Builders are small executable chunks that can be linked together to form a useful build process. Products are built by applying builders in sequence. Please see the existing products dictionary and associated comments in the config file for how these are specified.

Builders included with tzk

You can use the following builders in your configuration file out of the box: str = None)None[source]

Fail the build if any of a series of regexes matches a tiddler’s source in the temp wiki.

The temp wiki should be created first using the export_public_tiddlers() builder.

The kill phrases are Python-format regular expressions and may be configured within the wiki, currently in $:/sib/gui/KillPhrases.


kill_phrase_file – The path from the source wiki’s root directory to the config tiddler containing kill phrases. In the default Zettelkasten edition, this is “tiddlers/$__config_zettelkasten_Build_KillPhrases.tid”; if you change the way paths are determined, you can give a different path here. str = 'index.html', output_folder: str = 'output/public_site/', overwrite: bool = True, externalize_attachments: bool = False, attachment_filter: str = '[is[image]]', canonical_uri_template: str = '$:/core/templates/canonical-uri-external-image')None[source]

Compile a single HTML file from the temp wiki.

Before compiling an HTML file, you should create a temp wiki using the export_public_tiddlers() builder, then run any other build steps you want to use to make changes to the wiki being built. Once you compile the HTML file, it will be copied out to an output location outside the temp folder, and the content can no longer be changed through tzk.

  • wiki_name – The filename of the single-file wiki to create. Default index.html.

  • output_folder – The path to the folder where the single-file wiki and any externalized attachments will be placed, relative to the private wiki’s root directory. Default output/public_site.

  • overwrite – If the output_folder already exists, should we overwrite any files in it with the same name? Default True.

  • externalize_attachments – If True, update tiddlers that match the attachment_filter parameter to point to external versions of their content. Only useful if you have previously run the save_attachments_externally builder. Default False.

  • attachment_filter – If externalizing attachments, which tiddlers should be externalized? Default [is[image]].

  • canonical_uri_template – What TiddlyWiki template should be used to determine the new content of the _canonical_uri field? Default $:/core/templates/canonical-uri-external-image. If you’re not sure what this is, don’t change it. Sequence[str])None[source]

Delete selected tiddlers from the output.

This is hopefully self-explanatory.


tiddlers – A list of filenames of tiddlers to delete. str, description: str)None[source]

Copy the output folder to a target location and set its edition description.

This generates a TiddlyWiki edition based on the temporary output. By copying it into an appropriate location or setting the environment variable TIDDLYWIKI_EDITION_PATH to the parent directory of the edition’s folder, it’s possible to quickly generate new TiddlyWikis based on the edition “template” (tiddlywiki --init EDITION_NAME, where the EDITION_NAME is the name of the folder).

  • target_folder – The folder to copy the output folder to. This folder will be deleted if it already exists prior to the copy.

  • description – The description of this edition to use in the new edition’s file. str)None[source]

Export specified tiddlers to a new wiki in the temporary build folder.

new_output_folder() must be run prior to this builder.


export_filter – A TiddlyWiki filter describing the tiddlers to be selected for inclusion in the new wiki.[source]

Create a new temporary folder to hold intermediate steps of the product being built.

The path to this temporary folder will be stored in the public_wiki_folder key of the builders.build_state dictionary. Future build steps can access the work in progress here. A cleaner is registered to delete this folder when all steps complete, so any finished product should be copied out by a later build step once it is complete. str = 'output/public_site/', commit_message: str = 'publish checkpoint', remote: str = 'origin', refspec: str = 'master', push=True)None[source]

Publish the built wiki to GitHub.

  • output_folder – Path to a folder containing the Git repository you’d like to publish, relative to your private wiki’s root directory. This folder should contain the version of your wiki built by the compile_html_file() builder, either directly or in a subfolder somewhere. You need to clone or create the repository yourself and set up the remotes as appropriate before running this step. Default output/public_site.

  • commit_message – Message to use when committing the newly built wiki. Note that all changes in the repository will be committed. Default publish checkpoint.

  • remote – The repository remote to push changes to. If you don’t know what that is, the default of origin is probably correct.

  • refspec – The local branch or refspec to push. Default master.

  • push – If set to False, don’t push after committing the changes (mostly useful for testing purposes). Default True. Callable[[str], str] = None, replace_link_text: bool = False)None[source]

Replace the names of people who are not marked Public with their initials.

If you have lots of PAO (People, Animals, and Organizations) in your Zettelkasten and many of them are personal friends, you might prefer not to make everything you said about them easily searchable on the internet. This is more challenging than simply not marking their tiddlers public, since there will also probably be links to their tiddlers in other tiddlers – and those links contain their full names, if you put them in the title.

This builder replaces all links, bracketed or WikiCamelCase, to the names of all people not tagged Public with the initials suggested by their CamelCase titles (e.g., MsJaneDoe becomes J.D.). The links point to the tiddler PrivatePerson, which explains this process.

  • initialer – If you don’t like the way that initials are generated from tiddler filenames by default, you can customize it by passing a callable that takes one string argument (a tiddler filename without the full path, e.g., MsJaneDoe.tid) and returns a string to be considered the “initials” of that person.

  • replace_link_text – If you have links in the form So then [[John said|MrJohnDoe]] something about this, then enabling this option ensures that the link is fully replaced with So then [[J.D.|PrivatePerson]] something about this. This means that when using this feature, having the link text also be meaningful after redaction is important.


Using this link replacement feature does not redact everything, just the link (and the link text with replace_link_text enabled). So do not rely on it for redacting everything. Making a tiddler public still needs consideration and tooling is there to help, not to replace your own judgment. str)None[source]

Require a specific Git branch to be checked out.

If the branch isn’t checked out, the build will fail immediately. This may be helpful if you want to be sure you aren’t accidentally building a wiki from tentative changes or an old version.


branchname – The name of the branch that must be checked out.[source]

Require the working tree of the Git repository to be clean.

If there are any unstaged changes to existing files or staged changes, the build will fail immediately.

For the standard build process, it is not necessary for the working tree to be clean. However, if you use any custom build steps that compare history, or you simply want to ensure that you always have a recent checkpoint in your local version whenever you publish another version, this may be a useful requirement. str = '[is[image]]', extimage_folder: str = 'extimage')None[source]

Save embedded files in the temp wiki into an external folder.

The temp wiki should be created first using the export_public_tiddlers() builder.

Note that this builder does not finish externalizing images. It saves the images outside the wiki, but it does not change the _canonical_uri and text fields on each image tiddler to point to this new location. For the latter step, use the externalize_attachments, attachment_filter, and canonical_uri_template parameters to the compile_html_file() step.

  • attachment_filter – The tiddlers to be saved to the external folder; by default, [is[image]].

  • extimage_folder – The name of the external folder to save to. This must be the default of extimage to work with the default canonical_uri_template in the compile_html_file() builder, but you can use a different name and a different canonical URI template if you prefer. str)None[source]

Say hi to the specified user.

This function is intended for testing. It will normally succeed and print the provided username, but if you give “Jeff” as the username, the step will fail, and if you give “General Failure” as the username, it will cause an unhandled exception.


username – The name of the person to say hi to. Optional[Dict[str, str]] = None, **kwargs: Dict[str, str])None[source]

Set fields of selected config or other tiddlers to arbitrary new values.

This can be used to make customizations that can’t easily be done with feature flags or other wikitext solutions within the wiki – for instance, changing the subtitle or what buttons are visible. It’s also used to implement feature flags in the first place by changing the $:/config/sib/CurrentEditionPublicity tiddler to public, so at minimum, the build of a public wiki should use:

    '$__config_sib_CurrentEditionPublicity.tid': 'public',

Any number of arguments can be provided. The name of each argument is the name of the field to edit. One positional argument may be used with no name; this argument is assumed to be mappings for replacing the ‘text’ field. str)None[source]

Run an arbitrary shell command.

The builder will fail if a return code other than 0 is returned, otherwise it will succeed. Output will be printed to stdout.


shell_command – A string to be passed to your system’s shell.

Builder helper functions

These helper functions, also defined in, are intended for use with any custom builders you create. str)None[source]

Print information about this build step to the console. str)None[source]

Stop the build due to an error condition.[source]

Decorator which makes a function lazy-evaluable: that is, when it’s initially called, it returns a zero-argument lambda with the arguments initially passed wrapped up in it. Calling that lambda has the effect of executing the builder.

We use this in tzk to allow the user to use function calls in her config to define the build steps, while not requiring her to write a bunch of ugly and confusing lambda:’s in the config. The functions that will be called are prepared during the config and executed later.

Custom builders

If the existing builders don’t cover something you’re hoping to do to build a product, you can write your own builder as a Python function directly within your config file.

As an example, let’s suppose that we want to publish our wiki to an S3 bucket fronted by CloudFront on Amazon Web Services. We can work with AWS using the aws CLI, if we’ve set that up on our computer (we could also use the boto3 Python library, which is cleaner but slightly longer and requires us to muck around with pip, so we’ll do it through the CLI in this example). We first write a builder function decorated with builders.tzk_builder() in our, anywhere above the products dictionary:

from pathlib import Path
import subprocess

def publish_to_aws(target_uri: str, cloudfront_distribution_id: str):
    "Publish output to Amazon S3"
    source_folder = Path(builders.build_state['public_wiki_folder']) / "output"
    # Sync the output folder to S3, deleting any files that have been removed."aws", "s3", "sync", "--delete", source_folder, target_uri))
    # Clear the CDN cache so the new version is available immediately."aws", "cloudfront", "create-invalidation",
                    "--distribution-id", cloudfront_distribution_id, "--paths", "/*"))

builders.build_state is a dictionary that is preserved across all build steps. The new_output_folder() builder populates this public_wiki_folder attribute early in the default build process, so that it contains the path to the temporary wiki that build steps happen within.

The first line of the docstring, in this case "Publish output to Amazon S3", is used as the description of the step in output, with any period at the end removed.

Then we add a call to this builder within the list of steps for this product, with whatever parameters we like:

products = {
    'public': [
        publish_to_aws("s3://my_target_uri", "MY_DISTRIBUTION_ID"),

Since we’ve parameterized this builder, we can easily use it multiple times if we want, for instance within different products. Note that we say just publish_to_aws, not builders.publish_to_aws, since this builder is located directly within the config file rather than in the external module that comes with tzk.


If you do something in a builder that needs to be cleaned up later, like creating a temporary file, assign a cleanup function to the cleaner attribute of your builder:

def aws_cleanup():
    # nothing really needs to be cleaned up, but if it did we'd do it here
publish_to_aws.cleaner = aws_cleanup

Cleanup functions will run after all steps are done, regardless of whether the build succeeds or fails.

Shell commands

If a custom builder seems like overkill or you’re not familiar with Python, you can also run simple shell commands using the shell() builder.

Our AWS example would look like this:

products = {
    'public': [
                                   output_folder="output/public_site/"),"aws s3 sync --delete output/public_site s3://my_target_uri"),"aws cloudfront create-invalidation --distribution-id MY_DISTRIBUTION_ID --paths '/*'"),

Notice the need to include quotes within the string in shell(); the same quoting rules as when running shell commands directly apply. Also notice that we had to access the compiled HTML file from output/public_site, since we can no longer refer to the build_state dictionary to learn where the temporary output folder is. Paths are relative to the private wiki’s root directory (the directory containing the file) while builders are running.