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Home page source code. Source lies in branch source. Github build goes to master.


  1. Install bundle and project dependencies

    bundle install

  2. Add content. See here for details.

  3. Collect updates from github repositories mentioned in files.

    bundle exec rake collect

    Running this uses unauthenticated requests to Github's API. The limit is 60 per hour. Recommended way is to generate a personal token ( and run collect command as

    env GH_TOKEN='<token-here>' bundle exec rake collect

  4. Serve/build with jekyll

    bundle exec jekyll serve
    bundle exec jekyll build

Contributing / adding content

The website uses jekyll and most of the pages get their content directly using the markdown/html template, except a few pages for which the data source is a kept in separate files and then is injected to the template via plugins kept in _plugins.

  • Team members data go in _data/team.yml
  • Publications go in _data/publications.yml
  • New sections for 'research' and 'teaching' page go in _research and _teaching directory respectively.

Pull requests should go to source branch (not master) since travis builds the website from there.

A short description of the data files follow:


This contains publications that get displayed on the /publications page. A full featured entry for a publication looks something like the following:

title: Title of the publication
doi: >
  [Optional] doi like 10.1371/journal.pone.0035564. This adds the links for
  'Open doi link' and 'Save to mendeley'.
slug: >
  Unique identifier which also maps to a pdf in ./pdfs/publications/<slug>.pdf
  (in case a pdf link is not provided) and an image in
journal: [Optional] Journal name
year: year
volume: [Optional] volume
pages: [Optional] pages
authors: Name of authors (this should be a yaml list but is just a string right now)
keywords: >
  [Optional] Comma separated keywords (this also should be a list but is string
  as of now)
abstract: Abstract
preprint: [Optional] Link to a preprint
pdf: >
  [Optional] Link to pdf. This takes priority over
github: [Optional] Github repository identifier like <user>/<repo>


This contains information about lab members. An entry looks like this:

name: Member name
role: Role
description: Blurb
image: >
  A full url to an image (like or path to local
  image file (like /images/people/foo.png)
# Links is a list of links the member wants to show under his/her description
# In case of no links, put '[]' (empty list) here.
  - name: Link name
    url: Url
  - name: Link 2
    url: Url
type: >
  [Optional] The type of member. This is different than role and is used to
    categorize list of members in sections like 'Alumni'.

research and teaching sections

Both the research and teaching page are organized in terms of sections or themes which map to a set of markdown files in the directories _research and _teaching respectively. Each files contains metadata in its yaml front matter and the section's summary as its main text. Here is an example markdown file:

title: Section title text
image: /images/research/foo.png # The image for the section
# A list of projects which can either be a github identifier or a dictionary
# with title and description keys
  - user/repo
  - group/repo
  - title: Project title
    description: Project description
publications: >
  [Optional] Comma separated keywords mapping to that of _data/publications.yml
Here goes the section summary.


Overall, the source code follows the usual jekyll structure. We use a few additional custom scripts/plugins to work with data files like _data/team.yml. This section documents the peripheral tooling involved.

1. Plugins

Plugins in ./_plugins read in the data from ./_data, ./_research and ./_teaching and provide them as variables in the corresponding pages (like ./teaching.html for _teaching).

Since the plugin and html file for research and teaching look very similar, we generate both of them from a single source file using ribosome. We call these pages (research and teaching) thematic pages. The ruby plugin file is generated from ./_scripts/theme-gen-gen.rb.dna and the html file from ./_scripts/theme-page.html.dna. The process is scripted in the rakefile and is described in the next section.

2. Rake tasks

We use rake for specifying and running tasks.. The main tasks are collect and build.


Before building the website, we need to collect some metadata (last commit information etc.) about github repositories listed in the files ./_research/*.md and ./_teaching/*.md. This involves using the github api and running the script ./_scripts/collect-repos.rb. The following command runs this task and produces an updated ._data/repositories.yml file with all the metadata required:

bundle exec rake collect

Since github api has limits, we need to pass a token so that the task can finish successfully:

env GH_TOKEN='<token-here>' bundle exec rake collect


This is the main build task which just wraps around jekyll's own build.

bundle exec rake build


This task generates a thematic page template (the html file). It needs two extra arguments,

  1. The name of the theme page (like 'research' or 'teaching')
  2. Short text (divider text) which goes over the list of projects (like 'LINKS' in teaching and 'PROJECTS' in research)

The command below will produce a page ./teaching.html with a divider text 'ITEMS'.

bundle exec rake tpen[teaching,items]


This produces a ruby plugin for corresponding (html of the same name) thematic page. It needs one extra argument which is the name of the theme page.

The command below produces a plugin ./_plugins/teaching.rb and works with the template page ./teaching.html using data from _/teaching directory.

bundle exec rake ggen[teaching]

3. Travis

We use travis to run the website build process every time commits are pushed on github. Travis also rebuilds the website each night so that the information collected about the github repositories stays fresh.

The main file for travis is ./ which checks for a few things (like which branch are we building for) and runs the rake tasks collect and build. Once done, it pushes the generated static html files to the repository's master branch. For pushing, it needs an authentication key which is kept encrypted in the file ./deploy_key.enc.


The website for the Reich Lab @ UMass-Amherst.




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