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Minimal configuration static site generator for Django

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django-distill

django-distill
is a minimal configuration static site generator and publisher for Django. Most Django versions are supported, however up to date versions are advised including the Django 3.x releases.
django-distill
as of the 1.7 release only supports Python 3. Python 2 support has been dropped. If you require Python 2 support please pin
django-distill
to version 1.6 in your requirements.txt or Pipfile. Python 3.6 or above is advised.

django-distill
extends existing Django sites with the ability to export fully functional static sites. It is suitable for sites such as blogs that have a mostly static front end but you still want to use a CMS to manage the content.

django-distill
iterates over URLs in your Django project using easy to write iterable functions to yield the parameters for whatever pages you want to save as static HTML. These static files can be automatically uploaded to a bucket-style remote container such as Amazon S3 or Googe Cloud Files, or, written to a local directory as a fully working local static version of your project. The site generation, or distillation process, can be easily integrated into CI/CD workflows to auto-deploy static sites on commit.
django-distill
can be defined as an extension to Django to make Django projects compatible with "Jamstack"-style site architecture.

django-distill
plugs directly into the existing Django framework without the need to write custom renderers or other more verbose code. You can also integrate
django-distill
with existing dynamic sites and just generate static pages for a small subsection of pages rather than the entire site.

For static files on CDNs you can use the following 'cache buster' library to allow for fast static media updates when pushing changes:

https://github.com/meeb/django-cachekiller

There is a complete example site that creates a static blog and uses

django-distill
with
django-cachekiller
via continuous deployment on Netlify available here:

https://github.com/meeb/django-distill-example

Installation

Install from pip:

$ pip install django-distill

Add

django_distill
to your
INSTALLED_APPS
in your
settings.py
:
INSTALLED_APPS = [
    # ... other apps here ...
    'django_distill',
]

That's it.

Limitations

django-distill
generates static pages and therefore only views which allow
GET
requests that return an
HTTP 200
status code are supported.

It is assumed you are using URI parameters such as

/blog/123-abc
and not querystring parameters such as
/blog?post_id=123&title=abc
. Querystring parameters do not make sense for static page generation for obvious reasons.

Additionally With one-off static pages dynamic internationalisation won't work so all files are generated using the

LANGUAGE_CODE
value in your
settings.py
.

Static media files such as images and style sheets are copied from your static media directory defined in

STATIC_ROOT
. This means that you will want to run
./manage.py collectstatic
before you run
./manage.py distill-local
if you have made changes to static media.
django-distill
doesn't chain this request by design, however you can enable it with the
--collectstatic
argument.

Usage

Assuming you have an existing Django project, edit a

urls.py
to include the
distill_path
function which replaces Django's standard
path
function and supports the new keyword arguments
distill_func
and
distill_file
. The
distill_func
argument should be provided with a function or callable class that returns an iterable or None. The
distill_file
argument is entirely optional and allows you to override the URL that would otherwise be generated from the reverse of the URL regex. This allows you to rename URLs like
/example
to any other name like
example.html
. As of v0.8 any URIs ending in a slash
/
are automatically modified to end in
/index.html
. An example distill setup for a theoretical blogging app would be:
# Replaces the standard django.conf.path, identical syntax
from django_distill import distill_path

Views and models from a theoretical blogging app

from blog.views import PostIndex, PostView, PostYear from blog.models import Post

def get_index(): # The index URI path, '', contains no parameters, named or otherwise. # You can simply just return nothing here. return None

def get_all_blogposts(): # This function needs to return an iterable of dictionaries. Dictionaries # are required as the URL this distill function is for has named parameters. # You can just export a small subset of values here if you wish to # limit what pages will be generated. for post in Post.objects.all(): yield {'blog_id': post_id, 'blog_title': post.title}

def get_years(): # You can also just return an iterable containing static strings if the # URL only has one argument and you are using positional URL parameters: return (2014, 2015) # This is really just shorthand for ((2014,), (2015,))

urlpatterns = ( # e.g. / the blog index distill_path('', PostIndex.as_view(), name='blog-index', distill_func=get_index, # / is not a valid file name! override it to index.html distill_file='index.html'), # e.g. /post/123-some-post-title using named parameters distill_path('post/-', PostView.as_view(), name='blog-post', distill_func=get_all_blogposts), # e.g. /posts-by-year/2015 using positional parameters distill_path('posts-by-year/', PostYear.as_view(), name='blog-year', distill_func=get_years), )

Your site will still function identically with the above changes. Internally the

distill_func
and
distill_file
parameters are removed and the URL is passed back to Django for normal processing. This has no runtime performance impact as this happens only once upon starting the application.

You can use the

distill_re_path
function as well, which replaces the default
django.urls.re_path
function. Its usage is identical to the above:
from django_distill import distill_re_path

urlpatterns = ( distill_re_path(r'some/regex' SomeOtherView.as_view(), name='url-other-view', distill_func=some_other_func), )

If you are using an older version of Django in the 1.x series you can use the

distill_url
function instead which replaces the
django.conf.urls.url
or
django.urls.url
functions. Its usage is identical to the above:
from django_distill import distill_url

urlpatterns = ( distill_url(r'some/regex' SomeView.as_view(), name='url-view', distill_func=some_func), )

Note

django-distill
will mirror whatever your installed version of Django supports, therefore at some point the
distill_url
function will cease working in the future when Django 2.x itself depreciates the
django.conf.urls.url
and
django.urls.url
functions. You can use
distill_re_path
as a drop-in replacement. It is advisable to use
distill_path
or
distill_re_path
if you're building a new site now.

The
distill-local
command

Once you have wrapped the URLs you want to generate statically you can now generate a complete functioning static site with:

$ ./manage.py distill-local [optional /path/to/export/directory]

Under the hood this simply iterates all URLs registered with

distill_url
and generates the pages for them using parts of the Django testing framework to spoof requests. Once the site pages have been rendered then files from the
STATIC_ROOT
are copied over. Existing files with the same name are replaced in the target directory and orphan files are deleted.

distill-local
supports the following optional arguments:

--collectstatic
: Automatically run
collectstatic
on your site before rendering, this is just a shortcut to save you typing an extra command.

--quiet
: Disable all output other than asking confirmation questions.

--force
: Assume 'yes' to all confirmation questions.

--exclude-staticfiles
: Do not copy any static files at all, only render output from Django views.

Note If any of your views contain a Python error then rendering will fail then the stack trace will be printed to the terminal and the rendering command will exit with a status code of 1.

The
distill-publish
command

$ ./manage.py distill-publish [optional destination here]

If you have configured at least once publishing destination (see below) you can use the

distill-publish
command to publish the site to a remote location.

This will perform a full synchronisation, removing any remote files that are no longer present in the generated static site and uploading any new or changed files. The site will be built into a temporary directory locally first when publishing which is deleted once the site has been published. Each file will be checked that it has been published correctly by requesting it via the

PUBLIC_URL
.

distill-publish
supports the following optional arguments:

--collectstatic
: Automatically run
collectstatic
on your site before rendering, this is just a shortcut to save you typing an extra command.

--quiet
: Disable all output other than asking confirmation questions.

--force
: Assume 'yes' to all confirmation questions.

--exclude-staticfiles
: Do not copy any static files at all, only render output from Django views.

Note that this means if you use

--force
and
--quiet
that the output directory will have all files not part of the site export deleted without any confirmation.

Note If any of your views contain a Python error then rendering will fail then the stack trace will be printed to the terminal and the rendering command will exit with a status code of 1.

The
distill-test-publish
command

$ ./manage.py distill-test-publish [optional destination here]

This will connect to your publishing target, authenticate to it, upload a randomly named file, verify it exists on the

PUBLIC_URL
and then delete it again. Use this to check your publishing settings are correct.

distill-test-publish
has no arguments.

Optional configuration settings

You can set the following optional

settings.py
variables:

DISTILL_DIR: string, default directory to export to:

DISTILL_DIR = '/path/to/export/directory'

DISTILL_PUBLISH: dictionary, like Django's

settings.DATABASES
, supports
default
:
DISTILL_PUBLISH = {
    'default': {
        ... options ...
    },
    'some-other-target': {
        ... options ...
    },
}

Publishing targets

You can automatically publish sites to various supported remote targets through backends just like how you can use MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL etc. with Django by changing the backend database engine. Currently the engines supported by

django-distill
are:

djangodistill.backends.amazons3: Publish to an Amazon S3 bucket. Requires the Python library

boto3
(
$ pip install boto3
). The bucket must already exist (use the AWS control panel). Options:
'some-s3-container': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_distill.backends.amazon_s3',
    'PUBLIC_URL': 'http://.../',
    'ACCESS_KEY_ID': '...',
    'SECRET_ACCESS_KEY': '...',
    'BUCKET': '...',
},

djangodistill.backends.googlestorage: Publish to a Google Cloud Storage bucket. Requires the Python libraries

google-api-python-client
and
google-cloud-storage
(
$ pip install google-api-python-client google-cloud-storage
). The bucket must already exist and be set up to host a public static website (use the Google Cloud control panel). Options:
'some-google-storage-bucket': {
    'ENGINE': 'django_distill.backends.google_storage',
    'PUBLIC_URL': 'https://storage.googleapis.com/[bucket.name.here]/',
    'JSON_CREDENTIALS': '/path/to/some/credentials.json',
    'BUCKET': '[bucket.name.here]',
},

Tests

There is a minimal test suite, you can run it by cloing this repository, installing the required dependancies in

requirements.txt
then execuiting:
# ./run-tests.py

Contributing

All properly formatted and sensible pull requests, issues and comments are welcome.

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