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GAE Scaffold provides a starting place for geting an app up and running quickly.
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Copyright © 2011-2018, Brendan Doms
Licensed under the MIT license

Welcome to GAE Scaffold


GAE Scaffold is made so you can simply fill in the blanks to get a new application up and running very quickly. It "just works" straight out of the box, which includes all tests passing, and no external installations required beyond GAE itself. To get it running with a production account you'll have to make a few changes described below - these have been minimized as much as possible. Given that starting point, you can easily modify anything and everything to suit your needs.

What It Is

GAE Scaffold takes care of a lot of annoying boilerplate so that you write less code. It provides helper functions to do things like automatically render human readable errors or output JSON. It also includes a library of Git submodules to handle a wide array of common tasks like deployment, cache-busting, minification, and testing. GAE Scaffold's included templates use HTML5 with UTF-8 by default.

What It Isn't

GAE Scaffold does not include a JavaScript or CSS framework. This is a purposeful decision in order to stay as front-end agnostic as possible.


Make sure you have Python and Google App Engine properly installed. Then...

Get GAE Scaffold

Clone the repository and --recursive will get all the required submodules automatically:

git clone --recursive

After that to track or save progress to your own repo just change the remote:

git remote set-url origin

If you don't want to retain the scaffold's history as part of your project I recommend this one line squash:

git reset $(git commit-tree HEAD^{tree} -m "Initial commit.")

Testing Dependencies

These are required to run tests, but are not needed to run the server and aren't included during deployment.

pip install -r requirements.txt -t lib/pip


Mandatory Modifications

  • Generate values for local development env variables in config/
  • cp config/vars_example.yaml config/vars.yaml and then generate values for production in the new file
  • In both cases:
    • Replace SENDER_EMAIL with a valid email address
    • Replace SUPPORT_EMAIL with the email address where you would like to receive support-related messages, such as error alerts
  • Replace your-app-id in config/deploy.yaml to deploy the application
  • Replace in views/static/terms.html for DMCA compliance
  • A sample Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have been provided as examples, but you are solely responsible for their content and how they apply to your site

Going Forward

  • Escape any untrusted user content you display in templates by using the |e filter
  • Add an entry to views/sitemap.xml for each page you want indexed by search engines
  • Modify config/robots.template.txt to disallow any pages you don't want crawled (on a per branch basis)
  • Enable and/or modify security features HSTS and CSP in controllers/
  • Handle version-based namespaces in
  • Make tests in tests/ for new pages
  • Make tests in tests/ for new models
  • After updating production, clear memcache via /dev (or the GAE dashboard) in order to ensure that old pages aren't still cached

Common Commands

Run Development Server app.yaml

This starts a server running at http://localhost:8080/

Run Tests

python tests

Pass --unit or --lint as to only run unit tests or the linter, respectively.

You can also specify an individual file to run tests on, relative to the tests directory:

python tests

Deploy to Production

To deploy only the current branch:

python lib/gae_deploy config/deploy.yaml

Use the --branch (-b) option to specify a different branch than the current one to deploy. I.e. -b master.

Use the --list (-l) option to specify a predefined list of branches to deploy all at once. The pre-defined lists are:

  • production
    • master

Note that you must have already created an application on Google App Engine with the matching ID in config/deploy.yaml for deploying to work. This then creates a live version of your application at

See the readme in lib/gae_deploy for more details about deploying.

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