Contribution Guidelines

How to contribute to Docsy

Docsy is an open source project and we love getting patches and contributions to make Docsy and its docs even better.

Contributing to Docsy

The Docsy theme itself lives in

Contributor License Agreement

Contributions to this project must be accompanied by a Contributor License Agreement. You (or your employer) retain the copyright to your contribution; this simply gives us permission to use and redistribute your contributions as part of the project. Head over to to see your current agreements on file or to sign a new one.

You generally only need to submit a CLA once, so if you’ve already submitted one (even if it was for a different project), you probably don’t need to do it again.

Code reviews

All submissions, including submissions by project members, require review. We use GitHub pull requests for this purpose. Consult GitHub Help for more information on using pull requests.

Previewing your changes

As Docsy is a theme rather than a site, you can’t serve the theme directly to check your changes work. Instead use your updated local theme in a local copy of the Docsy example site (copy or make your changes in the themes/docsy directory) and preview from there. Alternatively, clone the Docsy theme repo and test your changes in a local copy of this site, as described below.

Community guidelines

This project follows Google’s Open Source Community Guidelines.

Creating issues

Alternatively, if there’s something you’d like to see in Docsy (or if you’ve found something that isn’t working the way you’d expect), but you’re not sure how to fix it yourself, please create an issue.

Contributing to these docs

This user guide is, like our example site, a Docsy site that uses the Hugo static site generator. We welcome updates to the docs!

We use Netlify to manage the deployment of the site and provide previews of doc updates. The instructions here assume you’re familiar with basic GitHub workflows.

Quick start with Netlify

  1. Fork the Docsy repo on GitHub: this site’s files live in the userguide subdirectory.
  2. Make your changes and send a pull request (PR).
  3. If you’re not yet ready for a review, add “WIP” to the PR name to indicate it’s a work in progress. (Don’t add the Hugo property “draft = true” to the page front matter, because that prevents the auto-deployment of the content preview described in the next point.)
  4. Wait for the automated PR workflow to do some checks. When it’s ready, you should see a comment like this: deploy/netlify — Deploy preview ready!
  5. Click Details to the right of “Deploy preview ready” to see a preview of your updates.
  6. Continue updating your doc and pushing your changes until you’re happy with the content.
  7. When you’re ready for a review, add a comment to the PR, and remove any “WIP” markers.

Updating a single page

If you’ve just spotted something you’d like to change while using the docs, Docsy has a shortcut for you:

  1. Click Edit this page in the top right hand corner of the page.
  2. If you don’t already have an up to date fork of the project repo, you are prompted to get one - click Fork this repository and propose changes or Update your Fork to get an up to date version of the project to edit. The appropriate page in your fork is displayed in edit mode.
  3. Follow the rest of the Quick start with Netlify process above to make and preview your changes.

Previewing your changes locally

If you want to run your own local Hugo server to preview your changes as you work:

  1. Follow the instructions in Getting started to install Hugo and any other tools you need.

  2. Fork the Docsy repo into your own project, then create a local copy using git clone:

    git clone
  3. Change to the userguide directory and run the following Hugo command to build the site and start the Hugo server. Note that you need the themesDir flag because the site files are inside the theme repo.

    cd userguide
    hugo server --themesDir ../..

    By default your site will be available at http://localhost:1313/. Now that you’re serving your site locally, Hugo will watch for changes to the content and automatically refresh your site.

  4. Continue with the usual GitHub workflow to edit files, commit them, push the changes up to your fork, and create a pull request.

Preview your changes using a Docker container

Docsy comes with Dockerfile and docker-compose files to run the server locally with Docker, without installing any additional dependencies.

  • Using Docker:

    1. Build the Docker container:

      docker build -t docsy/user-guide .
    2. Run the container, mounting the repository as a shared volume:

      docker run -it --user=$(id -u):$(id -g) -p 1313:1313 \
        -v $(pwd):/app/docsy -v /app/docsy/userguide/node_modules \
  • Using Docker Compose:

    1. Build the container:

      docker-compose build
    2. Run the container:

      DOCSY_USER=$(id -u):$(id -g) docker-compose up

Open http://localhost:1313 in your web browser to load the docsy user guide. In most cases, docsy will automatically reload the site to reflect any changes to the documentation or the code. Changes to some parts of the docsy code may require manually reloading the page or re-starting the container.

Press Ctrl + C to stop the container.

User guide formatting

We use Prettier to format the markdown source of the User Guide. To to check the formatting of your documentation changes, use the following command:

npm run check:format

To automatically fix formatting issues, run npm run fix:format.

Prettier doesn’t currently understand Hugo template language directives, so you might need to bracket such directives using the following ignore directives:

<!-- prettier-ignore-start -->
{{< tabpane >}}
{{< /tabpane >}}
<!-- prettier-ignore-end -->

You can use these ignore directives to surround any markdown that you’d like Prettier to ignore. If the region is a contiguous block of text, then you can omit the end directive and replace the start directive with prettier-ignore-start.

Creating an issue

If there’s something you’d like to see in the docs, but you’re not sure how to fix it yourself, please create an issue in this repository. You can also create an issue about a specific page by clicking the Create Issue button in the top right hand corner of the page.