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Static site renderer and publisher for Django.

Project description


django-distill is a minimal configuration static site generator and publisher for Django. Most Django versions are supported, however up to date versions are advised including the Django 3.x releases. django-distill as of the 1.7 release only supports Python 3. Python 2 support has been dropped. If you require Python 2 support please pin django-distill to version 1.6 in your requirements.txt or Pipfile. Python 3.6 or above is advised.

django-distill extends existing Django sites with the ability to export fully functional static sites. It is suitable for sites such as blogs that have a mostly static front end but you still want to use a CMS to manage the content.

django-distill iterates over URLs in your Django project using easy to write iterable functions to yield the parameters for whatever pages you want to save as static HTML. These static files can be automatically uploaded to a bucket-style remote container such as Amazon S3 or Googe Cloud Files, or, written to a local directory as a fully working local static version of your project. The site generation, or distillation process, can be easily integrated into CI/CD workflows to auto-deploy static sites on commit. django-distill can be defined as an extension to Django to make Django projects compatible with "Jamstack"-style site architecture.

django-distill plugs directly into the existing Django framework without the need to write custom renderers or other more verbose code. You can also integrate django-distill with existing dynamic sites and just generate static pages for a small subsection of pages rather than the entire site.

For static files on CDNs you can use the following 'cache buster' library to allow for fast static media updates when pushing changes:

There is a complete example site that creates a static blog and uses django-distill with django-cachekiller via continuous deployment on Netlify available here:


Install from pip:

$ pip install django-distill

Add django_distill to your INSTALLED_APPS in your

    # ... other apps here ...

That's it.


django-distill generates static pages and therefore only views which allow GET requests that return an HTTP 200 status code are supported.

It is assumed you are using URI parameters such as /blog/123-abc and not querystring parameters such as /blog?post_id=123&title=abc. Querystring parameters do not make sense for static page generation for obvious reasons.

Additionally With one-off static pages dynamic internationalisation won't work so all files are generated using the LANGUAGE_CODE value in your

Static media files such as images and style sheets are copied from your static media directory defined in STATIC_ROOT. This means that you will want to run ./ collectstatic before you run ./ distill-local if you have made changes to static media. django-distill doesn't chain this request by design, however you can enable it with the --collectstatic argument.


Assuming you have an existing Django project, edit a to include the distill_path function which replaces Django's standard path function and supports the new keyword arguments distill_func and distill_file. The distill_func argument should be provided with a function or callable class that returns an iterable or None. The distill_file argument is entirely optional and allows you to override the URL that would otherwise be generated from the reverse of the URL regex. This allows you to rename URLs like /example to any other name like example.html. As of v0.8 any URIs ending in a slash / are automatically modified to end in /index.html. An example distill setup for a theoretical blogging app would be:

# Replaces the standard django.conf.path, identical syntax
from django_distill import distill_path

# Views and models from a theoretical blogging app
from blog.views import PostIndex, PostView, PostYear
from blog.models import Post

def get_index():
    # The index URI path, '', contains no parameters, named or otherwise.
    # You can simply just return nothing here.
    return None

def get_all_blogposts():
    # This function needs to return an iterable of dictionaries. Dictionaries
    # are required as the URL this distill function is for has named parameters.
    # You can just export a small subset of values here if you wish to
    # limit what pages will be generated.
    for post in Post.objects.all():
        yield {'blog_id': post_id, 'blog_title': post.title}

def get_years():
    # You can also just return an iterable containing static strings if the
    # URL only has one argument and you are using positional URL parameters:
    return (2014, 2015)
    # This is really just shorthand for ((2014,), (2015,))

urlpatterns = (
    # e.g. / the blog index
                 # Note that for paths which have no paramters
                 # distill_func is optional
                 # / is not a valid file name! override it to index.html
    # e.g. /post/123-some-post-title using named parameters
    # e.g. /posts-by-year/2015 using positional parameters

Your site will still function identically with the above changes. Internally the distill_func and distill_file parameters are removed and the URL is passed back to Django for normal processing. This has no runtime performance impact as this happens only once upon starting the application.

If your path has no URI paramters, such as / or /some-static-url you do not have to specify the distill_func paramter if you don't want to. As for paths with no paramters the distill_func always returns None this has is set as the default behaviour for distill_funcs.

You can use the distill_re_path function as well, which replaces the default django.urls.re_path function. Its usage is identical to the above:

from django_distill import distill_re_path

urlpatterns = (

If you are using an older version of Django in the 1.x series you can use the distill_url function instead which replaces the django.conf.urls.url or django.urls.url functions. Its usage is identical to the above:

from django_distill import distill_url

urlpatterns = (

Non-standard status codes

All views rendered by django-distill into static pages must return an HTTP 200 status code. If for any reason you need to render a view which does not return an HTTP 200 status code, for example you also want to statically generate a 404 page which has a view which (correctly) returns an HTTP 404 status code you can use the distill_status_codes optional argument to a view. For example:

from django_distill import distill_url

urlpatterns = (
                distill_status_codes=(200, 404),

The optional distill_status_codes argument accepts a tuple of status codes as integers which are permitted for the view to return without raising an error. By default this is set to (200,) but you can override it if you need to for your site.

Tracking Django's URL function support

django-distill will mirror whatever your installed version of Django supports, therefore at some point the distill_url function will cease working in the future when Django 2.x itself depreciates the django.conf.urls.url and django.urls.url functions. You can use distill_re_path as a drop-in replacement. It is advisable to use distill_path or distill_re_path if you're building a new site now.

The distill-local command

Once you have wrapped the URLs you want to generate statically you can now generate a complete functioning static site with:

$ ./ distill-local [optional /path/to/export/directory]

Under the hood this simply iterates all URLs registered with distill_url and generates the pages for them using parts of the Django testing framework to spoof requests. Once the site pages have been rendered then files from the STATIC_ROOT are copied over. Existing files with the same name are replaced in the target directory and orphan files are deleted.

distill-local supports the following optional arguments:

--collectstatic: Automatically run collectstatic on your site before rendering, this is just a shortcut to save you typing an extra command.

--quiet: Disable all output other than asking confirmation questions.

--force: Assume 'yes' to all confirmation questions.

--exclude-staticfiles: Do not copy any static files at all, only render output from Django views.

Note If any of your views contain a Python error then rendering will fail then the stack trace will be printed to the terminal and the rendering command will exit with a status code of 1.

The distill-publish command

$ ./ distill-publish [optional destination here]

If you have configured at least once publishing destination (see below) you can use the distill-publish command to publish the site to a remote location.

This will perform a full synchronisation, removing any remote files that are no longer present in the generated static site and uploading any new or changed files. The site will be built into a temporary directory locally first when publishing which is deleted once the site has been published. Each file will be checked that it has been published correctly by requesting it via the PUBLIC_URL.

distill-publish supports the following optional arguments:

--collectstatic: Automatically run collectstatic on your site before rendering, this is just a shortcut to save you typing an extra command.

--quiet: Disable all output other than asking confirmation questions.

--force: Assume 'yes' to all confirmation questions.

--exclude-staticfiles: Do not copy any static files at all, only render output from Django views.

Note that this means if you use --force and --quiet that the output directory will have all files not part of the site export deleted without any confirmation.

Note If any of your views contain a Python error then rendering will fail then the stack trace will be printed to the terminal and the rendering command will exit with a status code of 1.

The distill-test-publish command

$ ./ distill-test-publish [optional destination here]

This will connect to your publishing target, authenticate to it, upload a randomly named file, verify it exists on the PUBLIC_URL and then delete it again. Use this to check your publishing settings are correct.

distill-test-publish has no arguments.

Optional configuration settings

You can set the following optional variables:

DISTILL_DIR: string, default directory to export to:

DISTILL_DIR = '/path/to/export/directory'

DISTILL_PUBLISH: dictionary, like Django's settings.DATABASES, supports default:

    'default': {
        ... options ...
    'some-other-target': {
        ... options ...

DISTILL_SKIP_ADMIN_DIRS: bool, defaults to True


Set DISTILL_SKIP_ADMIN_DIRS to False if you want django-distill to also copy over static files in the static/admin directory. Usually, these are not required or desired for statically generated sites. The default behaviour is to skip static admin files.

Publishing targets

You can automatically publish sites to various supported remote targets through backends just like how you can use MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL etc. with Django by changing the backend database engine. Currently the engines supported by django-distill are:

django_distill.backends.amazon_s3: Publish to an Amazon S3 bucket. Requires the Python library boto3 ($ pip install boto3). The bucket must already exist (use the AWS control panel). Options:

'some-s3-container': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_distill.backends.amazon_s3',
    'PUBLIC_URL': 'http://.../',
    'ACCESS_KEY_ID': '...',
    'SECRET_ACCESS_KEY': '...',
    'BUCKET': '...',

django_distill.backends.google_storage: Publish to a Google Cloud Storage bucket. Requires the Python libraries google-api-python-client and google-cloud-storage ($ pip install google-api-python-client google-cloud-storage). The bucket must already exist and be set up to host a public static website (use the Google Cloud control panel). Options:

'some-google-storage-bucket': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_distill.backends.google_storage',
    'PUBLIC_URL': '[]/',
    'JSON_CREDENTIALS': '/path/to/some/credentials.json',
    'BUCKET': '[]',

django_distill.backends.microsoft_azure_storage: Publish to a Microsoft Azure Blob Storage container. Requires the Python library azure-storage-blob ($ pip install azure-storage-blob). The storage account must already exist and be set up to host a public static website (use the Microsoft Azure control panel). Options:

'some-microsoft-storage-account': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_distill.backends.microsoft_azure_storage',
    'PUBLIC_URL': 'https://[storage-account-name]',

Note that each Azure storage account supports one static website using the magic container $web which is where django-distill will attempt to publish your site.


There is a minimal test suite, you can run it by cloing this repository, installing the required dependancies in requirements.txt then execuiting:

# ./


All properly formatted and sensible pull requests, issues and comments are welcome.

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