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Create beautiful and localized documentations and websites using MkDocs + Github

This is the web version of the talk I gave at EuroPython 2021.

mkdocs + github talk logo

Introductions

MkDocs

MkDocs is a fast, simple and downright gorgeous static site generator that's geared towards building project documentation.

Documentation source files are written in Markdown, and configured with a single YAML configuration file.

MkDocs is written in Python, its source code is easy to understand and we are open to contributions!

mkdocs-material

MkDocs sites can be themed, and while it comes with 2 built in themes, their look and feel is a bit dated and their customization is limited.

Here comes mkdocs-material, a Material Design theme for MkDocs that allows you to create a branded static site from a set of Markdown files to host the documentation of your Open Source or commercial project.

The mkdocs-material theme is by far the most popular theme of MkDocs as it is based on applying the Material Design principles to MkDocs generated sites.

It is customizable, searchable, mobile-friendly and supports 40+ languages.

i18n or l10n?!

i18n vs l10n

Warning

Defining i18n vs l10n is controversial so this is the rationale we adopted at MkDocs.

A benevolent debate on i18n vs l10n took place on mkdocs #774 where we settled that internationalization (i18n) will refer to the MkDocs core feature used to allow users to localize (l10n) their documentation.

Therefore MkDocs use the i18n term to refer to the fact that it supports theme text and dialogs localization (just like Jinja).

mkdocs-static-i18n

The mkdocs-static-i18n plugin allows you to support multiple languages of your documentation by adding localized versions of your files to your existing documentation pages.

It also allows you to build and serve localized versions of any file extension and automatically display localized images, medias and assets from your Markdown sources.

Check who's already using mkdocs-static-i18n here!

Github Pages

Warning

GitHub Pages is not intended for or allowed to be used as a free web hosting service to run your online business, e-commerce site, or any other website that is primarily directed at either facilitating commercial transactions or providing commercial software as a service (SaaS).

Websites for you and your projects hosted directly from your GitHub repository. Just edit, push, and your changes are live.

You get one site per GitHub account and organization, and unlimited project sites.

Free HTTPS with support for custom domain names.

Soft limitations:

  • 1GB website
  • 100GB traffic bandwidth per month
  • 10 builds (deploy) per hour

Creating a multi-language MkDocs site

What we need

mkdocs + github talk venv

requirements.txt

Let's see what's inside our requirements.txt file and why.

mkdocs + github talk requirements

mkdocs >= 1.2.2

We do not need mkdocs[i18n] which adds support for built-in themes localization since mkdocs-material supports localization on its own.

mkdocs-material >= 7.1.11

We want a modern looking, responsive and highly customizable theme with built-in support for a language switcher.

mkdocs-static-i18n >= 0.18

Allows to localize our content pages by creating a .<language> prefixed version of any file to localize it automatically.

Localized MkDocs to Github workflow

  1. Initialize our project

    mkdocs new .
    
  2. Build and serve locally, open in browser

    mkdocs serve
    
  3. Modify content, add assets and localize (translate) our website

  4. Local website is auto-refreshed on browser, we preview every modification we make live
  5. When done, commit and push changes
  6. Deploy to Github Pages

    mkdocs gh-deploy
    
  7. It's online!

Initialize our MkDocs project

mkdocs new .

Will create:

  • an initial mkdocs.yml configuration file
  • a docs/index.md documentation home page

mkdocs + github talk requirements

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the new branch.

git checkout new

Preview our website locally

mkdocs serve

The above command will build our website and run a local web server so we can preview it directly on our browser.

Open this URL on your browser: http://127.0.0.1:8000/

mkdocs + github talk preview

Changes trigger a refresh

mkdocs serve

Any change we make will trigger a rebuild and refresh our page in our browser!

mkdocs + github talk refresh

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the change branch.

git checkout change

Switch to mkdocs-material

theme:
  name: material

Instantaneous switch from the default mkdocs theme to the beautiful and feature rich material theme.

mkdocs + github talk material

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the material branch.

git checkout material

Switch to EuroPython colors

theme:
  name: material
  palette:
    primary: green

The material theme is highly customizable, let's use EuroPython's green color palette.

mkdocs + github talk material

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the palette branch.

git checkout palette

Add images/assets

The docs/ folder is where we organize our content pages and assets. Let's modify the home page and add the EuroPython logo.

mkdocs + github talk logo

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the logo branch.

git checkout logo

mkdocs-static-i18n

Will create /<language>/ versions of our website!

plugins:
  - search
  - i18n:
      default_language: en
      languages:
        en: English
        fr: Français

Will generate those URLs:

  1. https://ultrabug.github.io/ep2021/

    default URL is the English version
    
  2. https://ultrabug.github.io/ep2021/en/

    /en/ URL is also the English version, this is the same site as the / URL
    
  3. https://ultrabug.github.io/ep2021/fr/

    /fr/ URL is the French version of our site
    

The plugin automatically configures:

  • search plugin language and localized content indexation
  • material theme language
  • material theme language switcher in the header

Localizing our content

Let's translate and localize our website!

We localize the versions of our pages and assets by suffixing them with `..``

mkdocs + github talk translate

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the translation branch.

git checkout translation

Let's see the content of the translated files:

index.en.md

mkdocs + github talk index.en.md

index.fr.md

mkdocs + github talk index.fr.md

mkdocs-static-i18n demo

mkdocs + github talk mkdocs-static-i18n

Automatic Markdown localization

Focus on translating, not referencing localized versions of your pages and assets!

Both index.en.md and index.fr.md refer to ep2021-logo.png in their Markdown source:

![europython 2021 logo](assets/ep2021-logo.png)

mkdocs + github talk automatic localization

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the localized branch.

git checkout localized

This means that the Markdown reference to the image will be localized automatically by the plugin!

mkdocs + github talk mkdocs-static-i18n localized

Push our work to Github

git add
git commit
git push

We're done, let's commit and push our content to our Github repository.

mkdocs + github talk push

Build and deploy to Github

mkdocs gh-deploy

The above command will:

  1. Build our multi-language website
  2. Copy site/ dir to the gh-pages branch
  3. Push the gh-pages branch to Github

mkdocs + github talk deploy

Github Pages is automatically configured

No configuration needed on your Github repository, it's done automatically.

mkdocs + github talk github pages

Our multi-language MkDocs website is online!

Check out your own URL or the https://ultrabug.github.io/ep2021/ website of this repository.

mkdocs + github talk website

Automatic mkdocs gh-deploy

Let’s use Github Actions to run mkdocs gh-deploy for us automatically when we push new commits!

Create the file .github/workflows/gh-deploy.yml:

name: gh-deploy

on:
  push:
    branches:
      - main

jobs:
  build:
    name: MkDocs Github Pages automatic deployment
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    steps:
      - name: Checkout main
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Set up Python 3.9
        uses: actions/setup-python@v2
        with:
          python-version: '3.9'

      - name: Install requirements
        run: |
          python -m pip install --upgrade pip
          pip install -r requirements.txt

      - name: MkDocs gh-deploy
        run: |
          git pull
          mkdocs gh-deploy

Now every time we push new commits to the main branch, our website will be automatically deployed and refreshed on Github Pages!

Tip

If you cloned my repository or use your own fork, you can get to this step by checking out the actions branch.

git checkout actions

Resources

Some useful and awesome MkDocs plugins

Some useful and awesome Markdown extensions

Check out the sample mkdocs.yml available on the extensions branch!

mkdocs + github talk useful extensions

mkdocs + github talk extensions

❤ Special thanks

  • mkdocs: @waylan @oprypin
  • mkdocs-material: @squidfunk
  • mkdocs-static-i18n: @Caetan95 @Stanzilla @adamkusmirek
  • pymdown-extensions: @facelessuser