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static templating engine

Project description

About this project

This project aims to unify a set of internally produced scripts for generating static content, choosing to standardise on the jinja2 templating engine.

Simply put, this project aims to provide utilities to do the following:

  • Static site generation (for gitlab)

  • Generate customised summary documents based on submissions

  • Generate PDFs from CSV files and templates (mail merges)


The recommended way to develop the tools in the package is to use development mode of, this will create executables in your path which can be used to test changes.

./ develop --user

We’re open to pull requests and feature requests, this should be done via our gitlab server.


The project consits of two executables, j2static, the static site generator and j2merge, the mail merge tool.

j2static executable

j2static builds files stored in a directory named _templates/ using jinja2, generating output documents in site/. The tool will ignore any file that starts with an underscore, allowing for the creation of templates.

j2static can also act as a webserver for local testing. In this mode the server will not generate output documents on disk, but will instead generate and send them to the browser ‘on the fly’. This is useful if you have javascript on your site and don’t want to fall foul of the browser’s security settings when testing with local files.

j2static build # use templates in the _templates/ directory to build the site
j2static serve # start a webserver on localhost (for development)

j2merge executable

j2merge is a ‘mail merge’ tool for combining csv files with a template document this is useful for producing reports or personalised documents. This can be optionally combined with a LaTeX distrubtion to generate PDFs.

j2merge assumes that the csv file provided has headers and contains a row named id which will be used for the resulting filenames. The data for each row will be available in the template as the variable row.

j2merge data.csv # combine data.csv and base.html to generate documents
j2merge data.csv -out pdf # combine data.csv and base.tex to generate pdfs

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