Pelican Plugins

Microblogging 1.1.0 for Pelican Released

Microblogging is a plugin for Pelican, a static site generator written in Python.

Microblogging is a plugin to allow you to have “micro” (or “µ” or small) posts, similarly (at least outwardly) to Twitter, Mastodon, or Threads.

This is by no means a complete replacement for Twitter (or Mastodon), but if you want to record your thoughts, especially your short ones, on your own site, this should allow you to do that. (For longer thoughts, at this point you’ve already got Pelican set up, so don’t be afraid to create “real” blog posts!)

For best results, you probably want to upgrade your theme to support µposts, but it should work out of the box with your existing theme (assuming it supports posts generally). Seafoam will have a release presently with support for µposts.

Pull Requests to extend the functionality of the plugin are by all means welcomed!


The simplest way to install (and upgrade) Microblogging is to use pip:

pip install minchin.pelican.readers.microblog --upgrade

If you’re using seafoam as your theme, you will want to upgrade that to at least v2.9.0.


The plugin tries to provide sensible defaults, and so no configuration should be necessary to get it up and running.

Available configuartion options (place these in your file) and their defaults:


Folder containing your µposts, relative to your content root folder.


How long should your µposts be limited to. Pelican will emit a warning if you exceed this.


What to save the µposts’ output file as. Defaults to using the same file structure as you are using for articles (aka “regular” posts). c.f. MICROBLOG_URL.

MICROBLOG_SLUG = “u{date:%Y%m%d%H%M}”

The slug that will be used for µposts. Eg. u202307091701. Note that Pelican expects slugs to be universally unique.


What URL to post the µposts to. Defaults to using the same URL structure as you are using for articles (aka “regular” posts). c.f. MICROBLOG_SAVE_AS.

Sample µposts

These are samples of what the source for µposts might look like. Place them in a subfolder called micro of your main content folder.

Basic µpost:

<!-- ./content/micro/ -->

date: 2023-07-09 17:01

I'm microblogging with Pelican!

Or a post with an (featured) image:

<!-- ./content/micro/ -->

date: 2023-07-11 21:38
image: images/birger-strahl-olI66vtMgNo-unsplash.jpg

Microblog posts can have "feature" images too! (URL of photo should
automatically be added.)

The image path is relative to your content folder. A URL of the photo is added to the end of the post as well.

Or with tags (or hashtags):

<!-- ./content/micro/ -->

date: 2023-07-13 14:56
tags: Python, Pelican, Microblogging

I'm now Microblogging with Pelican!

This will add links at the end of your post to the tags to the tag page for your (Pelican) site.

For now, the plugin is not smart enough to pull tags out of the body of your post.

Updating Your Theme

Although updating your theme is not strictly necessary, you will probably get more satifactory results if you do. Some pointers as you go about your update:

  • µposts are considered Articles by Pelican, and will be included in the articles and dates lists” provided by the templating engine.
  • each µpost is tagged with article.micro = True, so this can be used as a test for conditional formating.
  • µposts have a title (as required for Pelican), but you probably want to hide/not display the title, as titles are of the form u201307180934.
  • µposts are short; by default they are encouraged to be no more than 140 displayed characters. If you intend to abide by that, there are several places (like your archive list) where it may make sense to show the whole µpost (article.content) rather than the title and a link to the full post page.

Release History

This release is v1.1.0, released July 13, 2023.

  • feature: Support hashtags, if given in frontend post metadata. See Issue #7.

Version 1.0.0, released July 11, 2023.

  • feature: Support feature image for microblog posts.
  • feature: Supports basic posting and processing of “micro” blog posts. Posts are assumed to be written in Markdown (so plain text works as well). Posts must have a date metadata key.
  • Initial public release!

Known Issues

  • hashtags can’t be pulled out of post body
  • µposts seem to mess up the ordering of the articles list passed to the templating engine. Use dates instead (which is sorted by date)?
  • text (metadata and body) processing relies on Pelican’s built-in Markdown reader.

Personal Thoughts (on the Plugin, Development, and Microblogging)

In terms of development, it is perhaps interesting to note that this project was “Readme Driven Development”1, where I first wrote the Readme file, and then developed the feature set to be able to provide what I’d outlined in the Readme. I was able to do this initial “development work” on my phone in vim2 (via Termux), but I was glad to move to the larger screen of my desktop for the coding portion, in particular because I was updating another plugin (autoloader), updating my Pelican theme (seafoam), and taking random dives into the Pelican documentation and codebase all as I developed this plugin. The update to seafoam will be released as soon as I have this blog post to link to. :)

It has also been very satisfying to go from idea to working in under a week.

I’m still not certain how this will effect my personal blog. Part of me still longs for the early days of Facebook when I could privately post random thoughts on my Wall for my friends to see. That died when Facebook played with the privacy settings so many times that I wasn’t convinced they intended to keep anything private (plus, most of my social life had moved elsewhere). I’ve had a Twitter account for years, but never really used it to post anything. With the current chaos at Twitter and excitement around Mastodon (and Threads), I considered setting up a Mastodon account, but it seems the sensible thing would be to stand up my owner server for my own account; this is way less work! The missing part of this plugin in its current form is the social aspect, and that will take more thought on how to implement. For now, I have comments via email, as with any other post on this site.

So will I be comfortable write more microposts? Will they seem less serious, and so can be off the cuff? Time will see, I guess.

Let me know how it works for you if you install this, and if you don’t, let me know what keeps you from using this.

Other Links

  1. as opposed to Test Driven Developement (TDD) or Behavior Driven Development (BDD). Tom Preston-Werner actually provides a good overview of the theory of Readme Driven Development. 

  2. I’m still looking for a good “graphical” plain text editor for my Android phone. Suggestions? 

Other posts

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