Originally, I built the San Diego Python users group website as static HTML hosted on Github pages. However, as time progressed, the group wanted to have posts for our events with links to presentations and whatnot. I looked at Jekyll but what would a Python users group be generating its website with Ruby. Normally, I’m all about using the best tool for the job, but all of the group’s leads/members know Python. I settled on Pelican which seems to be the most fully featured of the Python static website generators out there.
Under ideal conditions I would have one repository that hosted all our markdown/reST files and also contained the static HTML output that Github serves. Project pages are a great way to do that and Pelican already has some integration. Your markdown/reST goes in the master branch and your HTML output goes in the gh-pages branch. ghp-import facilitates this quite nicely. There is already a make target for it in Pelican!
I already had pythonsd.org and normally on Github pages, pointing to a custom domain is as simple as adding a CNAME file. One tricky part that I didn’t realize is the CNAME file needs to be in the gh-pages branch. I added an extra line to the Makefile to copy it to the output which automatically gets put into the gh-pages branch by ghp-import. If you don’t do this, your CNAME file will be overwritten by the next “make github”.
I considered having two repositories because I had some doubts about how clean a one repo solution would be. In the end, I just needed to figure out exactly what ghp-import was doing. It worked fine and accomplishes exactly what I want.