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Software Carpentry Web Site


We have moved our website to Please submit new material there.

This repository holds the source for the old version of the Software Carpentry web site.


Software Carpentry is an open source/open access project, and we welcome contributions of all kinds. By contributing, you are agreeing that Software Carpentry may redistribute your work under these licenses.

Setting Up

Rebuilding the web site locally to check changes requires:

  • Jekyll, used to compile templated HTML pages
  • Python 3, used for pre- and post-processing

We use Jekyll because it's what GitHub uses; we use Python because most of our volunteers speak it. The Python packages we depend on can be installed using:

$ pip3 install -r requirements.txt

We try to use the same MarkDown interpreters as GitHub does for consistency. On OS X, we suggest you use a recent Ruby to get access to these. If you don't have Homebrew or MacPorts installed, here's a quick recipe to get started using HomeBrew:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
brew install ruby
gem install jekyll
gem install RedCloth


The commands used to rebuild the website are stored in Makefile.

  • Type make on its own to see a list of all available commands.
  • Type make clean to get rid of generated files.
  • Type make cache to rebuild cached information about workshops and repositories. You only need to do this once a day or so, since that information changes relatively infrequently, but you do need to do it at least once before you can preview the website. (Depending on your machine, this takes 15-30 seconds.)
  • Type make site to build everything in _site for testing. (Depending on your machine, this takes about 10-15 seconds.) You can then open _site/index.html and other pages in _site to see what your changes will look like.

Note: You must have Jekyll 2.5 or later. If you have an older version installed, you can update it with:

gem update

Note: Disqus comments will not load properly, since you'll be on your machine rather than our server.


The simplest way to create a new blog post is to mail the text to Greg Wilson, who will format it and post it for you. If you'd like to submit your post as a pull request, then:

  1. Fork this repository on GitHub, and clone that to your desktop.

  2. Create a file blog/YYYY/MM/post-name.html, where YYYY is a four-digit year and MM is a two-digit month. (The directories YYYY and YYYY/MM will already exist unless you're the first person to blog this month or this year.)

  3. Fill in the metadata at the top of the file (or if you have copied an existing blog post, edit the values):

    • layout must be blog.
    • author must be the author's name. (It does not need to be quoted.)
    • title is the post title.
    • date the date of the post (in YYYY-MM-DD format).
    • time must be an HH:MM clock time, such as 09:30. Every post must have a unique timestamp so that posts can be ordered.
    • category must be a list of category identifiers, e.g., ["Euphoric State University", "Assessment"] You can use an empty list if you want, and we'll fill in categories for you.
  4. Use HTML to write the post.

    • Use <!-- start excerpt --> and <!-- end excerpt --> to mark a paragraph or two at the start as the excerpt to show in feed readers.
    • If you need to refer to our email address, it is {{}}.
    • If you need to refer to another post, or something else on the site, use {{page.root}}/path/to/file.
  5. Please add any images your blog post needs to the same blog/YYYY/MM directory as the post itself. Please use lower-case names without special characters for image files.

  6. When you're satisfied with your post, git add path/to/post and git commit -m "Adding a blog post about something or other" will commit it to your local copy (on your laptop).

  7. git push origin master will push it to your clone on GitHub (assuming you've added your fork on GitHub as a remote called origin).

  8. Go to GitHub and issue a pull request from your clone to swcarpentry/site, then assign it to gvwilson for proof-reading.

Adding a Workshop

Email the workshop's URL to the administrators so that they can add it to our database. The workshop will then show up on the main website the next time it is rebuilt(which typically happens hourly).

For More Advanced Users

make site (and its partners make dev and make install) do the following:

  1. Run bin/ to create the ./_config.yml file required by Jekyll and the _includes/recent_blog_posts.html file containing excerpts of recent blog posts. This tool collects metadata about blog posts and workshops and combines it with static configuration information.

  2. Run Jekyll to build the web site.

  3. Run bin/ to generate the RSS feed file feed.xml.

  4. Run bin/ to generate the ICal calendar file workshops.ics.

  5. Copy ./_htaccess to create the .htaccess file for the web site.

bin/ needs two generated files to work properly:

  • _workshop_cache.yml: stores information about recent and upcoming workshops. This file is created by bin/

  • _dashboard_cache.yml: stores information about Software Carpentry's GitHub projects. This file is created by bin/

The tool used to rebuild the dashboard cache requires credentials in order to run, since use of GitHub's API is throttled for unauthenticated users and programs. If you wish to regenerate these files:

  1. Get a GitHub API token.

  2. Save it in a file called git-token.txt in the root directory of this site. (This file is ignored by Git, since tokens should not be shared between people.)

After that, you can run make cache to re-create the two files. Please do not commit them.


Software Carpentry uses Open Badges to recognize people's skills and accomplishments. To create badges, you must install PyPNG module:

$ pip3 install pypng

Use bin/ to create a new badge, e.g.:

$ python3 bin/ username email instructor

To bake the badge we use bin/ which was provided by the Open Badge Team.