Create Blog using Pelican and deploy in github pages

Monday, July 7, 2014

This website has been created using pelican. Pelican is static site generator written in Python.

Basically the needs for the project were:

  • Easy deployment and mantainance
  • Write articles using Markdown
  • Code syntax highlighting

After a quick research in order to select the framework to use in order to keep things simple, Pelican had all the features needed.

Generation of website

Pelican is really easy to start with. You just need to create your project and install pelican:

$ pip install pelican

If you want to use markdown you will need to install it as a dependency also:

$ pip install markdown

Once you have installed pelican the only thing you need to do is generate the skeleton of the blog:

$ pelican-quickstart

It will prompt several questions about your site. Pelican automatically generates some files as a fabric script and a Makefile to make even easiers your deployments.

Once this is done you will need to start writing your content under the content folder. You can add subfolders to the content folder and the names of the subfolders will be used as categories for your blogs.

Once you have your article generated (sample file) is time to generate your site. There are several ways to generate your code:

$ pelican content
# Or you can use the generated Makefile
$ make html

The next Exception was raised because my locale settings were not set:

File ".../lib/python2.7/", line 443, in _parse_localename
    raise ValueError, 'unknown locale: %s' % localename
ValueError: unknown locale: UTF-8

You can set your locale for your user (modifying your .bash_profile) or for the session:

$ export LC_ALL=en_UK.UTF-8
$ export LANG=en_UK.UTF-8

Once you have generated your content you can run a Development server to see the result:

$ make serve

And you will be able to access localhost on the port 8000 by default to see the result.

Deployment in github pages

There are two types of github pages. Project and user ones. If you want to deploy to your project you can use the github target on the Makefile:

$ make github

This will post to the github pages branch of your repository.

But if you want to use the github pages under you will need to do something more.

First of all you need to have a repository with your username at github. The repository needs to be called in my case

In order to make the process easier you can use the GitHub Pages Import. You can install it using pip:

$ pip install ghp-import

And to deploy you will need to run the next commands:

$ make html
$ ghp-import output
$ git push gh-pages:master

You can also modify your Makefile to run the github target executing the previous commands.

Your code will be deployed and after some minutes it will be availabe at

If you have your own domain and want it to be redirected to your github pages you will need to create a CNAME file and deploy on github pages.

Create a directory content/extra and a file named CNAME (upper case) with the domain you want to redirect:

$ cat CNAME

The you can use the STATIC_PATHS on the file to tell pelican to deploy the CNAME file in the root directory when generating the content:

EXTRA_PATH_METADATA = {'extra/CNAME': {'path': 'CNAME'},}

You will need to configure an A, an ALIAS or a CNAME record on your DNS provider to do the DNS redirection. You can see more info on the github pages domain configuration.