This is a quick introductory documentation for the Ginpar static content generator.

Ginpar works similarly to other engines such as Jekyll, Hugo, or Pelican, but with a narrower and deeper set of functionalities, since it’s very specific in its task.

The two main objectives of Ginpar are:

  • Allowing artists to stop thinking about code when experimenting with the parameters that control the results of the artwork, achieving a quicker feedback loop.
  • Making interactive websites to share the artist’s work, letting users play with the same GUI.

The basic structure of a Ginpar project consists of a config.yaml file, and a sketches directory.

It’s easy to adapt your existing sketches to work with Ginpar. In fact, the only necessary step is to add .parent("artwork-container") to the createCanvas() call.

But to fully take advantage of Ginpar —that is, the interactive sketch with custom parameters—, you need to create a data.yaml file. Check Adapting existing sketches and Specifying the parameters.

To be fully sure of how easy is to use Ginpar, check this example together with its source code. You can ignore requirements.txt, runtime.txt, netlify.toml,, and .gitignore.


For now Ginpar only runs using Python >= 3.6. Future versions will add compatibility with Python 2.


The easiest way to install the latest version of Ginpar is using pip:

pip install ginpar

To make sure it’s installed and working, run:

ginpar --version


Ginpar has an example project ready for installation, it contains the default project structure and a sketch example.

If you’re new to static content generators, this may be the best way to start.

ginpar quickstart

This will create the following directory structure:

├── config.yaml
└── sketches/
    ├── circles/
    │   ├── sketch.js
    │   └── data.yaml
    └── ...

To build the project and start a server, run:

cd quickstart
ginpar serve

And the project will be live in localhost:8080

Now, you can start to modify the contents of config.yaml and sketches/.

Next, you should read Creating new sketches, or Serving & Building.


Alternatively, if you want to start a new project without importing anything extra, run:

ginpar init

This will prompt you for the values to build your configuration file and then create the project using those values.

With this command, you may configure things like the destination and source directories (public and sketches by default).

Check ginpar init or run ginpar init --help for more information.

Creating new sketches

Ginpar has a handy command to start new projects with some configuration already set:

ginpar new [SKETCH]

This will create a new sketch inside your predefined source directory. You must set the name of the sketch when running the command.

Check ginpar new or run ginpar new --help for more information.

Now, you must be specifying the parameters.

Adapting existing sketches

For Ginpar to build the interactive page, you’ll need to add some modifications to your sketch code.

Adding it to the list of sketches

First, make your sketch detectable by Ginpar:

  1. Create a directory my-sketch/ inside sketches/.
  2. Copy your existent sketch script inside my-sketch and rename it to sketch.js.
  3. Create a data.yaml file.

You should end with a structure like this:

└── sketches/
    └── my-sketch/
        ├── sketch.js
        └── data.yaml

Making your sketch compatible with Ginpar

In your createCanvas instruction, add .parent("artwork-container").

Now, you must be specifying the parameters.

Specifying the parameters

Each sketch is a directory that contains two files: sketch.js and data.yaml. The data.yaml file is where the parameters specification takes place.

To create a parameters list, add this to your data file:

date: 2019-11-04
# ... other data
# ...

# Key that contains a list of parameters

  # The name of the parameter must be the key of the element
  # It must match a variable in your sketch.js file

      # Ginpar parameters definition keys. All optional.
      # For a full list check the API
      randomizable: True
      name: My displayed variable name

      # HTML valid attributes
        type: number
        value: 30
        step: 1
        min: 0
        max: 100

Once parsed, Ginpar will produce:

  • A form containing each of the items in the parameters list:
      <div class="form-field">
          <label for="my-variable">
              My displayed variable name
          <input name="my-variable"
      <!-- More form-fields. One for each params element. --->
  • A JS code fragment to update each of the parameters using the form values:
    function updateVars() {
      MY_VARIABLE = document.getElementByID("my-variable").value;
      // More variable updates. One for each params element.

If the type of the input is a number, Ginpar will parse it before assigning it to the variable.

To use this parameters inside your sketch, just use the same name you used as key:

// ==> 30

Serving & Building

Ginpar has two different commands to build your site:

ginpar build

Will build your site into the build_directory path, which by default is public.

ginpar serve

Will build your site and start a new server on localhost:8080. You can specify the port with --port.

Check ginpar serve and ginpar build, or run ginpar serve --help, ginpar build --help to see the full list of options and arguments available.