Sphinx Developer’s Guide¶
This document describes the development process of Sphinx, a documentation system used by developers to document systems used by other developers to develop other systems that may also be documented using Sphinx.
The Sphinx source code is managed using Git and is hosted on Github.
git clone git://github.com/sphinx-doc/sphinx
- sphinx-users <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Mailing list for user support.
- sphinx-dev <email@example.com>
- Mailing list for development related discussions.
- #sphinx-doc on irc.freenode.net
- IRC channel for development questions and user support.
If you have encountered a problem with Sphinx or have an idea for a new feature, please submit it to the issue tracker on Github or discuss it on the sphinx-dev mailing list.
For bug reports, please include the output produced during the build process and also the log file Sphinx creates after it encounters an un-handled exception. The location of this file should be shown towards the end of the error message.
Including or providing a link to the source files involved may help us fix the issue. If possible, try to create a minimal project that produces the error and post that instead.
The recommended way for new contributors to submit code to Sphinx is to fork the repository on Github and then submit a pull request after committing the changes. The pull request will then need to be approved by one of the core developers before it is merged into the main repository.
- Check for open issues or open a fresh issue to start a discussion around a feature idea or a bug.
- If you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about an issue or your changes, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fork the repository on Github to start making your changes to the master branch for next major version, or stable branch for next minor version.
- Write a test which shows that the bug was fixed or that the feature works as expected.
- Send a pull request and bug the maintainer until it gets merged and published. Make sure to add yourself to AUTHORS and the change to CHANGES.
These are the basic steps needed to start developing on Sphinx.
Create an account on Github.
Fork the main Sphinx repository (sphinx-doc/sphinx) using the Github interface.
Clone the forked repository to your machine.
git clone https://github.com/USERNAME/sphinx cd sphinx
Checkout the appropriate branch.
For changes that should be included in the next minor release (namely bug fixes), use the
git checkout stable
For new features or other substantial changes that should wait until the next major release, use the
Optional: setup a virtual environment.
virtualenv ~/sphinxenv . ~/sphinxenv/bin/activate pip install -e .
Create a new working branch. Choose any name you like.
git checkout -b feature-xyz
Hack, hack, hack.
For tips on working with the code, see the Coding Guide.
Test, test, test. Possible steps:
Run the unit tests:
pip install -r test-reqs.txt make test
Again, it’s useful to turn on deprecation warnings on so they’re shown in the test output:
PYTHONWARNINGS=all make test
Build the documentation and check the output for different builders:
cd doc make clean html latexpdf
Run the unit tests under different Python environments using tox:
pip install tox tox -v
Add a new unit test in the
testsdirectory if you can.
For bug fixes, first add a test that fails without your changes and passes after they are applied.
Tests that need a sphinx-build run should be integrated in one of the existing test modules if possible. New tests that to
build_allfor a few assertions are not good since the test suite should not take more than a minute to run.
Please add a bullet point to
CHANGESif the fix or feature is not trivial (small doc updates, typo fixes). Then commit:
git commit -m '#42: Add useful new feature that does this.'
Github recognizes certain phrases that can be used to automatically update the issue tracker.
git commit -m 'Closes #42: Fix invalid markup in docstring of Foo.bar.'
would close issue #42.
Push changes in the branch to your forked repository on Github.
git push origin feature-xyz
Submit a pull request from your branch to the respective branch (
sphinx-doc/sphinxusing the Github interface.
Wait for a core developer to review your changes.
The core developers of Sphinx have write access to the main repository. They can commit changes, accept/reject pull requests, and manage items on the issue tracker.
You do not need to be a core developer or have write access to be involved in the development of Sphinx. You can submit patches or create pull requests from forked repositories and have a core developer add the changes for you.
The following are some general guidelines for core developers:
- Questionable or extensive changes should be submitted as a pull request instead of being committed directly to the main repository. The pull request should be reviewed by another core developer before it is merged.
- Trivial changes can be committed directly but be sure to keep the repository in a good working state and that all tests pass before pushing your changes.
- When committing code written by someone else, please attribute the original
author in the commit message and any relevant
The parts of messages in Sphinx that go into builds are translated into several
locales. The translations are kept as gettext
.po files translated from the
Sphinx uses Babel to extract messages and
maintain the catalog files. It is integrated in
python setup.py extract_messagesto update the
python setup.py update_catalogto update all existing language catalogs in
sphinx/locale/*/LC_MESSAGESwith the current messages in the template file.
python setup.py compile_catalogto compile the
.pofiles to binary
When an updated
.po file is submitted, run compile_catalog to commit both
the source and the compiled catalogs.
When a new locale is submitted, add a new directory with the ISO 639-1 language
identifier and put
sphinx.po in there. Don’t forget to update the possible
The Sphinx core messages can also be translated on Transifex. There exists a client tool named
tx in the
Python package “transifex_client”, which can be used to pull translations in
.po format from Transifex. To do this, go to
sphinx/locale and then run
tx pull -f -l LANG where LANG is an existing language identifier. It is
good practice to run
python setup.py update_catalog afterwards to make sure
.po file has the canonical Babel formatting.
- Try to use the same code style as used in the rest of the project. See the Pocoo Styleguide for more information.
- For non-trivial changes, please update the
CHANGESfile. If your changes alter existing behavior, please document this.
- New features should be documented. Include examples and use cases where appropriate. If possible, include a sample that is displayed in the generated output.
- When adding a new configuration variable, be sure to document it and update
sphinx/quickstart.pyif it’s important enough.
- Use the included utils/check_sources.py script to check for common formatting issues (trailing whitespace, lengthy lines, etc).
- Add appropriate unit tests.
Delete the build cache before building documents if you make changes in the code by running the command
make cleanor using the
sphinx-build -Poption to run Pdb on exceptions.
node.asdom().toxml()to generate a printable representation of the document structure.
Set the configuration variable
Trueso warnings will be displayed in the generated output.
Set the configuration variable
Trueso that Sphinx will complain about references without a known target.
Set the debugging options in the Docutils configuration file.
$ npm install $ node_modules/.bin/grunt build # -> dest/*.global.js
There are a couple reasons that code in Sphinx might be deprecated:
- If a feature has been improved or modified in a backwards-incompatible way, the old feature or behavior will be deprecated.
- Sometimes Sphinx will include a backport of a Python library that’s not included in a version of Python that Sphinx currently supports. When Sphinx no longer needs to support the older version of Python that doesn’t include the library, the library will be deprecated in Sphinx.
As the Deprecation policy describes,
the first release of Sphinx that deprecates a feature (
A.B) should raise a
RemovedInSphinxXXWarning (where XX is the Sphinx version where the feature
will be removed) when the deprecated feature is invoked. Assuming we have good
test coverage, these warnings are converted to errors when running the test
suite with warnings enabled:
python -Wall tests/run.py. Thus, when adding
RemovedInSphinxXXWarning you need to eliminate or silence any warnings
generated when running the tests.
A feature release may deprecate certain features from previous releases. If a feature is deprecated in feature release 1.A, it will continue to work in all 1.A.x versions (for all versions of x) but raise warnings. Deprecated features will be removed in the first 1.B release, or 1.B.1 for features deprecated in the last 1.A.x feature release to ensure deprecations are done over at least 2 feature releases.
So, for example, if we decided to start the deprecation of a function in Sphinx 1.4:
- Sphinx 1.4.x will contain a backwards-compatible replica of the function
which will raise a
- Sphinx 1.5 (the version that follows 1.4) will still contain the backwards-compatible replica.
- Sphinx 1.6 will remove the feature outright.
The warnings are displayed by default. You can turn off display of these warnings with:
PYTHONWARNINGS= make html(Linux/Mac)
export PYTHONWARNINGS=and do
set PYTHONWARNINGS=and do