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A tool to generate a static blog, with restructured text (or markdown) input files.

Project description

Pelican is a simple weblog generator, writen in python.

  • Write your weblog entries directly with your editor of choice (vim!) and directly in restructured text, or markdown.

  • A simple cli-tool to (re)generate the weblog.

  • Easy to interface with DVCSes and web hooks

  • Completely static output, so easy to host anywhere !

Files metadata

Pelican tries to be smart enough to get the informations he needs from the file system (for instance, about the category of your articles), but you need to provide by hand some of those informations in your files.

You could provide the metadata in the restructured text files, using the following syntax (give your file the .rst extension):

My super title

:date: 2010-10-03 10:20
:tags: thats, awesome
:category: yeah
:author: Alexis Metaireau

You can also use a markdown syntax (with a file ending in .md):

Date: 2010-12-03
Title: My super title

Put you content here.

Note that none of those are mandatory: if the date is not specified, pelican will rely on the mtime of your file, and the category can also be determined by the directory where the rst file is. For instance, the category of python/foobar/myfoobar.rst is foobar.


Pelican currently supports:

  • blog articles

  • comments, via an external service (disqus). Please notice that while it’s useful, it’s an external service, and you’ll not manage the comments by yourself. It could potentially eat your data.

  • theming support (themes are done using jinja2)

  • PDF generation of the articles/pages (optional).

Getting started — Generate your blog

You’re ready? Let’s go ! You can install pelican in a lot of different ways, the simpler one is via pip:

$ pip install pelican

Then, you have just to launch pelican, like this:

$ pelican /path/to/your/content/

And… that’s all! You can see your weblog generated on the content/ folder.

This one will just generate a simple output, with the default theme. It’s not really sexy, as it’s a simple HTML output (without any style).

You can create your own style if you want, have a look to the help to see all the options you can use:

$ pelican --help


If you create a folder named pages, all the files in it will be used to generate static pages.


Pelican is configurable thanks a configuration file, that you can pass to the command line:

$ pelican -s path/to/your/ path

Here are the available settings. Please note that all the settings you put in this file will be passed to the templates as well.

Setting name

what it does ?


base URL of your website.


path to look at for input files.


theme to use to product the output. can be the complete static path to a theme folder, or chosen between the list of default themes (see below)


Where to output the generated files. Default to “output”


Your site name,


Display or not the pages on the menu of the template. Templates can follow or not this settings.


Put True if you want to have PDF versions of your documents. You will need to install rst2pdf.


The default category to fallback on. misc by default.


If True, pelican will use the file system dates infos (mtime) if it can’t get informations from the metadata?


A list of available markup languages you want to use. moment, only available values are rst and md.


The static paths you want to have accessible on the output path “static”. By default, pelican will copy the ‘images’ folder to the output folder.


Static theme paths you want to copy. Default values is static, but if your theme have others static paths, you can put them here.


relative url to output the atom feed. Default is feeds/all.atom.xml


relative url to output the rss feed. Default is None (no rss)


Where to put the atom categories feeds. default is feeds/%s.atom.xml, where %s is the name of the category.


Where to put the categories rss feeds. default is None (no rss)


To specify the CSS file you want to load, if it’s not the default one (‘main.css’)


3 themes are available. You can specify them using the -t option:

  • notmyidea

  • simple (a synonym for “full text” :)

  • martyalchin

You can define your own theme too, and specify it’s emplacement in the same way (be sure to specify the full absolute path to it).

Here is a guide on how to create your theme

The notmyidea theme can make good use of the following settings. I recommend to use them too in your themes.

Setting name

what it does ?


Your github URL (if you have one), it will then use it to create a github ribbon.


Pelican can handle disqus comments, specify the sitename you’ve filled in on disqus


A list of tuples (Title, Url) for links to appear on the header.


A list of tuples (Title, Url) to appear in the “social” section.


‘UA-XXXX-YYYY’ to activate google analytics.

In addition, you can use the “wide” version of the notmyidea theme, by adding that in your configuration:

CSS_FILE = "wide.css"

Why the name “Pelican” ?

Heh, you didn’t noticed? “Pelican” is an anagram for “Calepin” ;)


At this time, pelican is dependent of the following python packages:

  • feedgenerator, to generate the ATOM feeds.

  • jinja2, for templating support.

  • pygments, to have syntactic colorization

  • docutils and Markdown

If you’re not using python 2.7, you will also need argparse.

All those dependencies will be processed automatically if you install pelican using setuptools/distribute or pip.

Source code

You can access the source code via mercurial at or via git on

If you feel hackish, have a look to the pelican’s internals explanations.

Feedback !

If you want to see new features in Pelican, dont hesitate to tell me, to clone the repository, etc. That’s open source, dude!

Contact me at “alexis at notmyidea dot org” for any request/feedback !

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