Open Project theme by Ribose

Open Project is a Jekyll theme (with the accompanying plugin) aiming to help organizations and individuals present open-source software and specifications in a navigable and elegant way.

Open Project fits two types of sites: that describe one individual project, and that combine projects into sort of an open hub.

Demo: See Ribose Open project sites—for example, Metanorma, RNP, Cryptode, Relaton.

See also: CI_OPS for how to set up automated build and deployment of sites to AWS S3.


Starting a site with this theme

Getting started with Ruby and Jekyll

The currently recommended Ruby version is 2.6. (In case you aren’t using Ruby often, the easiest way to install one may be with RVM.)

The currently recommended Jekyll version is 3 or newer (read about Jekyll installation).

Note: this theme is known to not work with Ruby older than 2.3, and hasn’t been tested on newer versions.

Start new Jekyll site

jekyll new my-open-site

If you use Git for site source version management, see the “Extra .gitignore rules” section below for additional lines you should add to your .gitignore.

Installing theme

Add this line to your Jekyll site's Gemfile, replacing default theme requirement:

gem "jekyll-theme-open-project"

(Jekyll’s default theme was “minima” at the time of this writing.)

Also in the Gemfile, add two important plugins to the :jekyll_plugins group. (The SEO tag plugin is not mandatory, but these docs assume you use it.)

group :jekyll_plugins do
  gem "jekyll-seo-tag"
  gem "jekyll-sitemap"
  gem "jekyll-data"
  gem "jekyll-asciidoc"

  gem "jekyll-theme-open-project-helpers"
  gem "jekyll-external-links"

  # ...other plugins, if you use any

Execute the following to install dependencies:

$ bundle

Configuring site

Edit _config.yml to add necessary site-wide configuration options, and add files and folders to site contents. This step depends on the type of site you’re creating: hub or individual project site.

Further sections explain core concepts of open project and hub, and go into detail about how to configure a project or hub site.

Building site

Execute to build the site locally and watch for changes:

$ bundle exec jekyll serve --host mysite.local --port 4000

This assumes you have mysite.local mapped in your hosts file, otherwise omit --host and it’ll use “localhost” as domain name.

General setup

These settings apply to both site types (hub and project).

  • You may want to remove the default page added by Jekyll, as this theme does not account for its existence.

  • Add hero_include: home-hero.html to YAML frontmatter in your main

  • Add following items to site’s _config.yml (and don’t forget to remove default theme requirement there):

  # Site’s URL with protocol, without optional www. prefix
  # and without trailing slash.
  # Used e.g. for marking external links in docs and blog posts.

  # URL to GitHub repo for the site.
  # Using GitHub & specifying this setting is currently required
  # for “suggest edits” buttons to show on documentation pages.

  title: Example
  description: The example of examples
  # The above two are used by jekyll-seo-tag for things such as
  # `<title>` and `<meta>` tags, as well as elsewhere by the theme.

  tagline: Because examples are very important
  # Used in hero unit on main page.


    name: Full Organization Name

  # no_auto_fontawesome: yes
  # Specify this only if you want to disable free Font Awesome CDN.
  # IMPORTANT: In this case your site MUST specify include head.html with appropriate scripts.
  # Theme design relies on Font Awesome “solid” and “brands” icon styles
  # and expects them to be included in SVG mode.
  # Without this setting, one-file FA distribution, all.js, is included from free FA CDN.

  theme: jekyll-theme-open-project
  permalink: /blog/:month-:day-:year/:title/

By “logo” is meant the combination of site symbol as a graphic and name as word(s).

  • Symbol is basically an icon for the site. Should look OK in dimensions of 30x30px, and fit inside a square. Should be in SVG format (see also the SVG guidelines section).

    • Drop your site-wide symbol in /assets/symbol.svg.
    • Drop PNG renders of the symbol as favicon.png and favicon-192x192.png under /assets/; use transparent background.
  • Site name displayed to the right of the symbol. Limit the name to 1-3 words.

Drop a file called title.html in the root of your site. In its contents you can go as simple as {{ }} and as complex as a custom SVG shape.

Note that it must look good when placed inside ~30px tall container. In case of SVG, SVG guidelines apply.

If you want to style SVG with CSS specifying rules for .site-logo descendants: take care, as this may cause issues when hub site’s logo is used in context of a project site. (You can use inline styling within the SVG.)


Project sites and hub site can have a blog.

In case of the hub, blog index will show combined timeline from hub blog and projects’ blogs.


Create blog index page as _pages/blog.html, with nothing but frontmatter. Use layout called "blog-index", pass hero_include: index-page-hero.html, and set title and description as appropriate for blog index page.


title: Blog
description: >-
  Get the latest announcements and technical how-to’s
  about our software and projects.
layout: blog-index
hero_include: index-page-hero.html


In general, posts are authored as per usual Jekyll setup.

It is recommended that you provide explicit hand-crafted post excerpts, as automatically-generated excerpts may break post card markup.

Theme also anticipates author information within frontmatter. Together with excerpts, here’s how post frontmatter (in addition to anything already required by Jekyll) looks like:

# Required
  - email: <author’s email, required>
    use_picture: <`gravatar` (default), `assets`, an image path relative to assets/, or `no`>
    name: <author’s full name>

# Recommended
excerpt: >-
  Post excerpt goes here, and supports inline HTML formatting only.

# Optional. Cover image. Would normally refer to an illustration from within the post.
# First post, if it has card_image specified, will be displayed with bigger layout
# featuring the image.
card_image: <path, starting with /assets/>

For hub-wide posts, put posts under _posts/ in site root and name files e.g. 2018-04-20-welcome-to-jekyll.markdown (no change from the usual Jekyll setup).

If use_picture is set to "assets", author photo would be expected to reside under assets/blog/authors/<author email>.jpg.

For project posts, see below the project site section.

Hub site

The hub represents your company or department, links to all projects and offers a software and specification index.

Additional items allowed/expected in _config.yml:

is_hub: true

# Since a hub would typically represent an organization as opposed
# to individual, this would make sense:
  type: Organization

    namespace_id: "Human-readable namespace name"
    # E.g.:
    # writtenin: "Written in"
    namespace_id: "Human-readable namespace name"

Project, spec and software data

Each project subdirectory must contain a file "" with frontmatter like this:

title: Sample Awesome Project
description: A sentence or two about what the project is for.
tagline: Because awesomeness is underrated

# Whether the project is included in featured three projects on hub home page
featured: true | false

  git_repo_url: <Git URL to standalone project site source repo>

home_url: <URL to standalone project site>

tags: [some, tags]

Project index page

Create software index in _pages/projects.html, with nothing but frontmatter. Use layout called "project-index", pass hero_include: index-page-hero.html, and set title and description as appropriate.


title: Open projects
description: Projecting goodness into the world!
layout: project-index
hero_include: index-page-hero.html

Software index page

Create software index in _pages/software.html, with nothing but frontmatter. Use layout called "software-index", pass hero_include: index-page-hero.html, and set title and description as appropriate.


title: Software
description: Open-source software developed with MyCompany’s cooperation.
layout: software-index
hero_include: index-page-hero.html

Specification index page

Create spec index in _pages/specs.html, with nothing but frontmatter. Use layout called "spec-index", pass hero_include: index-page-hero.html, and set title and description as appropriate.


title: Specifications
description: Because specifications are cool!
layout: spec-index
hero_include: index-page-hero.html

Project site

For standalone sites of each of your projects, _config.yml should include site-wide title that is the same as project name.

Additional items allowed/expected in _config.yml:

  - name: Your Name
    email: [email protected]

author: "Company or Individual Name Goes Here"

# Any given open project site is assumed to be part of a hub,
# and hub details in this format are required to let project site
# reference the hub.
  git_repo_url: [email protected]:path/to-repo.git

  api_key: '<your Algolia API key>'
  index_name: '<your Algolia index name>'

# Only add this if you want to use Algolia’s search on your project site.

    namespace_id: "Human-readable namespace name"
    # E.g.:
    # writtenin: "Written in"
    namespace_id: "Human-readable namespace name"
# NOTE: Tag namespaces must match corresponding hub site’s configuration entry.

landing_priority: [custom_intro, blog, specs, software]
# Which order should sections be displayed on landing.
# Default order: [software, specs, blog]
# Depending on your project’s focus & pace of development you may want to change that.
# Supported sections: featured_posts, featured_software, featured_specs, custom_intro.
# If you use custom_intro, project site must define an include "custom-intro.html".
# The contents of that include will be wrapper in section.custom-intro tag.
# Inside the include you’d likely want to have introductory summary wrapped
# in section.summary, and possibly custom call-to-action buttons
# (see site for an example).

File structure

Each project is expected to have a machine-readable and unique name, a title, a description, a symbol, one or more software products and/or specs. Blog, docs, and other pages are optional.

Following data structure is used for project sites:

- <project-name>/    # Jekyll site root containing _config.yml
  - assets/
    - symbol.svg     # Required — project logo
  - _software/
    - <name>.adoc
    - <name>/
      - assets/
        - symbol.svg
  - _specs/
    - <name>.adoc
  - _pages/
    - blog.html
    - software.html  # Software index
    - specs.html     # Spec index
    - docs.html
  - docs/            # Project-wide documentation
    - getting-started.adoc
    - <some-page>.adoc
  - _posts/          # Blog
    - 2038-02-31-blog-post-title.markdown
  - _layouts/
    - docs.html


Author project site blog posts as described in the general site setup section.

Project docs

Two kinds of docs can coexist on a given open project site:

  • Project-wide documentation. It’s well-suited for describing the idea behind the project, the “whys”, for tutorials and similar.
  • Documentation specific to a piece of software (of which there can be more than one for any given open project). This may go in detail about that piece of software, and things like implementation specifics, extended installation instructions, development guidelines may go here.

This section is about project-wide docs, for software docs see software and specs section.

The suggested convention is to create _pages/docs.adoc for the main documentation page, put other pages under docs/, and create custom layout docs.html that inherits from docs-base, specifies html-class: docs-page and provides navigation structure linking to all docs pages in a hierarchy.

Example _layouts/docs.html:

layout: docs-base
html-class: docs-page
docs_title: <Project name>
  - title: Introduction
      - title: "Overview"
        path: /docs/
      - title: "Get started"
        path: /docs/getting-started/

{{ content }}

Example _pages/docs.adoc:

layout: docs
title: Overview
html-class: >-
  # ^^ classes you can use to style the page in your custom CSS rules

Your main docs page goes here.

Software and specs

An open project serves as an umbrella for related software products and/or specifications.

Each product or spec is described by its own .adoc file with frontmatter, placed under _software/ or _specs/ subdirectory (respectively) of your open project’s Jekyll site.

A software product additionally is required to have a symbol in SVG format, placed in /assets/symbol.svg within _software/ directory.

YAML frontmatter that is expected with both software and specs:

title: A Few Words
# Shown to the user
# and used for HTML metadata if jekyll-seo-tag is enabled

description: A sentence.
# Not necessarily shown to the user,
# but used for HTML metadata if jekyll-seo-tag is enabled

tags: [Ruby, Python, RFC, "<some_namespace_id>:<appropriate_tag>"]
# Note: Avoid whitespaces and other characters that may make Jekyll
# percent-encode the tag in URLs. Replace " " (a regular space)
# with "_" (underline); underlines will be rewritten as spaces when tags
# are presented to site users.
# Tag can be prepended with a namespace to signify the type,
# e.g. chosen programming language or target viewer audience
# (see hub site configuration for tag namespace setup).
# Avoid long namespace/tag combos as they can overflow item’s card widget.

  - url:
  - url:…/
  - { url:, title: "Custom title" }
# External links.
# For software, typically points to docs sites or source code repository.
# For specs, this usually contains RFC, IETF links, spec source code.
# * Link label can be specified with the title key.
#   Select URLs are recognized and an appropriate label
#   (possibly icon) is shown by default,
#   otherwise you **should** specify the title.
#   Currently, recognized URLs include
#   GitHub,, RubyDoc,
# * Order links according to importance for project site visitors.
#   The first link will be highlighted as primary.

feature_with_priority: 1
# With this key, software or spec will be featured on home
# page of project site. Lower number means higher priority
# (as in, priority no. 1 means topmost item on home page,
# as long as there aren’t others with the same value).
# If no documents in the collection have this key,
# items on home will be ordered according to Jekyll’s
# default behavior.

Software product

YAML frontmatter required for software:

# Required.
# Used for things like showing how long ago
# the was project updated last.

  git_repo_url: [email protected]:path/to-repo.git
  git_repo_subtree: docs
# Documentation, the contents of which will be made part of the project site.
# See the nearby section about documentation.

Displaying software docs

Inside the repository and optionally subtree specified under docs in above sample, place a file navigation.adoc (or containing only frontmatter, following this sample:

- title: Introduction
  path: intro/
    - { title: Overview, path: intro/overview/ }
    - { title: Installation, path: intro/installation/ }
- { title: Usage, path: usage/ }

= Navigation

In the same directory, place the required document pages—in this case, overview.adoc, installation.adoc, and basic-usage.adoc. Each file must contain standard YAML frontmatter with at least title specified.

During project site build, Jekyll pulls docs for software that’s part of the site and builds them, converting pages from Markdown/AsciiDoc to HTML and adding the navigation.


YAML frontmatter specific to specs:

  git_repo_subtree: images
    engine: png_diagrams
# See below about building the spec from its source
# to be displayed on the site.

  - name: Model diagrams
    - title: "CSAND Normal Document"
      path: "Csand_NormalDocument"
      description: ""
      ignore_missing: yes

Displaying specification contents

While software doc pages are currently simply generated using standard Jekyll means from Markdown/AsciiDoc into HTML, building specs is handled in a more flexible way, delegating the source -> Open Project site-compatible HTML conversion to an engine.

For specs to be built, provide build config and navigation in the YAML frontmatter of corresponding _specs/<specname>.adoc file as described in spec YAML frontmatter sample.

For now, only the png_diagrams engine is supported, with Metanorma-based project build engine to come.

During project site build, Jekyll pulls spec sources that’s part of the site and builds them, converting pages from source markup to HTML using the engine specified, and adding the navigation.


Should look OK in dimensions of about 30x30, 60x60px. Must fit in a square. Should be in SVG format (see also the SVG guidelines section). Place the symbol in assets/symbol.svg within project directory.

SVG guidelines

  • Ensure SVG markup does not use IDs. It may appear multiple times on the page hence IDs would fail markup validation.
  • Ensure root <svg> element specifies the viewBox attribute, and no width or height attributes.
  • You can style SVG shapes by adding custom rules to site’s assets/css/style.scss.
  • Project symbols only: the same SVG is used both in hub site’s project list (where it appears on white, and is expected to be colored) and in project site’s top header (where it appears on colored background, and is expected to be white). It is recommended to use a normal color SVG, and style it in project site’s custom CSS. The SVG must be created in a way that allows this to happen.

Content guidelines

  • Project, software, spec title: 1-3 words, capital case
  • Project, software, spec description: about 12 words, no markup
  • Project description (featured): about 20-24 words, no markup
  • Blog post title: 3–7 words
  • Blog post excerpt: about 20–24 words, no markup

Authoring content

Content is expected to be authored in AsciiDoc. Some features, such as in-page navigation in software/project documentation and code listing copy buttons, require HTML structure to match the one generated from AsciiDoc by jekyll-asciidoc and won’t work with content is authored in Markdown, for example.

Disabling copy button on code listings

By default, each code listing widget, like below, will have a copy button next to the <pre> element.

docker pull ribose/metanorma

To disable that button for a particular listing, add .nocopy class to it:

docker pull ribose/metanorma

Theme includes

Commonly used overridable includes are (paths relative to your site root):

  • title.html: Site name in case you want to provide custom typography, possibly as SVG.

  • project-nav.html (currently project sites only): Additional links in project site’s top navigation, if needed.

  • assets/symbol.svg: Site-wide symbol is used as an include to facilitate path fill color overrides via CSS rules.

Include location gotcha

Theme configuration adds includes_dir: . to your site. This means when Jekyll encounters {% include <include_name> %} in a template, it looks first in <site root>/<include_name>, and then in <theme root>/_includes/<include_name>. Consequently, you put your include overrides directly in site root, not inside _includes/ directory of your site.

Theme layouts

Normally you don’t need to specify layouts manually, except where instructed in site setup sections of this document.

Commonly used layouts are:

  • blog-index: Blog index page. Pages using this layout are recommended to supply hero_include.

  • post: Blog post.

  • project-index: Open project index page (hub site only). Suggested to supply hero_include. Will show a list of open projects across the hub.

  • software-index: Software index page (hub site only). Suggested to supply hero_include. Will show a list of software across projects within the hub.

  • spec-index: Specification index page (hub site only). Suggested to supply hero_include. Will show a list of specs across projects within the hub.

  • product: Software product (project site only).

  • spec: Open specification (project site only).

  • default: Main layout; among other things adds html-class specified in frontmatter of last inheriting layout and the concrete page frontmatter to the <body> element.

Page frontmatter

Typical expected page frontmatter is title and description. Those are also used by jekyll-seo-tag plugin to add the appropriate meta tags.

Commonly supported in page frontmatter is the hero_include option, which would show hero unit underneath top header. Currently, theme supports _includes/index-page-hero.html as the only value you can pass for hero_include (or you can leave hero_include out altogether).

Style customization

To customize site appearance, create a file in your Jekyll site under assets/css/style.scss with following exact contents:

// Font imports can go here

// Variable redefinitions can go here

@import 'jekyll-theme-open-project';

// Custom rules can go here

There are two aspects to theme customization:

  • Cutomize SASS variables before the import (such as colors)
  • Define custom style rules after the import

Custom rules

One suggested custom rule would be to change the fill color for SVG paths used for your custom site symbol to white, unless it’s white by default.

The rule would look like this:

.site-logo svg path {
  fill: white;

SASS variables

Following are principal variables that define the appearance of a site built with this theme, along with their defaults.

For a project site, wisely choosing primary and accent colors should be enough as a minimum.

$font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif !default;
$main-font-color: black !default;

# Primary color & accent colors are used throughout site’s UI.
# Make sure to use shades dark enough that white text is readable on top,
# especially with the primary color.
# Make sure these colors go well with each other.
$primary-color: lightblue !default;
$accent-color: red !default;

# These colors are used for warning/info blocks within body text.
$important-color: orange !default;
$warning-color: red !default;

# Background used on home page body & other pages’ hero unit backgrounds.
$main-background: linear-gradient(315deg, $accent-color 0%, $primary-color 74%) !default;

# This background defaults to $main-background value.
$header-background: $main-background !default;

# Below does not apply to project sites (only the hub site):

$hub-software--primary-color: lightsalmon !default;
$hub-software--primary-dark-color: tomato !default;
$hub-software--hero-background: $hub-software--primary-dark-color !default;

$hub-specs--primary-color: lightpink !default;
$hub-specs--primary-dark-color: palevioletred !default;
$hub-specs--hero-background: $hub-specs--primary-dark-color !default;

TIP: A good way to find a good match for primary-color and accent-color may be the website. Find a suitable, dark enough gradient and pick one color as primary, and the other as accent.

Extra .gitignore rules

Add these lines to your .gitignore to prevent theme-generated files and directories from adding chaos to your Git staging.



Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at

This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributor Covenant code of conduct.

Theme development

Generally, this directory is setup like a Jekyll site. To set it up, run bundle install.

To experiment with this code, add content (projects, software, specs) and run bundle exec jekyll serve. This starts a Jekyll server using this theme at http://localhost:4000.

Put your layouts in _layouts, your includes in _includes, your sass files in _sass and any other assets in assets.

Add pages, documents, data, etc. like normal to test your theme's contents.

As you make modifications to your theme and to your content, your site will regenerate and you should see the changes in the browser after a refresh, like normal.

When your theme is released, only files specified with gemspec file will be included. If you modify theme to add more directories that need to be included in the gem, edit regexp in the gemspec.

Building and releasing

Manual test during development

When you’re working on visual aspects of the theme, it’s useful to see how it would affect the end result (a site built with this theme).

Here’s how to develop the theme while simultaneously previewing the changes on a site. The sequence would be as follows, assuming you have a local copy of this repo and have a Jekyll site using this theme:

  1. For the Jekyll site, change Gemfile to point to local copy of the theme (the root of this repo) and run bundle.

For example, you’d change gem "jekyll-theme-open-project", "~> 1.0.6" to gem "jekyll-theme-open-project", :path => "../jekyll-theme-open-project". The relative path assumes your site root and theme root are sibling directories.

  1. Run bundle exec jekyll serve to start Jekyll’s development server.

  2. Make changes to both theme and site directory contents.

  3. If needed, kill with Ctrl+C then relaunch the serve command to apply the changes you made to the theme (it may not reload automatically if changes only affect the theme and not the site you’re serving).

  4. Once you’re satisfied, release a new version of the theme — see below.

  5. (To later bump the site to this latest version: revert the Gemfile change, update theme dependency version to the one you’ve just released, run bundle --full-index to update lockfile properly, and your site is ready to go.)


Make sure theme works: build script is under construction, so use good judgement and thorough manual testing.

  1. Pick the next version number (think whether it’s a patch, minor or major increment).

  2. Release the chosen version of jekyll-theme-open-project-helpers gem: see

(Theme and plugin are coupled tightly at this time, and to simplify mental overhead of dependency management we go with one version number for the whole suite.)

  1. Inside .gemspec within this repo’s root, update main gem version, and also the version for jekyll-theme-open-project-helpers runtime dependency, to the one we are releasing.

  2. Run bundle --full-index, ensure it pulls the newly released plugin gem. (It may take a couple minutes after releasing helpers plugin for gem index to update.)

  3. Make a commit for the new release (“chore: Release vX.X.X”).

  4. Execute ./develop/release. This does the following:

  • Builds new gem version
  • Pushes gem to
  • Creates new version tag in this repository
  • Pushes changes to GitHub

Testing with build script (TBD)

May not work at the moment — see #26. Please use the other test option.

To check your theme, run:


It’ll build Jekyll site and run some checks, like HTML markup validation.


The theme is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.