a command line tool to apply templates defined on github
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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 https://raw.github.com/n8han/conscript/master/setup.sh | 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 provide your GitHub credentials: –username and token– in ~/.gitconfig:

$ git config --global github.user username
$ git config --global github.token 0123456789yourf0123456789token

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 default.properties defines template fields and their default values using the Java properties file format.

Properties can be simple keys and values that replace them, but ls properties tell giter8 to query the ls.implicit.ly web API. Instead of supplying a particular version (and having to update the template with every release), specify a library and giter8 will set the value to the latest version according to ls.

The property value format is ls(library, user, repo). The second two parameters are optional, but it is a good idea to specify the github at least the user or organization that is bound to the library, in case someone else ever publishing a library module with the same name.

The n8han/giter8.g8 template itself uses this feature to refer to the latest version of the giter8 sbt plugin.

name = My Template Project
description = Creates a giter8 project template.
giter8_version = ls(giter8-plugin, n8han)

StringTemplate, wrapped by Scalasti, is the engine that applies 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.


The package field, if defined, is assumed to be the package name of the user's source. A directory named $package$ expands out to package directory structure. For example, net.databinder becomes net/databinder.

The verbatim field, if defined, is assumed to be the space delimited list of file patterns such as *.html *.js. Files matching verbatim pattern are excluded from string template processing.

Formatting template fields

Giter8 has built-in support for formatting template fields. Formatting options can be added when referencing fields. For example, the name field can be formatted in upper camel case with:


The formatting options are:

upper    | uppercase    : all uppercase letters
lower    | lowercase    : all lowercase letters
cap      | capitalize   : uppercase first letter
decap    | decapitalize : lowercase first letter
start    | start-case   : uppercase the first letter of each word
word     | word-only    : remove all non-word letters (only a-zA-Z0-9_)
Camel    | upper-camel  : upper camel case (start-case, word-only)
camel    | lower-camel  : lower camel case (start-case, word-only, decapitalize)
hyphen   | hyphenate    : replace spaces with hyphens
norm     | normalize    : all lowercase with hyphens (lowercase, hyphenate)
snake    | snake-case   : replace spaces with underscores
packaged | package-dir  : replace dots with slashes (net.databinder -> net/databinder)

A name field with a value of My Project could be rendered in several ways:

$name$ -> "My Project"
$name;format="camel"$ -> "myProject"
$name;format="Camel"$ -> "MyProject"
$name;format="normalized"$ -> "my-project"
$name;format="lower,hyphen"$ -> "my-project"

Note that multiple format options can be specified (comma-separated) which will be applied in the order given.

For file and directory names a format option can be specified after a double underscore. For example, a directory named $organization__packaged$ will change org.somewhere to org/somewhere like the built-in support for package. A file named $name__Camel$.scala and the name awesome project will create the file AwesomeProject.scala.

Using the giter8-plugin

Giter8 supplies an sbt plugin for testing templates before pushing them to a github branch. If you used the n8han/giter8.g8 template recommended above, it should already be configured. If you need to upgrade an existing template project to the current plugin, you can add it as a source dependency in project/project/plugins.scala:

import sbt._
object PluginDef extends Build {
  lazy val root = Project("plugins", file(".")) dependsOn( g8plugin )
  lazy val g8plugin =
    ProjectRef(uri("git://github.com/n8han/giter8#0.4.1), "giter8-plugin")

And settings must be applied in a build.sbt file in the project base:

seq(giter8Settings :_*)    

When you enter sbt's interactive mode in the base directory of a template project that is configured to use this plugn, the action g8-test will apply the template in the default output directory (under target/sbt-test) and run the scripted test for that project in a forked process. You can supply the test scripted as src/test/g8/test, otherwise >test is used. 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 g8 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.