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The Carpentries Workshop Template

This repository is The Carpentries' (Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, and Library Carpentry's) template for creating websites for workshops.

  1. Please do not fork this repository directly on GitHub. Instead, please use GitHub's "template" function following the instructions below to copy this workshop-template repository and customize it for your workshop.

  2. Please do your work in your repository's gh-pages branch, since that is what is automatically published as a website by GitHub.

  3. Once you are done, please also let us know the workshop URL. If this is a self-organised workshop, you should also fill in the self-organized workshop form (if you have not already done so), so we can keep track of all workshops. We build the list of workshops on our websites from the data included in your page. We can only do that if you customize that page correctly and let us know the workshop URL.

If you run into problems, or have ideas about how to make this process simpler, please get in touch. The pages on customizing your website, the FAQ, and the design notes have more detail on what we do and why. And please note: if you are teaching Git, please create a separate repository for your learners to practice in.

Video Tutorial

There is a YouTube video that demonstrates how to create a workshop website.

Creating a Repository

  1. Log in to GitHub. (If you do not have an account, you can quickly create one for free.) You must be logged in for the remaining steps to work.

  2. On this page (, click on the green "Use this template" button (top right)

    screenshot of this repository's GitHub page with an arrow pointing to the the 'use this template' button on the top left

  3. Select the owner for your new repository. (This will probably be you, but may instead be an organization you belong to.)

  4. Choose a name for your workshop website repository. This name should have the form YYYY-MM-DD-site, e.g., 2016-12-01-oomza, where YYYY-MM-DD is the start date of the workshop. If your workshop is held online, then the respository name should have -online in the end. e.g., 2016-12-01-oomza-online

  5. Make sure the repository is public, leave "Include all branches" unchecked, and click on "Create repository from template". You will be redirected to your new copy of the workshop template respository.

  6. Your new website will be rendered at For example, if your username is gvwilson, the website's URL will be

If you experience a problem, please get in touch.

Customizing Your Website (Required Steps)

There are two ways of customizing your website. You can either:

  • edit the files directly in GitHub using your web browser
  • clone the repository on your computer and update the files locally

Updating the files on GitHub in your web browser

  1. Go into your newly-created repository, which will be at For example, if your username is gvwilson, the repository's URL will be

  2. Ensure you are on the gh-pages branch by clicking on the branch under the drop down in the menu bar (see the note below):

    screenshot of this repository's GitHub page showing the "Branch" dropdown menu expanded with the "gh-pages" branch selected

  3. Edit the header of to customize the list of instructors, workshop venue, etc. You can do this in the browser by clicking on it in the file view on GitHub and then selecting the pencil icon in the menu bar:

    screenshot of top menu bar for GitHub's file interface with the edit icon highlighted in the top right

    Editing hints are embedded in, and full instructions are in the customization instructions.

  4. Remove the notice about using the workshop template in the file. You can safely delete everything between the {% comment %} and {% endcomment %} (included) as indicated below (about from line 35 to line 51):

    {% comment %} <------------ remove from this line
    8< ============= For a workshop delete from here =============
    For a workshop please delete the following block until the next dashed-line
    {% endcomment %}
    <div class="alert alert-danger">
    {% comment %}
     8< ============================= until here ==================
    {% endcomment %} <--------- until this line
  5. Edit _config.yml to customize certain site-wide variables, such as: carpentry (to tell your participants the lesson program for your workshop), curriculum and flavor for the curriculum taught in your workshop, and title (overall title for all pages).

    Editing hints are embedded in _config.yml, and full instructions are in the customization instructions.

  6. Edit the schedule.html file to edit the schedule for your upcoming workshop. This file is located in the _includes directory, make sure to choose the one from the appropriate dc (Data Carpentry workshop), lc (Library Carpentry), or swc (Software Carpentry) subdirectory.

Working locally

Note: you don't have to do this, if you have already updated your site using the web interface.

If you are already familiar with Git, you can clone the repository to your desktop, edit, _config.yml, and schedule.html following the instruction above there, and push your changes back to the repository.

git clone

In order to view your changes once you are done editing, if you have bundler installed (see the installation instructions below), you can preview your site locally with:

make serve

and go to to preview your site.

Before pushing your changes to your repository, we recommend that you also check for any potential issues with your site by running:

make workshop-check

Once you are satisfied with the edits to your site, commit and push the changes to your repository. A few minutes later, you can go to the GitHub Pages URL for your workshop site and preview it. In the example above, this is The finished page should look something like this.

Optional but Recommended Steps

Update your repository description and link your website

At the top of your repository on GitHub you'll see

No description, website, or topics provided. — Edit

Click 'Edit' and add:

  1. A very brief description of your workshop in the "Description" box (e.g., "Oomza University workshop, Dec. 2016")

  2. The URL for your workshop in the "Website" box (e.g.,

This will help people find your website if they come to your repository's home page.

Update the content of the README file

You can change the file in your website's repository, which contains these instructions, so that it contains a short description of your workshop and a link to the workshop website.

Additional Notes

Note: please do all of your work in your repository's gh-pages branch, since GitHub automatically publishes that as a website.

Note: this template includes some files and directories that most workshops do not need, but which provide a standard place to put extra content if desired. See the design notes for more information about these.

Further instructions are available in the customization instructions. This FAQ includes a few extra tips (additions are always welcome) and these notes on the background and design of this template may help as well.

Creating Extra Pages

In rare cases, you may want to add extra pages to your workshop website. You can do this by putting either Markdown or HTML pages in the website's root directory and styling them according to the instructions give in the lesson template.

Installing Software

If you want to set up Jekyll so that you can preview changes on your own machine before pushing them to GitHub, you must install the software described in the lesson example setup instructions.

Setting Up a Separate Repository for Learners

If you are teaching Git, you should create a separate repository for learners to use in that lesson. You should not have them use the workshop website repository because:

  • your workshop website repository contains many files that most learners don't need to see during the lesson, and

  • you probably don't want to accidentally merge a damaging pull request from a novice Git user into your workshop's website while you are using it to teach.

You can call this repository whatever you like, and add whatever content you need to it.

Getting and Giving Help

We are committed to offering a pleasant setup experience for our learners and organizers. If you find bugs in our instructions, or would like to suggest improvements, please file an issue or mail us.


No description, website, or topics provided.



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