MkDocs is a fast, simple and downright gorgeous static site generator that’s geared towards building project documentation. Documentation source files are written in Markdown, and configured with a single YAML configuration file.
MkDocs is currently still in development.
We’re progressing quickly, but the documentation still needs filling in, and there are a few rough edges. The 1.0 release is planned to arrive in the next few months.
Builds completely static HTML sites that you can host on GitHub pages, Amazon S3, or anywhere else you choose.
Great themes available.
There’s a stack of good looking themes included by default. Choose from bootstrap, readthedocs, or any of the 12 bootswatch themes.
Preview your site as you work.
The built-in devserver allows you to preview your documentation as you’re writing it. It will even auto-reload whenever you save any changes, so all you need to do to see your latest edits is refresh your browser.
Easy to customize.
Get your project documentation looking just the way you want it by customizing the theme.
In order to install MkDocs you’ll need [Python] installed on your system, as well as the Python package manager, [pip]. You can check if you have these already installed like so:
$ python --version Python 2.7.2 $ pip --version pip 1.5.2
MkDocs supports Python 2.6, 2.7, 3.3 and 3.4.
On Windows we recommend that you install Python and pip with [Chocolatey].
mkdocs package using pip:
$ pip install mkdocs
You should now have the
mkdocs command installed on your system. Run
mkdocs --version to check that everything worked okay.
$ mkdocs --version mkdocs, version 0.14.0
Getting started is super easy.
$ mkdocs new my-project $ cd my-project
Let’s take a moment to review the initial project that’s been created for us.
There’s a single configuration file named
mkdocs.yml, and a folder named
docs that will contain our documentation source files. Right now the
docs folder just contains a single documentation page, named
MkDocs comes with a built-in webserver that lets you preview your documentation as you work on it. We start the webserver by making sure we’re in the same directory as the
mkdocs.yml config file, and then running the
mkdocs serve command:
$ mkdocs serve Running at: http://127.0.0.1:8000/
Open up http://127.0.0.1:8000/ in your browser, and you’ll see the index page being displayed:
The webserver also supports auto-reloading, and will rebuild your documentation whenever anything in the configuration file, documentation directory or theme directory changes.
Go ahead and edit the
docs/index.md file now and save the file. Then simply hit reload in the browser and you’ll see your updated documentation.
Now’s also a good time to edit the configuration file,
mkdocs.yml. Change the
site_name setting to something else and save the file.
Once you hit reload in the browser you’ll see your new site name take effect.
Go ahead and edit the
doc/index.md document, and change the initial heading to
MkLorum, then reload the site in your browser, and you should see the change take effect immediately.
Let’s also add a second page to our documentation:
$ curl 'jaspervdj.be/lorem-markdownum/markdown.txt' > docs/about.md
We’d like our documentation site to include some navigation headers, so we’ll edit the configuration file and add some information about the order and title to use for out headers:
site_name: MkLorum pages: - Home: index.md - About: about.md
Refresh the browser and you’ll now see a navigation bar with
Theming our documentation
While we’re here can also change the configuration file to alter how the documentation is displayed. Let’s go ahead and change the theme. Edit the
mkdocs.yml file to the following:
site_name: MkLorum pages: - Home: index.md - About: about.md theme: readthedocs
Refresh the browser again, and you’ll now see the ReadTheDocs theme being used.
Building the site
That’s looking good. We’re ready to deploy the first pass of our
MkLorum documentation now. Let’s build the documentation.
$ mkdocs build
This will create a new directory, named
site. Let’s take a look inside the directory:
$ ls site about css fonts img index.html js
Notice that our source documentation has been output as two HTML files named
about/index.html. We also have various other media that’s been copied into the
site directory as part of the documentation theme.
If you’re using source code control such as
git you probably don’t want to check your documentation builds into the repository. Add a line containing
site/ to your
$ echo "site/" >> .gitignore
If you’re using another source code control you’ll want to check it’s documentation on how to ignore specific directories.
After some time, files may be removed from the documentation but they will still reside in the
site directory. To remove those stale files, just run mkdocs with the
$ mkdocs build --clean