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Giter8 is a command line tool to generate files and directories from templates published on github. It's implemented in Scala and runs through the Simple Build Tool launcher, but it can produce output for any purpose.


You can install giter8 and other Scala command line tools with Conscript. This will setup Conscript in ~/bin/cs:

curl | sh

(See Conscript's readme for a non-unixy option.) Once cs is on your path, you can install (or upgrade) giter8 with this command:

cs n8han/giter8

To make sure everything is working, try running g8 with no parameters. This should download giter8 and its dependencies, then print a usage message.

When it's time to upgrade to a new version of giter8, just run the same cs command again.

Giter8 is also installable with the OS X package manager Homebrew:

$ brew update && brew install giter8


Template repositories must reside on github and be named with the suffix .g8. We're keeping a list of templates on the wiki, and you can query github to list all templates with a .g8 suffix from the command line:

$ g8 --list

To apply a template, for example, softprops/unfiltered.g8:

$ g8 softprops/unfiltered.g8

The .g8 suffix is assumed:

$ g8 softprops/unfiltered

Either way, giter8 resolves this to the softprops/unfiltered.g8 repository and queries github for the project's template parameters. You'll be prompted for each parameter, with its default value in square brackets:

name [My Web Project]: 

Enter your own value or press enter to accept the default. After all values have been supplied, giter8 fetches the templates, applies the parameters, and writes them to your filesystem.

If the template has a name parameter, it will be used to create base directory in the current directory (typical for a new project). Otherwise, giter8 will output its files and directories into the current directory, skipping over any files that already exist.

Once you become familiar with a template's parameters, you can enter them on the command line and skip the interaction:

$ g8 softprops/unfiltered.g8 --name=my-new-website

Any unsupplied parameters are assigned their default values.

Private Repositories

Giter8 accesses GitHub anonymously by default, but for private templates you can supply a name and token or password in ~/.gh:


Making your own templates

The g8 runtime looks for templates in the src/main/g8 directory of a given github project. This structure is used so that it is easy (but not required) for the template itself to be an sbt project. That way, an sbt plugin can be employed to locally test templates before pushing changes to github.

The easy way to start a new template project is with a giter8 template made expressly for that purpose:

$ g8 n8han/giter8

This will create an sbt project with stub template sources nested under src/main/g8. The file defines template fields and their default values using the Java properties file format. Every other file in that directory and below it is a template source.

StringTemplate, wrapped by Scalasti, is the engine for giter8 templates, so template fields in source files are bracketed with the $ character. For example, a "classname" field might be referenced in the source as:

class $classname$ {

The name field, if defined, is treated specially by giter8. It is assumed to be the name of a project being created, so the g8 runtime creates a directory based off that name (with spaces and capitals replaced) that will contain the template output. If no name field is specified in the template, g8's output goes to the user's current working directory. In both cases, directories nested under the template's source directory are reproduced in its output. File and directory names also participate in template expansion, e.g.


If you enter sbt's interactive mode in the base directory of a template project, the action "g8-sbt-test" will apply the template in the default output directory (under target/g8) and run sbt update test for that project in a forked process. This is a good sanity check for templates that are supposed to produce sbt projects.

But what if your template is not for an sbt project?


You can still use sbt's interactive mode to test the template. The lower level write-templates action will apply default field values to the template and write it to the same target/g8 directory.

As soon as you push your template to github (remember to name the project with a .g8 extension) you can test it with the actual g8 runtime. When you're ready, add your template project to the the wiki so other giter8 users can find it.

Question(s) that will probably be frequent

Isn't this like Lifty?

Nope. Lifty is an sbt processor, meaning it runs inside of sbt itself. You can't run sbt or any processor until you have a project to run it in. Giter8 addresses step 1 of sbt project creation. You could use giter8 create a Lift project, then run Lifty inside it for fine tuning. You can also use giter8 to produce things that are not sbt projects at all.

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