Contributing to the documentation

Here are some tips for working on this documentation. You’re welcome to add more and help us out!

First of all, you should check the reStructuredText (reST) Primer to learn how to write your .rst file.

Create a .rst file

Look at the structure and choose the best category to put your .rst file. Make sure that it is referenced in the index of the corresponding category, so it will show on in the documentation. If you have no idea how to do this, study the other index files for clues.

Build documentation locally

To build the documentation locally, set up a development environment.

You’ll also need to install the Enchant spell checking library.

Enchant can be installed using Homebrew:

(venv) $ brew install enchant

If you’re on an Apple Silicon machine, you’ll also need to manually set the location of the Enchant library:

(venv) $ export PYENCHANT_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/homebrew/lib/libenchant-2.2.dylib

Once your development environment is set up, run:

(venv) $ tox -e docs

The output of the file should be in the docs/_build/html folder. If there are any markup problems, they’ll raise an error.

Live documentation preview

To support rapid editing of documentation, Briefcase also has a “live preview” mode:

(venv) $ tox -e docs-live

This will build the documentation, start a web server to serve the build documentation, and watch the file system for any changes to the documentation source. If a change is detected, the documentation will be rebuilt, and any browser viewing the modified page will be automatically refreshed.

Documentation linting

Before committing and pushing documentation updates, run linting for the documentation:

(venv) $ tox -e docs-lint

This will validate the documentation does not contain:

  • invalid syntax and markup

  • dead hyperlinks

  • misspelled words

If a valid spelling of a word is identified as misspelled, then add the word to the list in docs/spelling_wordlist. This will add the word to the spellchecker’s dictionary.

Rebuilding all documentation

To force a rebuild for all of the documentation:

(venv) $ tox -e docs-all

The documentation should be fully rebuilt in the docs/_build/html folder. If there are any markup problems, they’ll raise an error.