General Guide to Writing Documentation#

This guide provides general help for writing documentation for Plone.

MyST, reStructuredText, and Markdown#

We use MyST, or Markedly Structured Text, a rich and extensible flavor of Markdown, for authoring training documentation.

MyST extends Markdown by incorporating all the features of reStructuredText and Sphinx and its extensions. Contributors are welcome to use either Markdown or MyST syntax.

MyST may be more familiar to reStructuredText authors. MyST allows the use of a fence and {rst-eval} to evaluate native reStructuredText. This may be useful when Markdown does not provide sufficient flexibility, such as for figure.

MyST Syntax Reference#

The following are frequently used snippets and examples.

See also

Official MyST documentation

Targets and Cross-Referencing#

Images and Figures#

Figures allow a caption and legend, whereas images do not.

Use image for anything but diagrams.

Use figure for diagrams.

Images and figures should always include alt text.

From Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM):

Alternative text serves several functions:

  • It is read by screen readers in place of images allowing the content and function of the image to be accessible to those with visual or certain cognitive disabilities.

  • It is displayed in place of the image in browsers if the image file is not loaded or when the user has chosen not to view images.

  • It provides a semantic meaning and description to images which can be read by search engines or be used to later determine the content of the image from page context alone.

Accessibility is part of the Plone brand and identity.

```{image} /_static/standards.png
:alt: XKCD "Standards" comic strip
```
XKCD "Standards" comic strip
```{eval-rst}
.. figure:: /_static/voting_flowchart.png
    :alt: Voting flowchart

    This is a caption in a single paragraph.
    
    This is a legend, which consists of all elements after the caption.
    It can include a table.
    
    ======  =======
    Symbol  Meaning
    ======  =======
    ⃞       Object
    ⬭       View
    ➞       Flow
    ======  =======
```
Voting flowchart

This is a caption in a single paragraph.#

This is a legend, which consists of all elements after the caption. It can include a table.

Symbol

Meaning

Object

View

Flow

Code Block#

A Python code snippet without reStructuredText options, using a simple fence.

```python
a = 2
print("my 1st line")
print(f"my {a}nd line")
```
a = 2
print("my 1st line")
print(f"my {a}nd line")

A Python code snippet with reStructuredText options, using a fence with the parsed reStructuredText directive code-block.

```{code-block} python
:linenos:
:emphasize-lines: 1, 3

a = 2
print("my 1st line")
print(f"my {a}nd line")
```
1a = 2
2print("my 1st line")
3print(f"my {a}nd line")
Escape literal backticks inline#
This is MyST syntax for term ``{term}`React` ``

This is MyST syntax for term {term}`React`

Glossary terms#

Add a term to the Glossary, located at /glossary.md.

React
    [React](https://reactjs.org/) is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces.
    Volto, the frontend for Plone 6, uses React.

Reference a term in the Glossary.

Using {term}`React` makes frontends fun again!

Using React makes frontends fun again!

Toggle paragraph (Exercise solution / FAQ)#

Text snippets can be hidden with the option to show. Wrap it in an admonition and add the class toggle.

````{admonition} f-strings can make your life easier
:class: toggle

To use formatted string literals, begin a string with `f` or `F` before the opening quotation mark or triple quotation mark.
Inside this string, you can write a Python expression between `{` and `}` characters that can refer to variables or literal values.

```{code-block} python
:linenos:
:emphasize-lines: 1, 3

a = 2
print("my 1st line")
print(f"my {a}nd line")
```
````

You can nest directives, such as admonitions and code blocks, by ensuring that the backtick-lines corresponding to the outermost directive are longer than the backtick-lines for the inner directives.

This would be rendered as:

f-strings can make your life easier

To use formatted string literals, begin a string with f or F before the opening quotation mark or triple quotation mark. Inside this string, you can write a Python expression between { and } characters that can refer to variables or literal values.

1a = 2
2print("my 1st line")
3print(f"my {a}nd line")

Abridged Plone Documentation Styleguide#

Guides should be informational, but friendly.

Address the reader by using "you" instead of "the user".

Avoid contractions, and spell out the words. For example, use "do not" instead of "don't".

Please do not follow PEP8 maximum line length standard. Documentation is narrative text and images, not Python code.

Use one sentence per line. Keep sentences short and understandable. This will greatly improve the editing and maintenance of your documentation.

General Documentation Writing References#

English grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax#

Because it is difficult to automate good English grammar and syntax, we do not strictly enforce it. We also understand that contributors might not be fluent in English. We encourage contributors to make a reasonable effort, and to seek help from community members who are fluent in English. Please ask!