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Support A/B testing for Pelican

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This is an A/B testing plugin for Pelican. It allows you to encode experiments in your templates and renders the experiment selected by the AB_EXPERIMENT environment variable. ‘control’ is the default experiment name if AB_EXPERIMENT is not specified!

To install:

pip install pelican-ab

Enable the plugin in like this:

PLUGIN_PATHS = ['path/to/pelican-ab']
PLUGINS = ['pelican_ab']

PLUGIN_PATHS can be a path relative to your settings file or an absolute path. Alternatively, if plugins are in an importable path, you can omit PLUGIN_PATHS and list them:

PLUGINS = ['pelican_ab']

or you can import the plugin directly and give the module name instead:

import pelican_ab
PLUGINS = [pelican_ab]

The template syntax is provided by the jinja-ab extension which is automatically loaded:

{% experiment control %}This is the control{% endexperiment %}
{% experiment v1 %}This is version 1{% endexperiment %}

Alternative syntax is also supported:

{% ab control %}This is the control{% endab %}
{% ab v1 %}This is version 1{% endab %}

You can also mix the two tags in a single template:

{% experiment control %}This is the control{% endexperiment %}
{% ab v1 %}This is version 1{% endab %}

Single and double quoted names are also supported!

How to test and publish experiments

For local development use the command:

AB_EXPERIMENT="xy" make regenerate


AB_EXPERIMENT="xy" make html

together with make serve to review the experiments. When you are ready to publish them online use:

rm -rf output/
make github
AB_EXPERIMENT="01" make github
AB_EXPERIMENT="02" make github

See the section about DELETE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY for more info.

Output files

After encoding your experiments into the theme templates you can generate the resulting HTML files like this:

AB_EXPERIMENT="v1" make html

When rendering experiments the resulting HTML files are saved under OUTPUT_PATH plus the experiment name. For example ‘output/v1’, ‘output/v2’, etc. The control experiments are rendered directly under OUTPUT_PATH.

This plugin automatically updates the Content.url and URLWrapper.url class properties from Pelican so that things like {{ article.url }} and {{ author.url }} will point to URLs from the same experiment. In other words each experiment produces its own HTML and URL structure, using the experiment name as prefix. For example ‘blog/about-me.html’ becomes ‘v1/blog/about-me.html’.


By default has DELETE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY set to True which causes pelican-ab to raise an exception. The problem is that you need to execute make publish or make github for each experiment you’d like to publish online. When DELETE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY is True the previous contents will be deleted and ONLY that variation will be published! This will break your website because everything will be gone!


  • v0.2.4 (Dec 25th 2016)
    • add more tests

    • enable pylint during testing

    • fix bad super() call

  • v0.2.3 (Dec 13th 2016)
    • rebuilt for Pelican v3.7.0 which now expects Jinja2 extensions in the JINJA_ENVIRONMENT setting instead of JINJA_EXTENSIONS.

  • v0.2.2 (May 12th 2016)
    • raise RuntimeError if DELETE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY is set to True

  • v0.2.1 (May 11th 2016)
    • updated README

  • v0.2.0 (May 10th 2016)
    • initial release


Source code and issue tracker are at

Commercial support

Mr. Senko provides commercial support for open source libraries, should you need it!

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