Contributing to the Ansible Documentation¶
Ansible has a lot of documentation and a small team of writers. Community support helps us keep up with new features, fixes, and changes.
Improving the documentation is an easy way to make your first contribution to the Ansible project. You do not have to be a programmer, since most of our documentation is written in YAML (module documentation) or reStructuredText (rST). Some collection-level documentation is written in a subset of Markdown. If you are using Ansible, you already use YAML in your playbooks. rST and Markdown are mostly just text. You do not even need git experience, if you use the
Edit on GitHub option.
If you find a typo, a broken example, a missing topic, or any other error or omission on this documentation website, let us know. Here are some ways to support Ansible documentation:
For typos and other quick fixes, you can edit most of the documentation right from the site. Look at the top right corner of this page. That
Edit on GitHub link is available on all the guide pages in the documentation. If you have a GitHub account, you can submit a quick and easy pull request this way.
The source files for individual collection plugins exist in their respective repositories. Follow the link to the collection on Galaxy to find where the repository is located and any guidelines on how to contribute to that collection.
To submit a documentation PR from docs.ansible.com with
Edit on GitHub:
Edit on GitHub.
If you don’t already have a fork of the ansible repo on your GitHub account, you’ll be prompted to create one.
Fix the typo, update the example, or make whatever other change you have in mind.
Enter a commit message in the first rectangle under the heading
Propose file changeat the bottom of the GitHub page. The more specific, the better. For example, “fixes typo in my_module description”. You can put more detail in the second rectangle if you like. Leave the
Submit the suggested change by clicking on the green “Propose file change” button. GitHub will handle branching and committing for you, and open a page with the heading “Comparing Changes”.
Create pull requestto open the PR template.
Fill out the PR template, including as much detail as appropriate for your change. You can change the title of your PR if you like (by default it’s the same as your commit message). In the
Issue Typesection, delete all lines except the
Docs Pull Requestline.
Submit your change by clicking on
Create pull requestbutton.
Be patient while Ansibot, our automated script, adds labels, pings the docs maintainers, and kicks off a CI testing run.
Keep an eye on your PR - the docs team may ask you for changes.
Include a comment - “looks good to me” only helps if we know why.
For issues, reproduce the problem.
For PRs, test the change.
If the problem you have noticed is too complex to fix with the
Edit on GitHub option, and no open issue or PR already documents the problem, please open an issue and/or a PR on the correct underlying repo -
ansible/ansible for most pages that are not plugin or module documentation. If the documentation page has no
Edit on GitHub option, check if the page is for a module within a collection. If so, follow the link to the collection on Galaxy and select the
repo button in the upper right corner to find the source repository for that collection and module. The Collection README file should contain information on how to contribute to that collection, or report issues.
A great documentation GitHub issue or PR includes:
a specific title
a detailed description of the problem (even for a PR - it’s hard to evaluate a suggested change unless we know what problem it’s meant to solve)
links to other information (related issues/PRs, external documentation, pages on docs.ansible.com, and so on)
If you make multiple changes to the documentation on
ansible/ansible, or add more than a line to it, before you open a pull request, please:
Check that your text follows our Ansible style guide.
Test your changes for rST errors.
Build the page, and preferably the entire documentation site, locally.
The following sections apply to documentation sourced from the
ansible/ansible repo and does not apply to documentation from an individual collection. See the collection README file for details on how to contribute to that collection.
To build documentation locally, ensure you have a working development environment.
To work with documentation on your local machine, you need to have python-3.5 or greater and the following packages installed:
Pygments >= 2.4.0
These required packages are listed in two
requirements.txt files to make installation easier:
pip install --user -r requirements.txt pip install --user -r docs/docsite/requirements.txt
You can drop
--user if you have set up a virtual environment (venv/virtenv).
On macOS with Xcode, you may need to install
--ignore-installed to get versions that work with
After checking out
ansible/ansible, make sure the
docs/docsite/rst directory has strict enough permissions. It should only be writable by the owner’s account. If your default
umask is not 022, you can use
chmod go-w docs/docsite/rst to set the permissions correctly in your new branch. Optionally, you can set your
umask to 022 to make all newly created files on your system (including those created by
git clone) have the correct permissions.
To test an individual file for rST errors:
Building the documentation is the best way to check for errors and review your changes. Once rstcheck runs with no errors, navigate to
ansible/docs/docsite and then build the page(s) you want to review.
To build a single rST file with the make utility:
make htmlsingle rst=path/to/your_file.rst
make htmlsingle rst=community/documentation_contributions.rst
This process compiles all the links but provides minimal log output. If you’re writing a new page or want more detailed log output, refer to the instructions on Building rST files with sphinx-build
make htmlsingle adds
rst/ to the beginning of the path you provide in
rst=, so you can’t type the filename with autocomplete. Here are the error messages you will see if you get this wrong:
If you run
make htmlsinglefrom the
make: *** No rule to make target `htmlsingle'. Stop.
If you run
make htmlsinglefrom the
docs/docsite/directory with the full path to your rST document:
sphinx-build: error: cannot find files ['rst/rst/community/documentation_contributions.rst'].
To build all the rST files without any module documentation:
MODULES=none make webdocs
To build documentation for a few modules included in
ansible/ansible plus all the rST files, use a comma-separated list:
MODULES=one_module,another_module make webdocs
To build all the module documentation plus all the rST files:
Advanced users can build one or more rST files with the sphinx utility directly.
sphinx-build returns misleading
undefined label warnings if you only build a single page, because it does not create internal links. However,
sphinx-build returns more extensive syntax feedback, including warnings about indentation errors and
x-string without end-string warnings. This can be useful, especially if you’re creating a new page from scratch. To build a page or pages with
sphinx-build [options] sourcedir outdir [filenames...]
You can specify filenames, or
–a for all files, or omit both to compile only new/changed files.
sphinx-build -b html -c rst/ rst/dev_guide/ _build/html/dev_guide/ rst/dev_guide/developing_modules_documenting.rst
When you submit a documentation pull request, automated tests are run. Those same tests can be run locally. To do so, navigate to the repository’s top directory and run:
make clean && bin/ansible-test sanity --test docs-build && bin/ansible-test sanity --test rstcheck
Unfortunately, leftover rST-files from previous document-generating can occasionally confuse these tests. It is therefore safest to run them on a clean copy of the repository, which is the purpose of
make clean. If you type these three lines one at a time and manually check the success of each, you do not need the
The Documentation Working Group (DaWGs) meets weekly on Tuesdays on the #ansible-docs channel on freenode IRC. For more information, including links to our agenda and a calendar invite, please visit the working group page in the community repo.