Plugin – lektor-limit-dependencies 1.0.0

Lektor plugin to limit dependencies created by queries

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Version: 1.0.0

Author: Jeff Dairiki


build optimization, Jinja filters, and setup-env

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Project Description

Lektor Limit Dependencies

PyPI version PyPI Supported Python Versions GitHub license GitHub Actions (Tests)

This is an experimental Lektor plugin which aims to provide tools (or, at least, a tool) to help keep Lektor’s dependency tracking under control.


Motivating Example

Suppose that you would like to list the three most recent blog posts in the sidebar of your Lektor-based site. This can be done by adding something like to your site base template:

<h3>Recent Posts</h3>
  {% for post in site.query('/blog').order_by('-pub_date').limit(3) %}
    <li><a href="{{ post|url }}">{{ post.title }}</a></li>
  {% endfor %}

This is not without drawbacks, however. To sort the post query by date, Lektor iterates through all of the blog’s posts, then sorts them. In so doing, it records all of the blog posts as dependencies of every page on which this most-recent-post query is used. If this is in the sidebar of every page on your site, now every page on your site will be rebuilt whenever any blog post at all (not just one of the three most recent posts) is edited.

Technically, it is true that all pages now depend on all posts. You might well edit the pub_date of one of your older posts, such that it should now appear in the most-recent listing. However, it is not true that all pages need to be rebuilt for any edit of any post. Unfortunately, Lektor’s dependency tracking system is not elaborate enough to be able to express details about how pages are dependent on other pages; it only records that they are dependent, so Lektor has no option but to rebuild everything.

A Solution?

This plugin introduces a Jinja filter, limit_dependencies. It expects, as input, a Lektor query instance. It iterates through the input query, and returns a new query instance which will yield the same results. While it is doing its iteration, it — essentially — monkey-patches Lektor’s dependency tracking machinery to prevent it from recording any dependencies.

At the end, limit_dependencies records one dependency on a virtual source object which depends only on the sequence of the identities of the records in the query result. (Lektor provides a means by which virtual source objects can report checksums. The dependency tracking mechanism records those checksums, and will trigger a rebuild should the checksum change. Limit_dependencies generates a virtual source object whose checksum depends on the sequence of identities in the query result.)

In the above example, this is exactly what we want. We only want to trigger a rebuild if the order or composition of the most-recent three posts changes. (Or if any of their titles change. Note that this gets covered, too, since when the resulting query is iterated over in the {% for %} loop, dependencies will be recorded on the three most-recent posts.)

Thus, the example above, if replaced by:

<h3>Recent Posts</h3>
  {% for post in site.query('/blog').order_by('-pub_date').limit(3)|limit_dependencies %}
    <li><a href="{{ post|url }}">{{ post.title }}</a></li>
  {% endfor %}

will work in a much more efficient and sane manner. Pages will be rebuilt only if there are changes in the order, composition or content of the three most recent posts.


Add lektor-limit-dependencies to your project from command line:

lektor plugins add lektor-limit-dependencies

See the Lektor plugin documentation for more information.


Jeff Dairiki


Release 1.0.0 (2023-01-31)

No code changes from 1.0.0b1.

Test under python 3.11.

Release 1.0.0b1 (2021-03-29)

Drop support for python<3.7 and lektor<3.3.

Release 0.1 (2021-02-05)

No code changes.

Update development status classifier to "stable".

Test under python 3.9. Stop testing under 3.5.

Release 0.1a1 (2020-05-19)

Initial release.