Tidying up Pelican's URLs with the Flex theme

Posted on Sun 23 October 2016 in Tech

This is just a brain-dump of tweaks I've made to my Pelican environment to get tidy URLs. In summary: One theme tweak, one Nginx tweak.

Making the Flex Theme drop the ugly url#slug format:

I've decided I'm going to roll with the Flex theme for a while. I like it, but it had this habit of putting anchors and slugs into my article URLs.

For example, my first page is known to Pelican as "welcome-to-the-internet". However, links to the page were automatically created as "welcome-to-the-internet#welcome-to-the-internet". It seems redundant. Also, it says the same thing twice. It repeats itself.

I discovered the issue in the Flex theme. It's under /templates/index.html, circa lines 7 and 29. Simply change:

{{ article.url }}#{{ article.slug }}

... to...

{{ article.slug }}


I haven't submitted a pull request to Alexandre, because I suspect it's intentional.

Getting Nginx to serve tidy urls:

By default, Pelican creates great urls like {server}/Ramblings/welcome-to-the-internet

This is great, but it CREATES files like /var/www/Ramblings/welcome-to-the-internet.html

Nginx by default doesn't see "welcome-to-the-internet" and automatically serve "welcome-to-the-internet.html". The lack of a file extention means that the .html file is fundamentally a different file, so it returns a handy-dandy 404 error instead.

To fix this, open /etc/nginx/sites-available/yoursite, and find:

location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

Change it to the following - note I've added $uri.htm and $uri.html, to inform Nginx that it should try appending .htm or .html onto the end of a uri if it can't find the page:

location / {
    try_files $uri.htm $uri.html $uri =404;

All done, happy tidy URLs!