mó bǎn - 模板 General purpose static text generator

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Author:C.W. and its contributors (See contributors.rst)


For existing moban users, python 2 support has been dropped. Please stay with versions lower than 0.7.0 if you are still using python 2.

From 2020 onwards, minimum requirement is Python 3.6


moban started with bringing the high performance template engine (JINJA2) for web into static text generation.

moban can use other python template engine: mako, handlebars, velocity, haml, slim and tornado, can read other data format: json and yaml, and can access both template file and configuration file in any location: zip, git, pypi package, s3, etc.

It has been used in pyexcel and coala project to keep documentation consistent across the documentations of individual libraries in the same organisation.

And here is a list of other usages:

  1. Django Mobans, templates for django, docker etc.
  2. Math Sheets, generate custom math sheets in pdf


Any template, any data in any location


If you like moban, please support me on, patreon or bounty source to maintain the project and develop it further.

With your financial support, I will be able to invest a little bit more time in coding, documentation and writing interesting extensions.


jinja2-fsloader is the key component to enable PyFilesystem2 support in moban v0.6x. Please show your stars there too!


You can install it via pip:

$ pip install moban

or clone it and install it:

$ git clone http://github.com/moremoban/moban.git
$ cd moban
$ python setup.py install

Quick start

$ export HELLO="world"
$ moban "{{HELLO}}"
Templating {{HELLO}}... to moban.output
Templated 1 file.
$ cat moban.output


$ export HELLO="world"
$ echo "{{HELLO}}" | moban

Or simply

$ HELLO="world" moban "{{HELLO}}"

A bit formal example:

$ moban -c data.yml -t my.template
$ cat moban.output

Given data.yml as:

hello: world

and my.template as:


moban.output will contain:


Please note that data.yml will take precedence over environment variables.

Moban in live action:


All use cases are documented here

Templates and configuration files over HTTP(S)

httpfs should be installed first.

$ moban -t 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/moremoban/pypi-mobans/dev/templates/_version.py.jj2'\
  -c 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/moremoban/pypi-mobans/dev/config/data.yml'\
  -o _version.py

In an edge case, if github repo’s public url is given, this github repo shall not have sub repos. This library will fail to translate sub-repo as url. No magic.

Templates and configuration files in a git repo

gitfs2 is optional since v0.7.0 but was installed by default since v0.6.1

You can do the following with moban:

$ moban -t 'git://github.com/moremoban/pypi-mobans.git!/templates/_version.py.jj2' \
        -c 'git://github.com/moremoban/pypi-mobans.git!/config/data.yml' \
        -o _version.py
Info: Found repo in /Users/jaska/Library/Caches/gitfs2/repos/pypi-mobans
Templating git://github.com/moremoban/pypi-mobans.git!/templates/_version.py.jj2 to _version.py
Templated 1 file.
$ cat _version.py
__version__ = "0.1.1rc3"
__author__ = "C.W."

Templates and configuration files in a python package

pypifs is optional since v0.7.0 but was installed by default since v0.6.1

You can do the following with moban:

$ moban -t 'pypi://pypi-mobans-pkg/resources/templates/_version.py.jj2' \
        -c 'pypi://pypi-mobans-pkg/resources/config/data.yml' \
        -o _version.py
Collecting pypi-mobans-pkg
Installing collected packages: pypi-mobans-pkg
Successfully installed pypi-mobans-pkg-0.0.7
Templating pypi://pypi-mobans-pkg/resources/templates/_version.py.jj2 to _version.py
Templated 1 file.
$ cat _version.py
__version__ = "0.1.1rc3"
__author__ = "C.W."

Work with S3 and other cloud based file systems

Please install fs-s3fs:

$ pip install fs-s3fs

Then you can access your files in s3 bucket:

$ moban -c s3://${client_id}:${client_secrect}@moremoban/s3data.yml \
        -o 'zip://my.zip!/moban.output' {{hello}}
$ unzip my.zip
$ cat moban.output

Where the configuration sits in a s3 bucket, the output is a file in a zip. The content of s3data.yaml is:

hello: world

CLI documentation

usage: moban [-h] [-c CONFIGURATION] [-t TEMPLATE] [-o OUTPUT]
             [-td [TEMPLATE_DIR [TEMPLATE_DIR ...]]] [-cd CONFIGURATION_DIR]
             [-m MOBANFILE] [-g GROUP] [--template-type TEMPLATE_TYPE]
             [-d DEFINE [DEFINE ...]] [-e EXTENSION [EXTENSION ...]] [-f]
             [--exit-code] [-V] [-v]

Static text generator using any template, any data and any location.

positional arguments:
  template              string templates

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
                        the data file
  -t TEMPLATE, --template TEMPLATE
                        the template file
  -o OUTPUT, --output OUTPUT
                        the output file

Advanced options:
  For better control

  -td [TEMPLATE_DIR [TEMPLATE_DIR ...]], --template_dir [TEMPLATE_DIR [TEMPLATE_DIR ...]]
                        add more directories for template file lookup
                        the directory for configuration file lookup
  -m MOBANFILE, --mobanfile MOBANFILE
                        custom moban file
  -g GROUP, --group GROUP
                        a subset of targets
  --template-type TEMPLATE_TYPE
                        the template type, default is jinja2
  -d DEFINE [DEFINE ...], --define DEFINE [DEFINE ...]
                        to supply additional or override predefined variables,
                        format: VAR=VALUEs
                        to to TEMPLATE_TYPE=EXTENSION_NAME
  -f                    force moban to template all files despite of

Developer options:
  For debugging and development

  --exit-code           tell moban to change exit code
  -V, --version         show program's version number and exit
  -v                    show verbose, try -v, -vv, -vvv

Exit codes

By default:

  • 0 : no error
  • 1 : error occured

With –exit-code:

  • 0 : no changes
  • 1 : has changes
  • 2 : error occured

Change log

0.7.5 - 21.5.2020


  1. #167: reverse what moban have done: delete

0.7.4 - 13.5.2020


  1. #378: suppress stdout message from deprecated pip install. but please do not use and migrate deprecated`requires` syntax.

0.7.3 - 2.5.2020


  1. Added continuous check in travis for setup.py descriptions. No impact to moban user.

0.7.2 - 1.5.2020


  1. Support for templates and configuration files over HTTP(S) protocol with httpfs! Yepee!

0.7.1 - 25.04.2020


  1. #365: regression was introduced by v0.6.5. If you uses mobanfile as data configuration file, you are very likely to have this show stopper. Please upgrade to this version.

0.7.0 - 18.01.2020


  1. #360: make gitfs2 and pypifs optional.
  2. #303: python 2.7 support is dropped.


  1. #360: show friendlier error when unknown protocol exception was raised.

0.6.8 - 7.12.2019


  1. since version 0.5.0, when rendering a single file or string, moban would report ‘Templated 1 of 0 files’, which should have been ‘Templated 1 file.’


  1. python 3.4 support is gone because colorama requires Python ‘>=2.7, !=3.0.*, !=3.1.*, !=3.2.*, !=3.3.*, !=3.4.*’

0.6.7 - 1.12.2019


  1. no verbose for error, -v for warning, -vv for warning+info, -vvv for warning+info+debug
  2. #351, show template plugin name, i.e. ‘copying’ for copy instead of ‘templating’


  1. Message: ‘Warning: Attempting to use environment vars as data…’ became warning log
  2. Message: ‘Warning: Both data.yml and /…/.moban.cd/data.yml does not exist’ became warning log
  3. with -v, you would see them in such a situation

0.6.6 - 10.11.2019


  1. support moban file inheritance. one base moban file and child repos can inherit and override

0.6.5 - 13.10.2019


  1. #335: support intermediate targets in moban file

0.6.4 - 4.10.2019


  1. Command options have been grouped. –template_type became –template-type
  2. Increment gitfs2 to version 0.0.2. gitfs#4

0.6.3 - 25.09.2019


  1. #260: jinja-cli parity: support command line pipe stream.

0.6.2 - 15.09.2019


  1. #322: Implicit targets with template extensions default to copy
  2. #257: ‘-e’ to load extensions for template engines, i.e. jinja2
  3. #333: command line template fails with version 0.6.1

0.6.1 - 10.09.2019


  1. #328: update backward compatibility

0.6.0 - 10.09.2019


  1. #205: support pyFilesystem2
  2. #185: -v will enable moban application logging for development. And -V is for version.
  3. #325: -vv show debug trace
  4. #126: Allow mobanfile to include data from arbitrary config files
  5. #256: jinja2-cli parity: ‘-d hello=world’ to define custom variable on cli


  1. #275: fix moban 0.4.5 test failures on openSUSE Tumbleweed

0.5.0 - 14.07.2019


  1. #277: Restored dependency git-url-parse, replacing incompatible giturlparse which was used during moban 0.4.x
  2. #281: Fixed unicode support on Python 2.7
  3. #274: Updated ruamel.yaml dependency pins to restore support for Python 3.4, and prevent installation of versions that can not be installed on Python 3.7
  4. #285: Fixed CI testing of minimum requirements
  5. #271: Fixed repository caching bug preventing branch switching
  6. #292: Reformatted YAML files according to yamllint rules
  7. #291: Fixed filename typos in README
  8. #280: Added CI to ensure repository is in sync with upstream
  9. #280: sync setup.py from pypi-mobans

0.4.5 - 07.07.2019


  1. #271: support git branch change in later run.

0.4.4 - 26.05.2019


  1. #265: Use simple read binary to read instead of encoding

0.4.3 - 16.03.2019


  1. #253: symbolic link in regression pack causes python setup.py to do recursive include


  1. #209: Alert moban user when git is not available and is used.


  1. #261: since moban group template files per template type, this fill use first come first register to order moban group

0.4.2 - 08.03.2019


  1. #234: Define template parameters on the fly inside targets section
  2. #62: select a group target to run


  1. #180: No longer two statistics will be shown in v0.4.x. legacy copy targets are injected into a normal targets. cli target is made a clear priority.
  2. #244: version 0.4.2 is first version which would work perfectly on windows since 17 Nov 2018. Note that: file permissions are not used on windows. Why the date? because samefile is not avaiable on windows, causing unit tests to fail hence it lead to my conclusion that moban version between 17 Nov 2018 and March 2019 wont work well on Windows.

0.4.1 - 28.02.2019


  1. #235: user defined template types so that custom file extensions, template configurations can be controlled by moban user
  2. #232: the package dependencies have been fine tuning to lower versions, most of them are dated back to 2017.

0.4.0 - 20.02.2019


  1. #165: Copy as plugins


  1. #219: git clone depth set to 2
  2. #186: lowest dependecy on ruamel.yaml is 0.15.5, Jun 2017

0.3.10 - 03.02.2019


  1. #174: Store git cache in XDG_CACHE_DIR
  2. #107: Add -v to show current moban version
  3. #164: support additional data formats


  1. #178: UnboundLocalError: local variable ‘target’ referenced before assignment
  2. #169: uses GitPython instead of barebone git commands

0.3.9 - 18-1-2019


  1. #90: allow adding extra jinja2 extensions. jinja2.ext.do, jinja2.ext.loopcontrols are included by default. what’s more, any other template enigne are eligible for extension additions.
  2. #158: Empty file base_engine.py is finally removed

0.3.8 - 12-1-2019


  1. #141: disable file permissions copy feature and not to check file permission changes on windows.
  2. #154: introduce first ever positional argument for string base template.
  3. #157: the exit code behavior changed. for backward compactibility please use –exit-code. Otherwise, moban will not tell if there is any changes.

0.3.7 - 6-1-2019


  1. #146: added a low-setup usage mode via environment variables to moban
  2. #148: include test related files in the package for package validation when distributing via linux system, i.e. OpenSuse

0.3.6 - 30-12-2018


  1. #143: moban shall report permission error and continue the rest of the copying task.
  2. #122: Since 0.3.6, moban is tested on windows and macos too, using azure build pipelines. It is already tested extensively on travis-ci on linux os.

0.3.5 - 10-12-2018


  1. #37: moban will report line number where the value is empty and the name of mobanfile. Switch from pyyaml to ruamel.yaml. - 28-11-2018


  1. #137: missing contributors.rst file

0.3.4 - 18-11-2018


  1. global variables to store the target and template file names in the jinja2 engine
  2. moban-handlebars is tested to work well with this version and above


  1. Template engine interface has been clarified and documented

0.3.3 - 05-11-2018


  1. alternative and expanded syntax for requires, so as to accomendate github submodule recursive

0.3.2 - 04-11-2018


  1. configuration dirs may be located by requires, i.e. configuration files may be in a python package or git repository.

0.3.1 - 02-11-2018


  1. #97: requires will clone a repo if given. Note: only github, gitlab, bitbucket for now

0.3.0 - 27-18-2018


  1. #89: Install pypi-hosted mobans through requires syntax


  1. #96: Fix for FileNotFoundError for plugins
  2. various documentation updates


  1. #88: removed python 2.6 support
  2. removed python 3.3 support

0.2.4 - 14-07-2018


  1. #32: option 1 copy a directory without its subdirectories.
  2. #30: command line template option is ignore when a moban file is present

0.2.3 - 10-07-2018


  1. #76: running moban as a module from python command
  2. #32: copy a directory recusively
  3. #33: template all files in a directory

0.2.2 - 16-06-2018


  1. #31: create directory if missing during copying


  1. #28: if a template has been copied once before, it is skipped in the next moban call

0.2.1 - 13-06-2018


  1. templates using the same template engine will be templated as a group
  2. update lml dependency to 0.0.3

0.2.0 - 11-06-2018


  1. #18: file exists test
  2. #23: custom jinja plugins
  3. #26: repr filter
  4. #47: allow the expansion of template engine
  5. #58: allow template type per template


  1. #34: fix plural message if single file is processed

0.1.4 - 29-May-2018


  1. #21: targets become optional
  2. #19: transfer symlink’s target file’s file permission under unix/linux systems
  3. #16: introduce copy key word in mobanfile

0.1.3 - 12-Mar-2018


  1. handle unicode on python 2

0.1.2 - 10-Jan-2018


  1. #13: strip off new lines in the templated file

0.1.1 - 08-Jan-2018


  1. the ability to present a long text as multi-line paragraph with a custom upper limit
  2. speical filter expand github references: pull request and issues
  3. #15: fix templating syntax to enable python 2.6

0.1.0 - 19-Dec-2017


  1. #14, provide shell exit code

0.0.9 - 24-Nov-2017


  1. #11, recognize .moban.yaml as well as .moban.yml.
  2. #9, preserve file permissions of the source template.
  3. -m option is added to allow you to specify a custom moban file. kinda related to issue 11.


  1. use explicit version name: moban_file_spec_version so that version can be used by users. #10 Please note: moban_file_spec_version is reserved for future file spec upgrade. For now, all files are assumed to be ‘1.0’. When there comes a new version i.e. 2.0, new moban file based on 2.0 will have to include ‘moban_file_spec_version: 2.0’

0.0.8 - 18-Nov-2017


  1. #8, verify the existence of custom template and configuration directories. default .moban.td, .moban.cd are ignored if they do not exist.


  1. Colorize error messages and processing messages. crayons become a dependency.

0.0.7 - 19-Jul-2017


  1. Bring the visibility of environment variable into jinja2 templating process: #7

0.0.6 - 16-Jun-2017


  1. added ‘-f’ flag to force moban to template all files despite of .moban.hashes


  1. moban will not template target file in the situation where the changes occured in target file than in the source: the template file + the data configuration after moban has been applied. This new release will remove the change during mobanization process.

0.0.5 - 17-Mar-2017


  1. Create a default hash store when processing a moban file. It will save unnecessary file write to the disc if the rendered content is not changed.
  2. Added summary reports

0.0.4 - 11-May-2016


  1. Bug fix #5, should detect duplicated targets in .moban.yml file.

0.0.3 - 09-May-2016


  1. Bug fix #4, keep trailing new lines

0.0.2 - 27-Apr-2016


  1. Bug fix #1, failed to save utf-8 characters

0.0.1 - 23-Mar-2016


  1. Initial release

Migration Notes

Indices and tables