Getting Started with Sphinx¶
Sphinx is a powerful documentation generator that has many great features for writing technical documentation including:
- Generate web pages, printable PDFs, documents for e-readers (ePub), and more all from the same sources
- You can use reStructuredText or Markdown to write documentation
- An extensive system of cross-referencing code and documentation
- Syntax highlighted code samples
- A vibrant ecosystem of first and third-party extensions
Assuming you have Python already, install Sphinx:
pip install sphinx
Create a directory inside your project to hold your docs:
cd /path/to/project mkdir docs
sphinx-quickstart in there:
cd docs sphinx-quickstart
This quick start will walk you through creating the basic configuration; in most cases, you
can just accept the defaults. When it’s done, you’ll have an
conf.py and some other files. Add these to revision control.
Now, edit your
index.rst and add some information about your project.
Include as much detail as you like (refer to the reStructuredText syntax
or this template if you need help). Build them to see how they look:
index.rst has been built into
in your documentation output directory (typically
Open this file in your web browser to see your docs.
Edit your files and rebuild until you like what you see, then commit your changes and push to your public repository. Once you have Sphinx documentation in a public repository, you can start using Read the Docs by importing your docs.
Using Markdown with Sphinx¶
You can use Markdown and reStructuredText in the same Sphinx project. We support this natively on Read the Docs, and you can do it locally:
pip install recommonmark
Then in your
extensions = ['recommonmark']
Markdown doesn’t support a lot of the features of Sphinx, like inline markup and directives. However, it works for basic prose content. reStructuredText is the preferred format for technical documentation, please read this blog post for motivation.
Here are some external resources to help you learn more about Sphinx.