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Getting Started

This document will walk you through the basics of Render Engine.

Installing Render Engine

In order to use render engine, you must have python 3.9+ installed. You can download python from

Render Engine is available in PyPI and can be installed using pip:

pip install render-engine

Creating your site

Simple Site Layout

Render Engine has a very simple site layout. You can see the example site layout below. The only required files are, but most sites will have content, templates, and static folders.

├── content # markdown files for pages/collections
│  ├── blog
│  │  └──
│  └──
├── static # static files (images, css, javascript)
│  ├── img.jpg
│  └── style.css
└── templates # jinja templates
   └── index.html

Render Engine uses classes to create most of the object. You will need to import the Site and Page/Collection classes you'll need render_engine.


from render_engine import Site, Page, Collection

Creating your Site Object:

The Site class is the main class used to render your pages and collections. It also contains the site variables that will be passed to your templates.


class MySite(Site):
    site_vars = {
      "SITE_TITLE": "My Website",
      "SITE_URL": "",
      "NAME": "Peter Parker",

The site will need to be called prior to referencing it method. This is where you will also pass in the path to your static folder.


site = MySite(static="static")

That path is copied into your generated output_folder.

Creating a Page:

Page objects represent a single webpage on your site. They are rendered using the site's render_page decorator. You can pass any variables into the Page class that you want to be available in your template. There are also some special variables that are used by Render Engine.


class Index(Page):
  title="Welcome to my Page!"

The page that is created there will generate a file called index.html in the output directory. That name comes from the class name but can be defined either in the class itself (using the slug attribute) or in an markdown file (defined with the content_path attribute).

The template variable is the name of the template file that will be used to render the page. The title variable will be passed to the template as title.

The default template engine is jinja2. This means you can use jinja2 syntax in your templates.

# templates/index.html

would render as:

# output/index.html

<h1>Welcome to my Page!</h1>

Adding attributes from a file:

Render Engine can also add attributes to your page from a markdown file. This is useful if you want to add a lot of content to your page. To do this, Render Engine uses frontmatter to parse the attributes at the topc of the markdown file.

# content/
title: Welcome to my Page!
template: index.html

I'm happy that you are here!

In order to use this, you must set the content_path attribute to the path of the markdown file.

class Index(Page):

The end result is the same as the previous example. If we want to get the content of the markdown file, we can pass the content attribute to the jinja2 template.

# templates/index.html

The markdown in content will converted to html and rendered in the template.

<h1>Welcome to my Page!</h1>
<p>I'm happy that you are here!</p>

Creating a Collection:

Collections are a group of pages that are rendered using the same template and (some) attributes. They are created using the Collection class and the render_collection decorator.


class Blog(Collection):

The content_path attribute is the path to the folder that contains the markdown files for the collection. Every markdown page will be converted into a Page object. The template attribute is the name of the template that will be used to render each page in the collection.

You an also pass custom attributes to the collection. These attributes will be passed into each page in the collection as well.

Custom Collections

We named our collection Blog but if you noticed there aren't a lot of features that come with a blog included. Render Engine has a built in Blog class that you can use to create a blog. It will automatically create a collection of posts and a page for each post. It will also create a page for the blog index and an RSS Feed.

It's still rendered using the same render_collection decorator.


class Blog(Blog):

Generating your site

Once you have your site's build file (in our case, you can generate the site by running the generate method on your site object.


Your site will be generated in the output folder. You can change the output folder by passing in the output_folder attribute to the Site class.