Adding Pelican Plugins


I’ve already written twice about Pelican and how to use it to create and style your GitHub Personal Page. I’m going to continue with one more post before moving onto other things.

There’s just so much more you can do with it through the smorgasbord of extensibility contained in the Pelican plugins repo.

The two plugins I’ll be covering here are:

  • series: joins separate articles into a linkable series
  • tag cloud: presents article tags as a cloud of links, proportional in size to the number of times the tag is used


The GitHub readme suggests cloning the repo and adding the path to your file. I’m doing something similar in principle but different in practice. I’ve made the repo a submodule of my source repo. This essentially clones it while also making it simple to reference no matter the device or platform I may be using.

cd /path/to/source
git submodule add

Because the pelican-plugins repo itself is full of submodules, a second git command is required (there is no add --recursive, at least not yet).

git submodule update --init --recursive

You should now have all the plugins you will ever need in the pelican-plugins sub-directory of your source repo. For more on working with submodules in your project see:

Adding Plugins

Update the file with the following two lines.

PLUGIN_PATHS = ['pelican-plugins']
PLUGINS = ['series', 'tag_cloud']

Of course, list only those specific plugins you want. How the plugins work is dependent on the templates and therefore the theme you have chosen. If your following along exactly you have pelican-bootstrap3 which works nicely with both the series and tag_cloud plugins. If the plugin you want doesn’t work with the theme you’ve adopted you will need to add custom Jinja2 templates.

Plugins Example 1 - series

This plugin makes your articles part of a series. How this is presented is largely dependent on the pelican theme you are using. Currently, I’m using pelican-bootstrap3 which adds a nice element at the bottom of the article listing all previous and next articles in the series.

All you need to do is add the :series: element to your article metadata, for example:

:series:  Pelican

The order is based on the article’s 📅 metadata but can be overridden using the :series_index: metadata element.

Plugins Example 2 - tag_cloud

This plugin will create a “tag cloud” which provides a means to link articles by the :tags: metadata. The size of each link is presented in proportion to the number of articles with that tag.

By default in pelican-bootstrap3, the tag cloud is displayed as a list on the right sidebar.

To benefit simply add a comma-separated list of tags to each article’s metadata, for example:

:tags:  python, github, pelican

Next Steps

This will be last article on Pelican for awhile. There is still much to explore in both creating and visiting Pelican sites but it’s time to move on to covering something else.

Full Stack Web Developer