Pelican currently runs best on Python 2.7.x; earlier versions of Python are not supported. There is provisional support for Python 3.2 and higher, although there may be rough edges, particularly with regards to optional 3rd-party components.
You can install Pelican via several different methods. The simplest is via pip:
$ pip install pelican
If you don’t have
pip installed, an alternative method is
$ easy_install pelican
(Keep in mind that operating systems will often require you to prefix the above
sudo in order to install Pelican system-wide.)
While the above is the simplest method, the recommended approach is to create a virtual environment for Pelican via virtualenv before installing Pelican. Assuming you have virtualenv installed, you can then open a new terminal session and create a new virtual environment for Pelican:
$ virtualenv ~/virtualenvs/pelican $ cd ~/virtualenvs/pelican $ . bin/activate
Once the virtual environment has been created and activated, Pelican can be
be installed via
pip install pelican as noted above. Alternatively, if
you have the project source, you can install Pelican using the distutils
$ cd path-to-Pelican-source $ python setup.py install
If you have Git installed and prefer to install the latest bleeding-edge version of Pelican rather than a stable release, use the following command:
$ pip install -e git://github.com/getpelican/pelican#egg=pelican
If you plan on using Markdown as a markup format, you’ll need to install the Markdown library as well:
$ pip install Markdown
If you want to use AsciiDoc you need to install it from source or use your operating system’s package manager.
Once Pelican is installed, you can use it to convert your Markdown or reST
content into HTML via the
pelican command, specifying the path to your
content and (optionally) the path to your settings file:
$ pelican /path/to/your/content/ [-s path/to/your/settings.py]
The above command will generate your site and save it in the
folder, using the default theme to produce a simple site. The default theme
consists of very simple HTML without styling and is provided so folks may use
it as a basis for creating their own themes.
You can also tell Pelican to watch for your modifications, instead of
manually re-running it every time you want to see your changes. To enable this,
pelican command with the
Pelican has other command-line switches available. Have a look at the help to see all the options you can use:
$ pelican --help
Continue reading below for more detail, and check out the Pelican wiki’s Tutorials page for links to community-published tutorials.
Viewing the generated files¶
The files generated by Pelican are static files, so you don’t actually need anything special to view them. You can either use your browser to open the files on your disk:
Or run a simple web server using Python:
cd output && python -m SimpleHTTPServer
If you installed a stable Pelican release via
wish to upgrade to the latest stable release, you can do so by adding
--upgrade to the relevant command. For pip, that would be:
$ pip install --upgrade pelican
If you installed Pelican via distutils or the bleeding-edge method, simply perform the same step to install the most recent version.
When Pelican is installed, the following dependent Python packages should be automatically installed without any action on your part:
- feedgenerator, to generate the Atom feeds
- jinja2, for templating support
- pygments, for syntax highlighting
- docutils, for supporting reStructuredText as an input format
- pytz, for timezone definitions
- blinker, an object-to-object and broadcast signaling system
- unidecode, for ASCII transliterations of Unicode text
If you want the following optional packages, you will need to install them
Kickstart your site¶
Once Pelican has been installed, you can create a skeleton project via the
pelican-quickstart command, which begins by asking some questions about
Once you finish answering all the questions, your project will consist of the following hierarchy (except for “pages”, which you can optionally add yourself if you plan to create non-chronological content):
yourproject/ ├── content │ └── (pages) ├── output ├── develop_server.sh ├── Makefile ├── pelicanconf.py # Main settings file └── publishconf.py # Settings to use when ready to publish
The next step is to begin to adding content to the content folder that has been created for you. (See Writing articles using Pelican section below for more information about how to format your content.)
Once you have written some content to generate, you can use the
command to generate your site, which will be placed in the output folder.
Alternatively, you can use automation tools that “wrap” the
to simplify the process of generating, previewing, and uploading your site. One
such tool is the
Makefile that’s automatically created for you when you use
pelican-quickstart to create a skeleton project. To use
generate your site, run:
$ make html
If you’d prefer to have Pelican automatically regenerate your site every time a change is detected (which is handy when testing locally), use the following command instead:
$ make regenerate
To serve the generated site so it can be previewed in your browser at http://localhost:8000:
$ make serve
Normally you would need to run
make regenerate and
make serve in two
separate terminal sessions, but you can run both at once via:
$ make devserver
The above command will simultaneously run Pelican in regeneration mode as well as serve the output at http://localhost:8000. Once you are done testing your changes, you should stop the development server via:
$ ./develop_server.sh stop
When you’re ready to publish your site, you can upload it via the method(s) you
chose during the
pelican-quickstart questionnaire. For this example, we’ll
use rsync over ssh:
$ make rsync_upload
That’s it! Your site should now be live.
Writing content using Pelican¶
Articles and pages¶
Pelican considers “articles” to be chronological content, such as posts on a blog, and thus associated with a date.
The idea behind “pages” is that they are usually not temporal in nature and are used for content that does not change very often (e.g., “About” or “Contact” pages).
Pelican tries to be smart enough to get the information it needs from the file system (for instance, about the category of your articles), but some information you need to provide in the form of metadata inside your files.
If you are writing your content in reStructuredText format, you can provide
this metadata in text files via the following syntax (give your file the
My super title ############## :date: 2010-10-03 10:20 :tags: thats, awesome :category: yeah :slug: my-super-post :author: Alexis Metaireau :summary: Short version for index and feeds
Pelican implements an extension to reStructuredText to enable support for the
abbr HTML tag. To use it, write something like this in your post:
This will be turned into :abbr:`HTML (HyperText Markup Language)`.
You can also use Markdown syntax (with a file ending in
.mdown). Markdown generation requires that you
first explicitly install the
Markdown package, which can be done via
install Markdown. Metadata syntax for Markdown posts should follow this
Title: My super title Date: 2010-12-03 10:20 Category: Python Tags: pelican, publishing Slug: my-super-post Author: Alexis Metaireau Summary: Short version for index and feeds This is the content of my super blog post.
Pelican can also process HTML files ending in
interprets the HTML in a very straightforward manner, reading metadata from
meta tags, the title from the
title tag, and the body out from the
<html> <head> <title>My super title</title> <meta name="tags" contents="thats, awesome" /> <meta name="date" contents="2012-07-09 22:28" /> <meta name="category" contents="yeah" /> <meta name="author" contents="Alexis Métaireau" /> <meta name="summary" contents="Short version for index and feeds" /> </head> <body> This is the content of my super blog post. </body> </html>
With HTML, there is one simple exception to the standard metadata:
be specified either via the
tags metadata, as is standard in Pelican, or
keywords metadata, as is standard in HTML. The two can be used
Note that, aside from the title, none of this article metadata is mandatory:
if the date is not specified and
DEFAULT_DATE is set to
will rely on the file’s “mtime” timestamp, and the category can be determined
by the directory in which the file resides. For example, a file located at
python/foobar/myfoobar.rst will have a category of
foobar. If you would
like to organize your files in other ways where the name of the subfolder would
not be a good category name, you can set the setting
If you do not explicitly specify summary metadata for a given post, the
SUMMARY_MAX_LENGTH setting can be used to specify how many words from the
beginning of an article are used as the summary.
You can also extract any metadata from the filename through a regular
expression to be set in the
FILENAME_METADATA setting. All named groups
that are matched will be set in the metadata object. The default value for the
FILENAME_METADATA setting will only extract the date from the filename. For
example, if you would like to extract both the date and the slug, you could set
Please note that the metadata available inside your files takes precedence over the metadata extracted from the filename.
If you create a folder named
pages inside the content folder, all the
files in it will be used to generate static pages, such as About or
Contact pages. (See example filesystem layout below.)
You can use the
DISPLAY_PAGES_ON_MENU setting to control whether all those
pages are displayed in the primary navigation menu. (Default is
If you want to exclude any pages from being linked to or listed in the menu
then add a
status: hidden attribute to its metadata. This is useful for
things like making error pages that fit the generated theme of your site.
Importing an existing blog¶
It is possible to import your blog from Dotclear, WordPress, and RSS feeds using a simple script. See Import from other blog software.
It is possible to translate articles. To do so, you need to add a
attribute to your articles/pages and set a
DEFAULT_LANG setting (which is
English [en] by default). With those settings in place, only articles with the
default language will be listed, and each article will be accompanied by a list
of available translations for that article.
Pelican uses the article’s URL “slug” to determine if two or more articles are translations of one another. The slug can be set manually in the file’s metadata; if not set explicitly, Pelican will auto-generate the slug from the title of the article.
Here is an example of two articles, one in English and the other in French.
The English article:
Foobar is not dead ################## :slug: foobar-is-not-dead :lang: en That's true, foobar is still alive!
And the French version:
Foobar n'est pas mort ! ####################### :slug: foobar-is-not-dead :lang: fr Oui oui, foobar est toujours vivant !
Post content quality notwithstanding, you can see that only item in common between the two articles is the slug, which is functioning here as an identifier. If you’d rather not explicitly define the slug this way, you must then instead ensure that the translated article titles are identical, since the slug will be auto-generated from the article title.
If you do not want the original version of one specific article to be detected
DEFAULT_LANG setting, use the
translation metadata to specify
which posts are translations:
Foobar is not dead ################## :slug: foobar-is-not-dead :lang: en :translation: true That's true, foobar is still alive!
Pelican is able to provide colorized syntax highlighting for your code blocks. To do so, you have to use the following conventions inside your content files.
For reStructuredText, use the code-block directive:
.. code-block:: identifier <indented code block goes here>
For Markdown, include the language identifier just above the code block, indenting both the identifier and code:
A block of text. :::identifier <code goes here>
The specified identifier (e.g.
ruby) should be one that
appears on the list of available lexers.
If you want to publish an article as a draft (for friends to review before
publishing, for example), you can add a
status: draft attribute to its
metadata. That article will then be output to the
drafts folder and not
listed on the index page nor on any category page.