Generate Julia package skeletons using a simple template system
43 Stars
Updated Last
7 Months Ago
Started In
June 2019


lifecycle build

Julia package for creating new packages and updating existing ones, following common practices and workflow recommendations.

This package may overwrite existing files. While care has been taken to ensure no data loss, it may nevertheless happen. Keep backups, commit to a non-local git repository, and use at your own risk.


The package is registered. Add with

pkg> add PkgSkeleton


import PkgSkeleton
PkgSkeleton.generate("target_directory") # uses default template


  1. Various defaults (described below) are collected from your environment, eg your name, e-mail address, and Github account name (from git global settings). You can override these using a keyword argument.

  2. If target_directory does not exist, it is created with an empty git repository. Conversely, if the directory exits but is not a git repository, generation is aborted.

  3. Files in template are copied recursively, with various substitutions (as described below). Unless you are explicitly allowing overwrites, uncommitted files in the repository are not modified.

After this, you probably want to pkg> dev destination/directory in Julia, and add your Github repository as a remote.

See ?PkgSkeleton.generate for details.

Updating existing packages

Best practices and recommended setups change with time. The recommended workflow for updating existing packages using templates from this package is the following.

  1. Make sure that this package is of the latest version, eg with pkg> up.

  2. Make sure that everything that is part of a template is committed in version control. This is very important: when files are overwritten, work may be lost, so PkgSkeleton.generate prefers not to overwrite existing files.

  3. Run


    and see the output for what was modified.

  4. Use your favorite git interface for reviewing the change. Pick and commit what you like, discard the rest of the changes.

Custom templates

Just create directories with text (code, Markdown, TOML) files, substitutions between {}s will be replaced in filenames and their contents.


For the default template, you need to set the git configuration variables,, and github.user.

Templates replace the following in files and filenames:

string replacement
{PKGNAME} name of the package
{UUID} look in existing Project.toml, in the local registry copies, fallback to a random UUID
{GHUSER} git config --get github.user
{USERNAME} git config --get
{USEREMAIL} git config --get
{YEAR} the current year

Design principles

  1. Keep it simple: do nothing more than substitute strings into templates, with a few safeguards. This keeps the code simple: currently less than 300 LOC without docstrings. For me, this covers 99% of the use cases; the rest I edit manually.

  2. Tread ligthly: don't modify uncommitted files (unless asked to, but really don't do that), or files with the same content (to preserve timestamps).

  3. Assume that tooling for packages will keep changing, make it easy to update.

Used By Packages

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