Generator Plugins

Many pub-server packages rely on generator plugins, usually to provide specialized handlebars helpers.

Generator plugins are "universal" npm modules. They run in node.js, as well as in browsers.

Here is the pub-config entry from pub-theme-doc.

generatorPlugins: './plugins/generator-plugin.js',

The file path follows the node.js require(path) convention of using relative paths for modules which are local files and bare names for installable npm modules.

Here is the plugin:

module.exports = function(generator) {

  var u = generator.util;
  var opts = generator.opts;
  var hb = generator.handlebars;

  hb.registerHelper('navIcon', function(frame) {

    return hb.defaultFragmentHtml('/#navicon',
      '_!bars fw lg_',
      '<span class="icon">=</span>',

  hb.registerHelper('docTitle', function(frame) {
    var title = opts.docTitle || opts.pkgName || 'pub-server';
    var subTitle = opts.docSubTitle || '';

    return hb.defaultFragmentHtml('/#doctitle',
      '# [' + title + '](/)\n' + subTitle,
      '<h1><a href="/">' + u.escape(title) + '</a></h1>' + subTitle,

  hb.registerHelper('topMenu', function(frame) {
    var url = opts.github || hb.githubUrl();

    return hb.defaultFragmentHtml('/#topmenu',
      url ? '- [_!github lg fw_](' + url + ' "github")' : '',
      url ? '<ul><li><a href="' + url + '">github</a></li></ul>' : '',


Generator plugins are expected to export a single function which is called once at startup. The function is passed a single generator parameter which is an instance of pub-generator.

Registering helpers

Plugins can register new helpers using the handlebars instance at generator.handlebars.

An interesting example is the generator plugin in pub-pkg-font-awesome which, besides registering some helpers, also replaces a small part of generator.renderer to extend the markdown syntax for emphasis/italics.

Manipulating the generator page model

Plugins which need to manipulate the page content model after it has been loaded from source, can do so by hooking into a 'pages-ready' event emitted by the generator after loading source files and parsing all the markdown and templates

generator.on('pages-ready', function() {

Note that the pages-ready event will be triggered each time the server reloads sources e.g. when watching directories for changes.

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