Finishing Up: Additional Extensions & Individual Exploration

If there is much time left in the session, take some time to play around and get to know Sphinx better. There is a large ecosystem of extensions, and lots of builtin features we haven’t covered.

I’m happy to consult with you about interesting challenges you might be facing with docs.

Part of being a good user of Sphinx is knowing what all is there. Here are a few options for what to look at:

  • Developing extensions for Sphinx
  • Read through all the existing extensions
  • Breathe
  • Explore the Read the Docs Admin Panel
  • Apply these docs to a project you have
  • Show a neighbor what you’ve done & talk about the concepts learned.

Also, here are a number of more thought out examples of things you might do:

Markdown Support

You can use Markdown and reStructuredText in the same Sphinx project. We support this natively on Read the Docs, and you can do it locally:

$ pip install recommonmark

Then in your

from recommonmark.parser import CommonMarkParser

source_parsers = {
    '.md': CommonMarkParser,

source_suffix = ['.rst', '.md']


Markdown doesn’t support a lot of the features of Sphinx, like inline markup and directives. However, it works for basic prose content.

You can now add a Markdown file with a .md extension, and Sphinx will build it into the project. You can do things like include it in your normal TOC Tree, and Sphinx will search it.

Go ahead and add a new Markdown File with an .md extension. Since we haven’t covered Markdown in this text, here is an example

# Community Standards

The Crawler community is quite large,
and with that we have a specific set of standards that we apply in our community.

All of our project spaces are covered by the [Django Community Code of Conduct](].

### Feedback

Any issues can be sent directly to our [project mailing list](

Add it to your toctree in your index.rst as well, and you will see it appear properly in Sphinx.

Generate i18n Files

Sphinx has support for i18n. If you do a make gettext on your project, you should get a gettext catalog for your documentation. Check for it in _build/locale.

You can then use these files to translate your documentation using most standard tools. You can read more about this in Sphinx’s Internationalization doc.

Play with Sphinx autoapi

sphinx-autoapi is a tool that I am helping develop which will make doing API docs easier. It depends on parsing, instead of importing code. This means you don’t need to change your PYTHONPATH at all, and we have a few other different design decisions.

First you need to install autoapi:

pip install sphinx-autoapi

Then add it to your Sphinx project’s

extensions = ['autoapi.extension']

# Document Python Code
autoapi_type = 'python'
autoapi_dir = '../src'

AutoAPI will automatically add itself to the last TOCTree in your top-level index.rst.

This is needed because we will be outputting rst files into the autoapi directory. This adds it into the global TOCTree for your project, so that it appears in the menus.

Add Django Support

Have a Django project laying around? Add Sphinx documentation to it! There isn’t anything special for Django projects except for the DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE.

You can set it in your, similar to autodoc. Try this piece of code:

# Set this to whatever your settings file should default to.
os.environ.setdefault("DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE", "settings.test")


Tables can be a tricky part of a lot of lightweight markup languages. Luckily, RST has some really nice features around tables. It supports tables in a couple easier to use formats:

So for example, you can manage your tables in Google Docs, then export them as CSV in your docs.

An example of a CSV table:

.. csv-table::
   :header: "Treat", "Quantity", "Description"
   :widths: 15, 10, 30

   "Albatross", 2.99, "On a stick!"
   "Crunchy Frog", 1.49, "If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be
   crunchy, now would it?"
   "Gannet Ripple", 1.99, "On a stick!"

And a rendered example:

Treat Quantity Description
Albatross 2.99 On a stick!
Crunchy Frog 1.49 If we took the bones out, it wouldn’t be crunchy, now would it?
Gannet Ripple 1.99 On a stick!

Go ahead and try it yourself!