An Advent of Code website, website template and package

I made project/website to work through then share my Advent of Code solutions, with R functions to ease the process, and I was so pleased with it that I made them into a template and package so others can use them too!

Advent of Code
package development

Ella Kaye


November 29, 2023

Over the last month or so, I’ve been working on a project related to Advent of Code that comprises of three parts:

This post describes how the project came to be and developed but doesn’t document the use of the package or template – that’s covered in their respective sites linked to above.

A new website

Back in 2020, I worked through some Advent of Code challenges and wrote my solutions in one long post. As I added to it daily, the post became increasingly unwieldy. Therefore, as I began to prepare to participate in Advent of Code 2023, I decided to build a separate website which would be simultaneously a project in which to work on the puzzles, and also a blog from which to publish my solutions. It has a separate listing page for each year, and a separate post for each day. The inspiration came from Emil Hvitfeldt’s R Advent of Code site.

This was easy to implement in Quarto and I quickly got a new site up and running, copying over my 2020 solutions, and working on some from 2022 while I was at it.

My Advent of Code website is now live and ready for 2023, at

File templates and supporting R functions

For each puzzle, I wanted to be able to download my input from the Advent of Code website and save it into the directory for the post, and for the index.qmd file each post to have the same structure – a ‘Setup’ section linking back to the puzzle on the Advent of Code website, a link to my data, and a code chunk to read in that data, then sections for my Part 1 and 2 solutions. I also wanted a script.R where I could play around with the code to develop my solution, perhaps with the example input given in the puzzle.

To achieve this, I wrote a post template, and some R functions; aoc_get_input(day, year) to get and save the input 1 and aoc_new_day(day, year) to copy the post template into a new post, substituting the values of day and year in the appropriate places. I also wrote an aoc_new_year() function to set up a new listing page, also from a template.

A website template

At this point, I was really happy with what I’d done for myself, and thought it would be nice to make it easy for others to make similar websites for themselves. Rather than have people clone and adapt my site, I created a template repo with the main elements of my site, but without all my solutions, and with custom themes inspired by Christmas colours and the Advent of Code site.2.

The repo for the template is at and the corresponding site is at The repo has a long README about how to use/adapt the template.

The aochelpers package

The functions I’d written to support the website were originally in a script in the website projects, but as I continued to work both on my site and the template, I realised it would be much better to distribute them as a package. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping my script in sync with the template script and, more importantly, having the functions in a package makes them much easier to document, and to share that documentation in a package website.

As I worked on the package, I made the functions much more robust than when I’d written them for myself, including writing various checks and tests.

As well as functions for managing the website, aochelpers also contains functions for reading in the data, in various formats well-suited to solving Advent of Code puzzles. In time, I plan to add functions that are useful for solving the puzzles, and also (perhaps) for interacting with the Advent of Code website.

See the package website and repo for more details and documentation. There’s also a summary page on this site about it.


As often seems to happen with my projects, something that I thought would be quick (let’s spin out a simple website for my Advent of Code solutions!) has turned into something much larger. It’s been a lot of fun, though!

I hope others find the website template and aochelpers useful. If you do make a site with them, I’d love to know about it. Please do share in the comments right at the bottom of this page.

Last updated

2023-12-02 20:51:57.172496


Session info

─ Session info ───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
 setting  value
 version  R version 4.3.2 (2023-10-31)
 os       macOS Sonoma 14.1
 system   aarch64, darwin20
 ui       X11
 language (EN)
 collate  en_US.UTF-8
 ctype    en_US.UTF-8
 tz       Europe/London
 date     2023-12-02
 pandoc   3.1.1 @ /Applications/ (via rmarkdown)
 quarto   1.4.515 @ /usr/local/bin/quarto

─ Packages ───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
 ! package     * version date (UTC) lib source
 P sessioninfo * 1.2.2   2021-12-06 [?] CRAN (R 4.3.0)

 [1] /Users/ellakaye/Rprojs/mine/ellakaye-quarto/renv/library/R-4.3/aarch64-apple-darwin20
 [2] /Users/ellakaye/Library/Caches/org.R-project.R/R/renv/sandbox/R-4.3/aarch64-apple-darwin20/ac5c2659

 P ── Loaded and on-disk path mismatch.



  1. Adapted from the advent_input() function in David Robinson’s adventdrob package↩︎

  2. As opposed to the theme I’d used on my version, which matches the theme of my personal website, and uses paid-for, licensed fonts, which I can’t share on GitHub↩︎



BibTeX citation:
  author = {Kaye, Ella},
  title = {An {Advent} of {Code} Website, Website Template and Package},
  date = {2023-11-29},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Kaye, Ella. 2023. “An Advent of Code Website, Website Template and Package.” November 29, 2023.