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The Carpentries Website
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Latest commit 89d6b8c Aug 22, 2019

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The Carpentries Website

This is the repository for the new Carpentries website. Please submit additions and fixes as pull requests to our GitHub repository.

Lessons are not stored in this repository: please see the Software Carpentry lessons page, the Data Carpentry lessons page, or the Library Carpentry lessons page for links to the many individual lesson repositories.

The Carpentries (Software, Data, and Library Carpentry) are open projects, and we welcome contributions of all kinds. By contributing, you are agreeing that The Carpentries may redistribute your work under these licenses, and to abide by our code of conduct.


The website uses Jekyll, a static website generator written in Ruby. You need to have Version 2.0.0 or higher of Ruby and the package manager Bundler. (The package manager is used to make sure you use exactly the same versions of software as GitHub Pages.) After checking out the repository, please run:

$ bundle install

to install Jekyll and the software it depends on. You may consult Using Jekyll with Pages for further instructions.

You will also need Python 3 with PyYAML available in order to re-generate the data files the site depends on.


Please do not use jekyll build or jekyll serve directly to build or view the website. Instead, you should use the following commands:

  • make or make commands: list available commands.
  • make serve: build files locally and run a server at for viewing. This is the best way to preview the site.
  • make site: build files locally, but do not serve them dynamically.
  • make clean removes the _site directory and any Emacs editor backup files littering the source directories.

The details describes a few more advanced commands as well.


To write a blog post, create a file called _posts/YYYY/MM/YYYY-MM-DD-some-title.html or _posts/YYYY/MM/ (for HTML and Markdown respectively). YYYY is the 4-digit year of the post, MM the 2-digit month, and DD the 2-digit day; some-title can be any hyphenated string of words that do not include special characters such as quotes. Please do not use underscores or periods in the names. When published, your blog post will appear as

The YAML header of a blog post must look like this:

layout: page
authors: ["Your Name"]
title: "A Title-Cased Title for the Post"
date: YYYY-MM-DD
time: "hh:mm:ss"
category: ["Some Category", "Some Other Category"]

where YYYY-MM-DD is replaced by the post's date and hh:mm:ss by the post's time. Note that the time must be quoted so that the colons it contains do not confuse Jekyll's YAML parser. Note also that authors is a list---if the post has more than one author, please format the list like this:

authors: ["First Author", "Second Author", "Third Author"]

rather than running all the authors' names together in one long string.

To create a new page, add a file to the pages directory. This can be written in either Markdown or HTML, and must have the following YAML header:

layout: page-fullwidth
permalink: /some/path/
title: Title in Title Case

You must then also add the page to _data/navigation.yml, which is used to generate the site's pull-down navigation menu.

To add a workshop, fill in the workshop request form online. You should fill in this form even for self-organized workshops in order to get your workshop into our database.

Do not edit the YAML in _data/amy.yml: this is overwritten every time the website is rebuilt on the server.

The Details

How is the site built and rendered?

The website is served directly by GitHub pages. Each time a commit is pushed to the repository and every 24 hours, Travis does 3 things:

  1. it retrieves the latest version of the data feeds needed by the website (see below), and pushes them to the _data folder (only for commits to the gh-pages branch, not for pull requests)
  2. it validates the YAML headers of all the pages and blog posts
  3. it builds the website

Steps 2 and 3 allow us to detect possible issues with formatting that would prevent the website to render properly.

Data Files

The data files for the workshops and the instructors are generated every 6 hours from AMY (via our redash server) by the script in the amy-feeds repository. These files are served at

During the Travis process, these files are being pulled from their source and pushed to this website repository.


The files in the _sass and assets directories control the appearance of this site. Their contents are pulled in manually from a stand-alone repository, which also controls the appearance of the workshop template and lesson template. Please contact us before modifying any of these files so that we can figure out the best way to incorporate your improvements.

Rebuilding the Main Web Site

A copy of the shell script bin/ is installed in the website's home directory on our server and re-run hourly by cron. If you are able to ssh to the server, it can be re-run manually as:

$ ssh ./
You can’t perform that action at this time.