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The static website generator with potential




Volt is a Python static website generator with potential.

Another static website generator?

Sure, why not :)? The number of static site generators is continuously growing, but so far I have yet to find a flexible static site that suits my needs. So I decided to write my own.

What's so different about Volt?

Here are some of my favorite features:

1. Automatic generation of paginations according to content attributes

 Say you have a blog with 10 posts, each with its own set of tags that might might not be present in all posts. By only by supplying the URL pattern, Volt can generate the pages containing each blog post categorized by tag, paginated to your liking.

 For example, you only need to supply tag/{tags} and Volt will generate links to tag/foo, tag/bar, tag/baz, where each of these page (or Pack, in Volt's internals) will contain all the posts sharing that tag.

 And this doesn't apply only to tags. You can use it to create pages based on authors, time (year, day, date, whatever you want), and any other data you put in your posts.

 All with a simple URL pattern in the configuration file, like so

 PACKS = ('', 'tag/{tags}', '{time:%Y}', '{time:%Y/%m}', '{time:%Y/%m/%d}')

2. Built-in server capable of rebuilding your entire site whenever it detects a change in any of the source files

 Static sites need to be generated repeatedly to reflect changes in their source. After a while, doing this becomes cumbersome and annoying. Volt's server automatically generates your static site whenever it detects changes in the source, so you can focus on experimenting with your actual site contents.

3. Modularity and extensibility

 Under the hood, Volt is actually a collection of different engines responsible for different sections of your site. The blog engine, for example generates the blog section of your site, while the plain engine, generates simple web pages. See how simple the blog engine code take a peek at the main site generator function to get a picture of how these engines work.

 Finally, Volt comes with a plugin architecture that lets you hook into the engines' actions. Three plugins comes packed in with volt: plugins for atom feed generation, for syntax highlighting, and for markdown processing. Browse their code to see how you can easily write your own plugin.

4. Centrally-managed configuration with flexible options

 Sort your content according to time, or title, or author name, or tags, anything you want. Set global values for all content, e.g. authors for all blog posts. Define your own Jinja2 tests or filters. Set the plugin options. You can do all these in Volt through one central configuration file: voltconf.py, conveniently accessible in your project folder.

All these with the perks of static websites, of course (easy deployment, easy back-up and tracking, security, speed, etc.)


pip install volt

Volt is still in alpha ~ it's usable enough to be used for making a real website, but many things might still break here and there.

By default Volt will install the python markdown module. You can install python-discount to improve markdown processing speed. python-discount is a wrapper for Discount, a fast markdown parser written in C.


Go through a superquick demo of Volt by running volt demo in an empty directory and opening localhost:8000 in your browser.

Here's a quick summary of the currently available commands:

- volt init: Starts a Volt project, must be run inside an empty directory. The voltconf.py file created by this command currently contains almost all the default settings. You can safely edit or remove them.
- volt gen: Generates the website into a site folder in your current project directory.
- volt serve: Starts the server pointing to the site directory. Can be run from anywhere inside a Volt project directory.
- volt demo: Starts the demo, must be run inside an empty directory.
- volt version: Shows the current Volt version.

Use your own engines by writing them in an engines directory inside your Volt project directory. Plugins follow the same rule: plugins inside your Volt project directory.

The docs are, unfortunately, minimum at the moment. For now, the source is the primary documentation.
Last updated on April 25th, 2012

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