Generate directory stuctures from templates in emacs
Emacs Lisp Shell
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I doubled you. I twinned you. Equal and original. And tasty.


Kaarvok is a directory template system. It allows you to create templates of directories which will be filled-in by variables you describe. Variable names can appear both in files and file or directory names.

Creating templates

Templates can be created by putting the desired directories and files in the kaarvok-templates-directory (by default “~/.emacs.d/templates”). Files ending in .etpl will be looked through for possible substitutions, other files are copied directly. File and directory names can just be or contain variables and will be expanded.

Variables are delimited by the kaarvok-template-var-delimiter (by default “$!”).

Using templates

Once a proper template has been made it can be used. Every file and directory in the template is iterated over and each file’s and directory’s name is looked over to check for variables. Any file ending in .etpl is also looked through for variables. Any other file is just copied to the destination.

The value for each variable is requested as it is encountered. After you give a value it is stored under the variable’s name and used again at later occurrences. These values are stored in the kaarvok-value-alist, as such you could fill this variable with some values to (semi-)automate the template to directory process.

The dot (.) in a variable’s value is replaced by a slash (/) when put in a file or directory name. This causes, for example oni.project.module to turn into the directory structure oni/project/module. This was done to help with the creation of Java projects, where modules separated by dots appear as a directory hierarchy on the file-system with the same names.

Invoking kaarvok

This project is primarily an Emacs module, but because one of my friends dislikes Emacs I also made a shell script which works mostly the same way.

The Emacs way

The main entry point from within Emacs is the kaarvok-create-project-from-template command. When called it will ask you which template you would like to use and where you would like to send it to. Any variables that have unknown values will be asked for whenever they’re found.

The Shell way

Using the shell script you need to specify the template name and destination on the command-line. This will call Emacs in batch mode and will also request a value for each variable as they are found.


This project is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 or (at your option) any later version. You can read the terms of this license here.