Automating documentation

% Documentation Process, updated % kelu124 % August 25, 2016

Open-source documentation

  • assists people getting started with it
  • identifies the problem it's solving
  • gives a high level impression of the feel or focus of the project and its solution
  • helps the project developer(s) validate that the product they're writing makes sense
  • shows that the developer(s) care enough and will actively maintain or steward community maintenance over time
  • plenty more.

What is this presentation?

I have been working on a open-source hardware project and documentation is key. A question remains.

I'm lazy, how do I make the documentation process efficient, and as system-independant as possible?

What do I want to automatize?

  • A github documentation
  • A Jekyll blog on github-pages.
  • All-purpose presentations such as this one
  • A gitbook that can be read here
  • Simple vizualization of the work progress
  • All of this can be pushed directly to a wiki as well

Inputs (1/2)

I want to:

  • not repeat myself
  • write once and only once each block of info
  • use the "modules" concepts : seeds of information
  • use only text

Conclusion: creation of markdown "blocks" which will feed all the generated docs (see a list here).

Inputs (2/2)

The script is working only with a couple of files:

  • One file
  • One ReadMe per module
  • Some Worklog files, dated .md files.
  • Some specific content files, in /include/Add*.md

Using the files

  • These files are used to generate the overall documentation
  • The files create the table of modules at /
  • They update the gitbook
  • They also update the table of progress
  • They create the graph of links between the modules
  • Last but not least, they create the graphs representing how the modules work, internally, connecting the interfaces

Using Worklog

The worklog is used to generate the gitbook, the blog, and to generate a mindmap of concepts.

Assembling a gitbook

The modules at a glance

Progress at a glance

Block diagram


  • markdown / github to store all the docs
  • gitbook to publish a general documentation
  • gh-pages / Jekyll for the static site
  • python / Graphviz to generate documentation / graphs
  • Pandoc to convert documentation between formats
  • pywikibot to publish to a wiki
  • Reveal.js for the presentations


An efficient (err, lazy) way of documenting. Only one place to edit information, will be updated everywhere, even in this presentation! The outputs are ever-updated documents, such as :

  • A github documentation
  • A Jekyll blog on github-pages
  • All-purpose presentations
  • A gitbook

The documentation compiler becomes a debugger



  • Work on the user experience
  • What flow to capture the visitor, and guide him?
  • --> Need a story


Ping @kelu124 /

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