Adding Sphinx docs to Existing Repositories#

So, you need to add some docs for code that we’ve already written. You’ve come to the right place!

There are two common “setup” scenarios:

No mater where you start, there are some common enhancements to improve the generated output.

In a nutshell, we use Sphinx with documentation placed in the docs directory off the root of the project.

Adding Sphinx to a project with no docs yet#

Make sure Sphinx is installed on your machine (it shouldn’t be in your project’s virtual environment). From the top level project directory, run:

sphinx-apidoc -F -A "RelEng Team" -V "0.1" -o docs $python_module_name

If you happen to have an early stage project, without a python module directory yet, GOOD FOR YOU!!! You’ll just do the normal sphinx-quickstart. Please keep the defaults, except for ‘autodoc’ and ‘viewcode’ (say ‘Y’/Yes to both):

sphinx-quickstart docs

No matter which way you add Sphinx, don’t forget to add docs/_build to the project’s .hgignore or .gitignore file.

Adding autodoc to a project already using Sphinx#

The following command should maintain you existing docs, while adding the generated code documentation. From the top directory:

sphinx-apidoc -o docs $python_module_name

This will produce a file modules.rst which you’ll need to manually add into your existing index.rst file.

Tweaking the file#

After you’ve added generated documentation to your Sphinx project, you’ll also need to tweak the generated docs/ file needs a couple of edits to work properly. Around line 21, add the following lines:

sys.path.insert(0, os.path.abspath('..'))
import mock
for mod_name in MOCK_MODULES:
    sys.modules[mod_name] = mock.Mock()

The first line ensures the module under development is found. The remaining lines are a handy framework for satisfying import requirements for your module.


If you want to import the real code during document generation, you’ll need to add it to the read-the-docs requirements file, if it isn’t already in your project’s requirements.txt file..