How I upgraded this website to Pelican 3.3

There are quite a few changes in Pelican 3.3 - most of them minor, but a few which might mean making some changes to your site in order to upgrade. This is what I did to move my site from Pelican 3.2 to 3.3.

The change that had the biggest impact and took the most work was around image linking - caused by a combination of things. I think I was doing it wrong before and things changed in a way that meant this no longer worked. I also had to update my Better Figures & Images plugin to take this into account.

Previously, I’d been linking to my images like this, both in my theme:

/* Theme CSS Image Link */
background: #2C71B8 url(/static/images/blueprint-background.png) repeat;
{# Theme HTML/Jinja image link #}
<meta name="twitter:image" content="{{ SITEURL }}/static/images/favicon-128x128.png">

and in my content:

.. image:: /static/images/dunc_smiling_192x192.jpg

.. figure:: /static/images/pages/404-error.png

This is linking to the output location of the final images, in the /output/static/images folder. I don’t think this is the way you’re supposed to do it - and it doesn’t appear to work with Pelican 3.3.

The way you’re supposed to do it, I think, is to use a place-holder for the first bit of the path and, effectively, link to the source location of the file, not the destination. The relevant documentation is here - and the above examples now look like this:

/* Theme CSS Image Link - not processed, so no place-holder */
background: #2C71B8 url(/images/blueprint-background.png) repeat;
{# Theme HTML/Jinja image link - not processed, so no place-holder #}
<meta name="twitter:image" content="{{ SITEURL }}/images/favicon-128x128.png">
.. image:: {static}/images/dunc_smiling_192x192.jpg

.. figure:: {static}/images/pages/404-error.png

Theme Changes

The theme changes were the same: I removed the /static from the start of any image links. Because the theme files aren’t content, they don’t get processed by Pelican, so you don’t use the {static} place-holder here. All the changes looked something like this:

- <meta name="twitter:image" content="{{ SITEURL }}/static/images/test.png">
+ <meta name="twitter:image" content="{{ SITEURL }}/images/test.png">

You can see the Git commit with all the theme changes here, in the Blueprint Theme Repository.

Content Changes

The syntax for linking to source content has been changed in order to ensure compatibility with Markdown and reST extensions. For example, the new syntax for Markdown: [a link relative to content root]({static}/article1.md) The previous |filename|/article1.md syntax will continue to be supported for backwards compatibility. – Pelican Blog

Again, this is the related to image linking - and is the same change as above. This:

.. image:: /static/images/dunc_smiling_192x192.jpg

.. figure:: /static/images/pages/404-error.png
    :target: /static/images/pages/404-error.png

becomes this:

.. image:: {static}/images/dunc_smiling_192x192.jpg

.. figure:: {static}/images/pages/404-error.png
    :target: {static}/images/pages/404-error.png

You need to do this in every post that has images. Fortunately this was simple to search & replace. On some posts I also have an extra piece of metadata called thumbnail, that also needed updating. This isn’t processed by Pelican, so no place-holder here:

-:thumbnail: /static/images/posts/post-name/image.jpg
+:thumbnail: /images/posts/post-name/image.jpg

Configuration Changes

Since the FILES_TO_COPY setting has been deprecated, you should replace it with the STATIC_PATHS and EXTRA_PATH_METADATA settings. The relevant part of my settings file changed like this:

 # static paths will be copied under the same name
-STATIC_PATHS = ["images"]
+    'images',
+    'extras'

 # A list of extra files to copy from the source to the destination
-    ('extras/.htaccess', '.htaccess'),
-    ('extras/robots.txt', 'robots.txt'),
-    ('extras/favicon.ico', 'favicon.ico'),
+    'extras/.htaccess': {'path': '.htaccess'},
+    'extras/robots.txt': {'path': 'robots.txt'},
+    'extras/favicon.ico': {'path': 'favicon.ico'},

You can see the Git commit with all the content & configuration changes here, in the site repository.

Plugin Changes

A special case for me is the {static}/posts/tech/better-figures-and-images-plugin-for-pelican.adoc[Better Figures & Images plugin]. I use this plugin and I also wrote it - and it stopped working.

In order to debug it, I first added in some logging support. I added this at the top with the other imports:

import logging
logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)

and then some of this further down to output the paths that the plugin was seeing:

logger.debug('Better Fig. PATH: %s', instance.settings['PATH'])
logger.debug('Better Fig. img.src: %s', img['src'])

This made it easier to figure out what I needed to change. The path handling code in the plugin was never very good, so I changed it from this mess:

# TODO: Pretty sure this isn't the right way to do this, too hard coded.
# There must be a setting that I should be using?
src = instance.settings['PATH'] + '/images/' + os.path.split(img['src'])[1]

#src = instance.settings['PATH'] + '/images/' + os.path.split(img['src'])[1]

# The method mentioned above is only working if the images are really in the "images" folder.
# It's also not working on subdirectories inside the image folder
# Both issues are fixed:
# Changed the static "/images/" string to the proper path which is extracted from the 'split' tuple
# The first 7 letters are cutted ("/static") to get a valid link.
# Somehow the static folder isn't created in the output folder. It's only on the server after 'make ftp_upload'
src = instance.settings['PATH'] + os.path.split(img['src'])[0][7:] + '/' + os.path.split(img['src'])[1]

to this slightly more robust mess:

logger.debug('Better Fig. PATH: %s', instance.settings['PATH'])
logger.debug('Better Fig. img.src: %s', img['src'])

img_path, img_filename = path.split(img['src'])

logger.debug('Better Fig. img_path: %s', img_path)
logger.debug('Better Fig. img_fname: %s', img_filename)

# Strip off {static}, |filename| or /static
if img_path.startswith(('{static}', '|filename|')):
    img_path = img_path[10:]
elif img_path.startswith('/static'):
    img_path = img_path[7:]
    logger.warning('Better Fig. Error: img_path should start with either {static}, |filename| or /static')

# Build the source image filename
src = instance.settings['PATH'] + img_path + '/' + img_filename

logger.debug('Better Fig. src: %s', src)
if not (path.isfile(src) and access(src, R_OK)):
    logger.error('Better Fig. Error: image not found: {}'.format(src))

This code basically strips the leading {static}, |filename| or /static from the image path, then looks for the original source image inside the current content folder (as set by the PATH setting in your config). This new code also contains lots more logging for debugging and reporting any errors or warnings. You can see the complete Git commit for the plugin changes here and the full article on the plugin here.

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