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Thebe: turn static HTML pages into live documents

test Documentation Status

Have a static HTML page with code snippets? Your readers can edit and execute them right there. All it takes is:

  • A brief header in the HTML page
  • The Thebe javascript library (which can be fetched from the web)
  • A computing backend (typically binder)


Thebe is a based on the Jupyter technology, and thus supports a wealth of programming languages. The original implementation, called Thebe was a fork of the Jupyter code base.

See the Thebe Documentation for more information. See also this blog post.

For the latest thebe-core documentation, see

Deprecation Notice

thebe has been added as an alias for thebelab and all css classes beginning with thebelab- duplicated as thebe- (as of 0.8.3).

The thebelab global object, exposed functions and user code reliant on css classes thebelab-*, will continue to work and any DOM elements created during operation will be decorated with thebelab- classes as expected, until it is removed in version 0.9.0.

How Thebe works

Starting Thebe involves the following steps:

  • Loading the thebe javascript, typically from a CDN;
  • Fetching the Thebe configuration from the page header;
  • Bootstrapping Thebe:
    • Re rendering the code cells to make them live cells. Optionally, the rendering can handle cells that contain a mixture of inputs and ouputs distinguished by prompts (see the stripPrompts option);
    • (optional) Requesting a notebook server from Binder;
    • (optional) Requesting a Jupyter kernel from the Jupyter server.

Bootstrap Thebe by calling thebelab.bootstrap(). If bootstrap: true is in the Thebe configuration (see below), this will be triggered automatically upon page load.

Configuring Thebe

For complete information about configuring Thebe, see the Thebe documentation.

You can configure thebe with a script tag. The script should have type=text/x-thebe-config with a javascript object containing configuration options.

<script type="text/x-thebe-config">
    binderOptions: {
      repo: "minrk/ligo-binder",
      ref: "master",

A full config script with defaults:

  // Whether thebe should automatically trigger the bootstrap upon page load
  // if set to false, the page should contain some additional javascript
  // responsible for triggering the javascript when desired (e.g. connected to a button click).
  bootstrap: false,

  // arbitrary pre-render function called as part of bootstrap
  preRenderHook: false,

  // Whether to request the kernel immediately when thebe is bootstrapped
  // instead of on executing code for the first time
  requestKernel: false,

  // Whether thebe should look for predefined output of cells before execution
  // If this option is enabled and the next div after the cell has the attribute
  // data-output=true (default), then the content of this div is rendered as output
  predefinedOutput: false,

  // The selector for identifying whether an element should be treated as output
  outputSelector: '[data-output]',

  // Options for requesting a notebook server from
  binderOptions: {
    repo: "minrk/ligo-binder",

    // only repo is required, the rest below are defaults:
    ref: "master",
    binderUrl: "",
    // select repository source (optional). Supports Github(default), Gitlab, and Git
    repoProvider: "github",
    savedSession: {
      // if enabled, thebe will store and try to re-use
      // connections (with credentials!) to running servers
      enabled: true,
      maxAge: 86400, // the max age in seconds to consider re-using a session
      storagePrefix: "thebe-binder-",

  // Options for requesting a kernel from the notebook server
  kernelOptions: {
    name: "python3",
    kernelName: "python3",
    path: "."
    // notebook server configuration; not needed with binder
    // serverSettings: {
    //      "baseUrl": "",
    //      "token": "test-secret"
    //    }

  // Selector for identifying which elements on the page should
  // be made interactive
  selector: "[data-executable]",

  // Optional prompt handling during the rendering phase
  // Either false or a dictionary as in the example below
  stripPrompts: false,
  // stripPrompts: {
  //      inPrompt: 'sage: ',
  //      continuationPrompt: '....: ',
  //      // only apply the prompt stripping to cells matching this selector (optional)
  //      selector: '.sage-input',
  //    },

  // URL from which to load mathjax
  // set to `false` to disable mathjax
  mathjaxUrl: "",

  // mathjax configuration string
  mathjaxConfig: "TeX-AMS_CHTML-full,Safe",

  // Additional options to pass to CodeMirror instances
  codeMirrorConfig: {},


To see examples of thebe in use, check the project documentation on read the docs.

Alternatively,you can also check the HTML based examples included in the in docs/_static/html_examples/ folder. To run these either setup a local development environment or replace the <script> element in each file with the following:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

Also include the css bundle on your page:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

Contribute to thebe

For the latest information on setting up a local development environment see in this repository.

Legacy information on thebe builds is here

For more information on contributing to thebe, see the thebe contributing documentation although note that


thebe was developed as a part of OpenDreamKit – Horizon 2020 European Research Infrastructure project (676541). It is currently stewarded by the Executable Books Project. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Department of Education Open Textbooks Pilot Program funding for the LibreTexts project (P116T180029).