Installing OSPKit on Debian 11 and finding my html2print boilerplate | osp blog

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Installing OSPKit on Debian 11 and finding my html2print boilerplate

How to install OSPKit on an updated operating system?

In the middle of many web-to-print projects that are made with Paged.js these days, exploring OSPKit and html2print feels like fresh breeze on a hot early summer day, even though OSPKit is stuck in 2016. But as I have never tried to install and work with OSPKit or tried to dive into html2print by myself, there are a lot of things to explore.

I don't know why I never tried to work with these workflows actually. I might have always felt that I would need to be shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the OSP's to do so. Or to understand better how OSPKit and html2print are different from other ways of working with web-to-print.

Below you find a short log written in a README style, that captures my installation process of OSPKit and my search for a html2print boilerplate to work with. :--)

Installing OSPKit

I started from the README in the OSPKit repository:

There are instructions there for install OSPKit on Manjaro and Ubuntu, so this post is adding instructions for Debian systems.

Download OSPKit

$ git clone

Install QTwebkit 5.212

This is the part that makes OSPKit a timetravel machine! This version of Qt-Webkit and WebKit still supports the CSS Regions.

To install Qt-WebKit 5.212, it's easier to install the version shipped by the apt package manager, because building the OSP patch of Qt-WebKit 5.212 will take hours.

$ sudo apt search qt5 | grep webkit

gambas3-gb-qt5-webkit/oldstable 3.15.2-1 amd64
libqt5webkit5/oldstable 5.212.0~alpha4-11 amd64
libqt5webkit5-dev/oldstable 5.212.0~alpha4-11 amd64
python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit/oldstable 5.15.2+dfsg-3 amd64
python3-pyqt5.qtwebkit-dbg/oldstable 5.15.2+dfsg-3 amd64
qutebrowser-qtwebkit/oldstable 2.0.2-2 all

$ sudo apt install libqt5webkit5

Install OSPKit

$ cd src

$ qmake

bash: qmake: command not found

Hmm, how to install qmake?

$ sudo apt search qmake

qt5-qmake/oldstable 5.15.2+dfsg-9 amd64
Qt 5 qmake Makefile generator tool

$ sudo apt install qt5-qmake

$ qmake

Info: creating stash file /home/mb/Documents/clusters/onderzoek/OSP/tools.ospkit/src/.qmake.stash
Project ERROR: Unknown module(s) in QT: core gui printsupport widgets


Searching for this error brought me to Stack Overflow:

$ sudo apt-get install qtbase5-dev

$ qmake

No output... I guess that is a good sign.

$ make

In file included from mainwindow.cpp:2:
ui_mainwindow.h:13:10: fatal error: QtWebKitWidgets/QWebView: No such file or directory
13 | #include | ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ compilation terminated. make: *** [Makefile:390: mainwindow.o] Error 1

Hmm... it seems that the QtWebKitWidgets library is missing.

No idea how to continue, so I asked Alex ;).

We looked again at the qt5-webkit packages in apt, and saw the dev package.

sudo apt install libqt5webkit5-dev

Oke installed...

Now let's go back to the Makefile.


It worked! :)

It generated an executable file called OSPKit.

├── main.cpp
├── main.o
├── mainwindow.cpp
├── mainwindow.h
├── mainwindow.o
├── mainwindow.ui
├── Makefile
├── moc_mainwindow.cpp
├── moc_mainwindow.o
├── moc_predefs.h
├── OSPKit
└── ui_mainwindow.h

Use OSPKit

I copied the executable to the bin folder that I have in my home folder, with is on my $PATH:

$ cp ./OSPKit ~/bin/

I also renamed it to all lowercase:

$ mv OSPKit ospkit

And now I can use it from anywhere on my system :).

$ ospkit

Finding my html2print boilerplate

After install OSPKit, I would like to try to combine it with html2print.

Some instructions that I received from Alex:

First clone your boilerplate of choice!

$ git clone

$ cd tools.html2print

An article is edited in the content folder. The content folder takes .html files. So if you want to work in another way, for example in markdown, you need to add those steps yourself.

There is a makefile that can be used to generate a .json file for each of the articles.

$ make

Now it's time to open OSPKit...

$ ospkit

and to run a local server in this folder...

$ python3 -m http.server

and to navigate to: localhost:8000

Now, which repo to start from?

There are many different versions of html2print in the OSP repositories. Alex recommends me to first try the devel branch of the tools.html2print repo. (devel branch)

I tried it and realised that:

  • there are so many branches in this repository!
  • stylesheets are missing to make the spread/grid/preview buttons work
  • print function does not take the content of the iframe, so a workaround is needed: print the file from the layout/filename.html directly.

Back to Alex, he recommends me to try the Medor0 repo, which is the Médor flavoured version of html2print. The Medor0 repo is the only one that is public, as the repo's of each issue includes API keys that should not be shared. The Medor0 repo is made to collect changes in the html2print workflow made while working on the different issues of Médor. According to Alex, it's mainly Doriane who takes care of this repo these days.

Hmm..., I tried to work with it and realised that:

  • python2 is used in the Makefile and I don't have this version installed.

Back to Alex again :).

He recommends me to look at one of the latest repo's of Medor and gives me access to it on the OSP gitlab.

The Medor31 repo is the one that is used for the last issue.

When running it, I notice:

  • python3 is used in the Makefile

That looks good, I will try this one!