janiceilene / www

The main website for Write the Docs.

Home Page:http://www.writethedocs.org

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Write the Docs website

This is the code that powers www.writethedocs.org. It contains information about the Write the Docs group, as well as information about writing documentation.

To contribute to the Write the Docs website, it's helpful to familiarize yourself with the Sphinx site generator, as well as reStructuredText markup syntax.

Prerequisites for generating the docs locally

You'll probably need root privileges to install the prerequisites.

  1. Install python 3.6.x using your package manager.

  2. Generate a virtual environment for the WTD repo in the venv directory:

    virtualenv --python=/usr/bin/python3.6 venv

Installing the project requirements

  1. Activate the virtual environment according to your operating system:

    • On Linux-based systems, run source venv/bin/activate.
    • On Windows using the Command Prompt, run venv\Scripts\activate.bat.
    • On Windows using PowerShell, run . venv\Scripts\activate.ps1.
    • On Windows using Git Bash, run source venv\Scripts\activate.

    You'll need to do this every time you come back to the project.

  2. In the repository root directory (www by default), run pip install -r requirements.txt to install sphinx and other requirements.

Previewing the docs locally

Remember to activate the virtual environment using the appropriate command for your OS and Shell before running the following commands.

  1. In the docs directory, run make livehtml to view the docs on

If you're not seeing new content in the local preview, run make clean to delete the generated files, then make livehtml to regenerate them.

The Write the Docs website is hosted on Read the Docs.

Viewing changes on staging

If you you can't run make livehtml locally, or don't want to, you can preview changes by merging them into the staging branch and pushing that to GitHub.

If your feature branch is changes-to-test you would do something like:

git checkout staging
git pull
git merge changes-to-test
git push

Unless there are merge conflicts you need to resolve, when you push those changes a build is triggered on Read the Docs and when it is finished you can preview your changes on:


Updating the theme or css

If you need to update the theme, the original source is in


and instructions on how to update it are in the README.md

Updating CSS for the 2018 Theme

The website for 2018 uses SASS to compile all the assets it has. To modify the theme, you must first install the dependencies of gulp. In the main directory, run:

npm install

With that you will install all the requirements to minify your CSS; after that you only need to run:


This has to be used alongside the sphinx server and it will automatically minify all the content in your .scss files to the main.min.css file. Also, gulp will be running browserify, allowing you to see the CSS changes immediately in the browser.

Generating new conf pages

Copy and Create

There are a few places you need to copy files from when spinning up a new conference site:

  1. The YAML config file. For example, copy docs/_data/config-portland-2018.yaml to docs/_data/config-prague-2018.yaml. Edit the file as necessary.
  2. The conference directory. For example docs/conf/portland/2018 to docs/conf/prague/2018.
  3. The templates. For example docs/_templates/2018/base_na.html and docs/_templates/2018/na to docs/_templates/2018/base_eu.html and docs/_templates/2018/eu.
  4. You might need some local content in docs/includes/conf and _static. Sphinx will probably warn you if you do.

Search and replace

Search and replace any year specific stuff (CAREFUL)


Manually update any FIXME comments


For this whole thing to work we still need to implement these

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The main website for Write the Docs.




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