Contribution Guidelines

A detailed contribution guide for Layer5 Docs.

Contributing to the Website

Welcome to the GitHub repository for Layer5’s documentation website!

The docs website is hosted at

We use Hugo with the google/docsy theme for styling and site structure, and Netlify to manage the deployment of the site.


Here’s a quick guide to updating the docs:

  1. Fork the layer5io/docs repository on GitHub.

  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. Alternatively, you use the /hold prow command in a comment to mark the PR as not ready for merge.

  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, remove any holds or “WIP” markers, and assign a reviewer/approver. See the Layer5 contributor guide.

If you need more help with the GitHub workflow, follow this guide to a standard GitHub workflow.

Local development

This section will show you how to develop the website locally, by running a local Hugo server.

Install Hugo

To install Hugo, follow the instructions for your system type.

NOTE: we recommend that you use Hugo version 0.119.0, as this is currently the version we deploy to Netlify.

For example, using homebrew to install hugo on macOS or linux:

# WARNING: this may install a newer version than `0.119.0`
brew install hugo

Install Node Packages

If you plan to make changes to the site styling, you need to install some node libraries as well. (See the Docsy setup guide for more information)

You can install the same versions we use in Netlify (defined in package.json) with the following command:

npm install -D

Run local hugo server

Follow the usual GitHub workflow of forking the repository on GitHub and then cloning your fork to your local machine.

  1. Fork the layer5io/docs repository in the GitHub UI.

  2. Clone your fork locally:

    git clone<your-github-username>/docs.git
    cd website/
  3. Initialize the Docsy submodule:

    git submodule update --init --recursive
  4. Install Docsy dependencies:

    # NOTE: ensure you have node 18 installed
    (cd themes/docsy/ && npm install)
  5. Start your local Hugo server:

    hugo server -D
  6. You can access your website at http://localhost:1313/

Useful docs

The site theme has one Hugo menu (main), which defines the top navigation bar. You can find and adjust the definition of the menu in the site configuration file.

The left-hand navigation panel is defined by the directory structure under the docs directory.

A weight property in the front matter of each page determines the position of the page relative to the others in the same directory. The lower the weight, the earlier the page appears in the section.

Here is an example file:

title = "Getting Started with Layer5"
description = "Overview"
weight = 1

Docsy Theme

We use the Docsy theme for the website. The theme files are managed with a git submodule in the themes/docsy directory.

Do not change these files, they are not actually inside this repo, but are part of the google/docsy repo.

To update referenced docsy commit, run the following command at the root of the repo:

# for example, to update docsy to v0.6.0
# WARNING: updating the docsy version will require you to update our overrides
#          check under: `layouts/partials` and `assets/scss`
git -C themes/docsy fetch --tags
git -C themes/docsy checkout tags/v0.6.0

Documentation style guide

For guidance on writing effective documentation, see the style guide for the Layer5 docs.

Styling your content

The theme holds its styles in the assets/scss directory.

Do not change these files, they are not actually inside this repo, but are part of the google/docsy repo.

You can override the default styles and add new ones:

  • In general, put your files in the project directory structure under website rather than in the theme directory. Use the same file name as the theme does, and put the file in the same relative position. Hugo looks first at the file in the main project directories, if present, then at the files under the theme directory. For example, the Layer5 website’s layouts/partials/navbar.html overrides the theme’s layouts/partials/navbar.html

  • You can update the Layer5 website’s project variables in the _variables_project.scss file. Values in that file override the Docsy variables. You can also use _variables_project.scss to specify your own values for any of the default Bootstrap 4 variables.

  • Custom styles _styles_project file

Styling of images:

  • To see some examples of styled images, take a look at the OAuth setup page in the Layer5 docs. Search for .png in the page source.

  • For more help, see the guide to Bootstrap image styling.

  • Also see the Bootstrap utilities, such as borders.

The site’s front page:

Using Hugo shortcodes

Sometimes it’s useful to define a snippet of information in one place and reuse it wherever we need it. For example, we want to be able to refer to the minimum version of various frameworks/libraries throughout the docs, without causing a maintenance nightmare.

For this purpose, we use Hugo’s “shortcodes”. Shortcodes are similar to Django variables. You define a shortcode in a file, then use a specific markup to invoke the shortcode in the docs. That markup is replaced by the content of the shortcode file when the page is built.

To create a shortcode:

  1. Add an HTML file in the /docs/layouts/shortcodes/ directory. The file name must be short and meaningful, as it determines the shortcode you and others use in the docs.

  2. For the file content, add the text and HTML markup that should replace the shortcode markup when the web page is built.

To use a shortcode in a document, wrap the name of the shortcode in braces and percent signs like this:

  { {% shortcode-name %}}

The shortcode name is the file name minus the .html file extension.

Example: The following shortcode defines the minimum required version of Kubernetes:

  • File name of the shortcode:

  • Content of the shortcode:

  • Usage in a document:

    You need Kubernetes version 1.28 or later.

Useful Hugo docs:

Versioning of the docs

For each stable release, we create a new branch for the relevant documentation. For example, the documentation for the v0.2 stable release is maintained in the v0.2-branch. Each branch has a corresponding Netlify website that automatically syncs each merged PR.

The versioned sites follow this convention:

  • always points to the current master branch
  • always points to GitHub head
  • points to the release at vXXX.YYY-branch

We also hook up each version to the dropdown on the website menu bar. For information on how to update the website to a new version, see the Layer5 release guide.

Whenever any documents reference any source code, you should use the version shortcode in the links, like so:

This ensures that all the links in a versioned webpage point to the correct branch.

Last modified December 13, 2023: duplicate meta description fix (9d2e6f9)