

Visting your Brand new Blog

You can visit your blog at

Script to publish and push to github repo automatically:

I created script to automate generating html contents and pushing everything to github:

echo "publising changes..."
make html && make publish
echo "pushing code to source repo..."
git add .
git commit -m "$1"
git push origin master
echo "pushing generated website to github"
cd output
git add .
git commit -m "$1"
git push origin master
cd ..

Using this script:

cd githubpages
./ "commit-message"