Boilerplate setup for App Engine with html5-boilerplate 2.0, OpenID, memcache, user preferences, and more
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App Engine Boilerplate is a versatile yet minimalistic setup for new App Engine projects.

  • html5-boilerplate 2.0 (including it's automated build toolchain for minification and concatenation of js+css)
  • Beautiful OpenID login with openid-selector
  • Flexible user-preferences model with auto-caching (plus Gravatar link)
  • BaseRequestHandler for simplified rendering and access to user preferences
  • @login_required decorator
  • Memcaching setup
  • Templates and template addons
  • Tools such as is_testenv() and slugify(url)
  • Automatically subscribe users to your MailChimp newsletter
  • app.yaml configuration for admin areas, static files
  • Released under the BSD license

This project does not contain a lot of code. To get the best understanding of it's features we recommend to simply browse through the files! You can see a rather minimalistic live version here.

OpenID Authentication

User authentication with OpenID works out of the box, including a nice user interface via the openid-selector jQuery plugin (also used by stackoverflow). Be sure to enable OpenID authentication in your app settings on app engine.

Alt text

More infos about appengine and openid:


Returning cached data usually improves the performance of a website. App Engine provides a custom version of memcache to store various data types, which can be used to efficiently cache the results of datastore queries, or commonly used elements on the homepage.

app/mc/ contains an exemplary method of querying data from memcache with a datastore fallback if not yet cached. Simply adapt as you need it!


html5 boilerplate is a great base setup for building the website frontend, and furthermore includes a build script which minifies and compresses html, css, javascript and images.

html5-boilerplate is located in /static_dev, and it's build script outputs an optimized release version to /static_dev/publish.The only modification to the standard html5-boilerplate is adding a few blocks to /static_dev/index.html: {% block header|main|scripts|footer %}

During development the symlink /static points to /static_dev. On publishing the project invokes the html5-boilerplate build script and changes the symlink /static to /static_dev/publish, in order to upload the optimized version. is a tiny shell script which simplifies invoking the html5-boilerplate build tools before testing and uploading your app to app engine. To use it you need to set CMD_APPCFG to your local

Exact steps of ./

  • Asks if it should run the build process with ant minify
  • Changes the /static symlink to the production version
  • Waits for you to test and confirm
  • Uploads the app to appengine
  • Reverts /static to the development environment

These would be the manual steps:

# go into html5-boilerplate's build directory    
$ cd static_dev/build 

# run ant, which compiles an optimized version into static_dev/publish
$ ant minify

# go back into the main directory
$ cd ../../

# change reference of /static symlink to optimized version
$ rm static
$ ln -s static_dev/publish static

# Test the optimized version
# Publish to web with

# After publishing you can change back to static_dev
$ rm static
$ ln -s static_dev static

Adding CSS Files

CSS files are no longer imported from index.html but exclusively through using @import in style.css.

html5 boilerplate automatically includes, minifies and concatenates css files which are imported via an @import statement from within style.css. Add references to your custom stylesheets from there, never from within index.html.

Working in Windows

There are a couple of posix symlinks within the project that will need to be updated to work with Windows.

  • "/static" which points to "/static_dev" during development
  • "/templates/base.html" which points to "/static/index.html"

To create the new links, delete the existing links and use the mklink command from an command prompt run with Administration privileges.

  • mklink [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

Making these two changes will enable you to launch the project using the Google App Engine SDK Launcher. During deployment the current .sh script changes the /static link to /static_dev/publish and a forthcoming .bat script will include this functionality.


Feedback, improvements and critique are greatly appreciated. Fork away!


Some ideas for future improvements:

  • Check for unique username
  • Email verification
  • Update openid-selector
  • OAuth login: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox, etc.
  • About page with feedback form
  • Feedback dialog
  • akismet, twitter, modules?