Balsamine.be web repo

Balsamine rebuild 2017 logo-balsa

Development environment

The new balsamine website is based on Pelican, a static site generator. It's built in Python, and thus, we'll use a virtual environment.

$ virtualenv venv
$ . venv/bin/activate
$ (venv) pip install -r requirements.txt

With these three steps, you should have setup most of the development space needed for this pelican project. Here is what was installed by pip reading requirements.txt:


Running and using pelican

Pelican is a static site generator, built in Python that requires no databases or server-side logic. It expects content in Markdown (or reStructuredText), and handles this content in Jinja2 templates. The documentation for Pelican is well written, it's hosted here: http://docs.getpelican.com/en/stable/

Pelican comes prebuilt with a set of tools to help development and deployment. As it generates a static site, in plain html, we can run the full current website locally during build and development phases. Most of the tools that Pelican ships with are in the Makefile. Most of the configurations are in the file titled pelicanconf.py.

Expected workflow

The tool expects a simple chain of events: writing content, generating the static site, publishing the resulting html files. The structure of the folders here represent that too: writing content happens in the /content/ folder. The html files and assets that get generated all reside in the /output/ folder. When we publish, we're simply copying all the contents of /output/ to it online destination.

Generating html

In it's plainest form, one generates html simply by calling pelican, with no arguments.

$ pelican

If you've changed the default location of the content folder, you can tell pelican to generate from that path as an argument:

$ pelican content

You can also use the Makefile, which would parse all the configs from pelicanconf.py like this:

$ make html

But in the case of development work, a watcher tool exists, which will run the html generation whenever content is updated or added, whenever a template is changed, or whenever the css file is touched. This is the best way to work with pelican locally, you call it from the Makefile:

$ make devserver

The dev server is now also running, so you can visit your website locally at localhost:8000

That should be it to start off.

OSP will most lightly define it's own guidelines for working in templates and css, which will result in other wiki-readme-documents.

Working on the theme

Templates are managed with Jinja2 http://jinja.pocoo.org/

Working on the css

The stylesheets are preprocessed by Compass, and written in Sass. This is subject to change as the project progresses. Installation of Compass deploys as a Ruby Gem:

  • if you don't have Ruby Gems installed ( check by testing gem -v ) install like so:
    • sudo apt-get install rubygems build-essential
  • to install compass run
    • gem update --system
    • gem install compass
  • finally, before you start working on the css, start the compass watcher:
    • cd work.balsamine.www/theme/balsamine/static/balsa-css/
    • compass watch
    • that last command reads the configs written in config.rb, listens for changes in the css files and compiles screen.css to the right location when something is changed