Contribute to the Documentation

How to help improve the Jenkins X documentation

We welcome your contributions to Jenkins X documentation whether you are a developer, an end user of Jenkins X, or someone who can’t stand seeing typos!


This contribution guide takes a step-by-step approach in hopes of helping newcomers. Therefore, we only assume the following:

  • You are new to Git or open-source projects in general
  • You are a fan of Jenkins X and enthusiastic about contributing to the project

Getting Started

The first thing you’ll need to do is get your local environment setup, so that you can add/change content and make sure it looks right before raising a Pull Request.

We’ll go through each step below, but here’s what you need to get started:

  • Git and a GitHub account
  • A local workign copy of the code
  • A way to run the site locally to check your changes before submitting them

Install Git on your system

Git is a version control system to track the changes of source code.

You will need to have Git installed on your computer to contribute to Jenkins X development. Teaching Git is outside the scope of the Jenkins X docs, but if you’re looking for an excellent reference to learn the basics of Git, we recommend the Git book if you are not sure where to begin.

Move back to the terminal and check if Git is already installed. Type git version and press enter. If the command returned a version number, you can skip the rest of this section.

Otherwise, download the latest version and follow this installation guide.

Finally, run git version again to check if Git was installed successfully.

Git Graphical Front Ends

There are several GUI clients that help you to operate Git. Not all are available for all operating systems and maybe differ in their usage. Thus, we will use the command line since the commands are everywhere the same.

Create a GitHub Account

If you’re going to contribute to the docs, you’ll need to have an account on GitHub. Go to and set up a personal account.

Set up your working copy

The working copy is set up locally on your computer. It’s what you’ll edit, compile, and end up pushing back to GitHub. The main steps are cloning the repository and creating your fork as a remote.

Fork the repository

If you’re not familiar with this term, GitHub’s help pages provide a simple explanation:

A fork is a copy of a repository. Forking a repository allows you to freely experiment with changes without affecting the original project.

Open the Jenkins X docs repository on GitHub and click on the “Fork” button in the top right.

Clone your fork locally

Now open your fork repository on GitHub and copy the remote url of your fork. You can choose between HTTPS and SSH as protocol that Git should use for the following operations. HTTPS works always if you’re not sure.

Copy remote url

Then go back to your terminal, cd to where you would like to place your local copy of the jx-docs repo, and then clone your fork.

git clone --recurse-submodules --depth 1<YOUR_USERNAME>/jx-docs.git
cd jx-docs

Add the conventional upstream git remote in order to fetch changes from the jx-docs master branch and to create pull requests:

git remote add upstream

Let’s check if everything went right by listing all known remotes:

git remote -v

The output should look similar to:

origin<YOUR_USERNAME>/jx-docs.git (fetch)
origin<YOUR_USERNAME>/jx-docs.git (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)

Local preview environment

The documentation (and the rest of the website) is generated using the static site generator Hugo, and you’ll need a copy of that locally to be able to preview the site.

Although Jenkins X offers preview environments, and they’re used as part of the process of contributing documentation, it’s usually faster to run the site locally and check that everything looks good for you, before you push your changes.

There are two different ways that you can run the site locally: using a locally installed version of Hugo or using a pre-baked Docker image that includes what’s normally needed. Which approach you choose is fully up to you.

Docker/docker-compose method

If you haven’t worked with Hugo before, or don’t want to install it locally, this is your best option.

The first thing you’ll need to make use of this approach is Docker installed on your local environment. How to install a Docker engine depends on your platform etc., so best to head over to Docker to find the right one.

To make it as simple as possible, we’ve created and published Docker images installed with what’s normally needed to run and work with Hugo, and have setup a docker-compose.yml file that will help you start up a preview server with a few helpful options.

In order to use this setup, first make sure you’re in the folder with your local cloned copy of the jx-docs repo, then run the following command to download and start the Hugo server:

docker-compose up -d server

This will make the site available on http://localhost:1313/ and it will auto-update when you save changes to any of the files in the repo.

To be able to see what’s going on, and know when the site is ready (can take a bit to process when you first start up), you can run this command (ctrl-c to stop watching the logs):

docker-compose logs -f server

You’ll know the site is ready when you see something like:

server_1        | Watching for changes in /src/{assets,content,layouts,static,themes}
server_1        | Watching for config changes in /src/config.toml, /src/themes/docsy/config.toml
server_1        | Environment: "development"
server_1        | Serving pages from memory
server_1        | Running in Fast Render Mode. For full rebuilds on change: hugo server --disableFastRender
server_1        | Web Server is available at //localhost:1313/ (bind address
server_1        | Press Ctrl+C to stop

As you’re changing things and adding new content, your local Hugo server might get a bit wonky at times or you’ll want to see what errors it’s throwing. Here’s a few simple commands to work with your local Hugo:

See the Hugo Logs

docker-compose logs -f server

Leave -f off if you don’t want new log entries to show up in your console. (ctrl-c to escape when -f is on)

Restart the Hugo Server

docker-compose restart server

Stop the Hugo Server

docker-compose stop server


docker-compose down

Install Hugo

You need a recent extended version (we recommend version 0.58 or later) of Hugo to do local builds and previews of the Jenkins X documentation site. If you install from the release page, make sure to get the extended Hugo version, which supports SCSS; you may need to scroll down the list of releases to see it.

Install Hugo following the instructions.

Check you’re using Hugo extended and a version higher than 0.58.0 :

hugo version

The output should look something like Hugo Static Site Generator v0.58.3/extended darwin/amd64 BuildDate: unknown

Install PostCSS

To build or update your site’s CSS resources, you also need PostCSS to create the final assets. If you need to install it, you must have a recent version of NodeJS installed on your machine so you can use npm, the Node package manager. By default npm installs tools under the directory where you run npm install:

sudo npm install -D --save autoprefixer
sudo npm install -D --save postcss-cli

Get local copies of the project submodules so you can build and run your site locally:

git submodule update --init --recursive

Starting the preview server

Build the site:

hugo server

It’s ready when you see something like this:

Environment: "development"
Serving pages from memory
Running in Fast Render Mode. For full rebuilds on change: hugo server --disableFastRender
Web Server is available at //localhost:1313/ (bind address
Press Ctrl+C to stop

Preview your site in your browser at: http://localhost:1313. You can use Ctrl + c to stop the Hugo server whenever you like.

It may be a good idea to run the server in a separate terminal so that you can keep it running while also using git or other commands.

Using spellchecker and linkchecker

In a later section we’ll go over how to use other tools to check for spelling errors or typos, as well as checking that all links are working as expected. If you don’t want to use the supplied docker approach, these tools will need to be installed locally as well:

npm i markdown-spellcheck -g
curl | sudo bash -s -- -b /usr/local/bin

See markdown-spellcheck install and htmltest install pages for more details on other ways to install them.

Contribution Workflow

Once you’ve completed the initial steps to get started, you can begin to make changes and add new content.

At a high level, your workflow will likely look something like this:

  • Create a new branch for you work
  • Start the Hugo server to preview your changes (updates the site live)
  • Make changes/add new content
  • Commit and push your changes to your fork of jx-docs
  • Raise a Pull Request (PR) to have your changes merged into the main jx-docs repo
  • Wait for and then participate in a review of your changes
    • might involve making adjustments or adding a bit more
  • See your changes go live on the Jenkins X site

We’ll go though each of the steps below in more detail

Create a new branch

First, ensure that your local repository is up-to-date with the latest version of jx-docs. More details on GitHub help

git fetch upstream
git checkout master
git merge upstream/master

You’ve now updated your local copy of the repository. To update your fork on GitHub, push your changes:

git push origin master

Create a new branch for the changes you’d like to make:

git checkout -b <BRANCH-NAME>

You can check on which branch your are with git branch. You should see a list of all local branches. The current branch is indicated with a little asterisk.

Start the Hugo server

In case you don’t already have it running, this is a good time to start your local Hugo server. See the previous sections on how to do this, as it depends on how you installed Hugo (locally, or using docker).

If you already have Hugo running, it’s usually best to double check that the site looks as you’d expect it (basically the same as the live site) and if something’s off, do a quick restart of Hugo.

Make Changes

All pages are written in GitHub-flavored markdown (see below for details on syntax).

Some things, like the footer etc. are in the /themes/docsy structure, but most likely you’ll just be adding/changing things in the various page structures. If you do make changes that involve the theme, remember to copy-paste the theme file to the appropriate folder in the /layouts structure, and make your changes there. If you make changes to files in the /themes/docsy structure, they will likely be deleted when we update the theme.

Add new Content

The Jenkins X docs make heavy use of Jenkins X’s archetypes feature. All content sections in Jenkins X documentation have an assigned archetype.

Adding new content to the Jenkins X docs follows the same pattern, regardless of the content section:

docker-compose run server new <DOCS-SECTION>/<new-content-lowercase>.md

Commit and push your changes

When you’ve finished, and verified that everything looks good (using the Hugo server), you should run one last check to verify that you didn’t break anything.

We’re using a tool called htmltest to check that links are still valid etc. so you just need to run the following commands to build the site locally, and verify that everything looks good:

docker-compose run server hugo
docker-compose up linkchecker

If using a locally installed Hugo/htmltest, use these commands instead:

htmltest -c .htmltest.yml

Checking Spelling

For spell checking, we’re using node-markdown-spellcheck to run through all our markdown files and list any spelling issue or unknown word it can find.

To make this as simple as possible, just run the following command

docker-compose up spellchecker

If using a locally installed Hugo/markdown-spellcheck, use these commands instead:

mdspell --en-us --ignore-numbers --ignore-acronyms --report "content/**/*.md"

This will output any issue the spell checker have found.

It’s likely that the report includes words that are spelled correctly, but that just means the spell checker is not aware of the correct spelling (happens a lot for technical terms, commands, etc.). Please edit the .spelling file and add the unknown word. Also, please try and keep the list alphabetically sorted; makes it easier to navigate when you’re looking for something

Commit & Push

If everything is good, you can commit your changes, and push them to your fork:

git push --set-upstream origin <BRANCH-NAME>

If you need to push more commits to the same branch, you can just use git push going forward; set-upstream is only needed once.

Open a pull request 🎉

In this step, you’ll open a pull request to submit your additions. Open either the Jenkins X documentation master repository or your own fork of the respository on GitHub in your browser.

You should find a green button labeled with “New pull request”. But GitHub is clever and probably suggests you a pull request like in the beige box below:

Open a pull request

Click on the green “Compare and pull request” button. A new page will open which summaries the most important information of your pull request. Scroll down and you’ll find the additions of all your commits. Make sure everything looks as expected and click on “Create pull request”.

There are a number of automated checks that will run on your PR:

  • Semantic Pull Request - validates that your commit messages meet the Conventional Commit format. Additionally your PR must also have a conventional message. The UX for this bot is a little odd as it doesn’t go red if the messages are NOT correct, instead it goes yellow. You need it to go to a green tick!
  • tide - performs the merge when all the checks pass. Don’t worry about the state of this one, it doesn’t add much info. Clicking on the details link is very helpful as it will take you to the dashboard where you can navigate to the “Tide” screen and check the status of your PR in the merge queue.

Review Process

The final part of all of this, is letting others review your work and provide feedback. As a rule of thumb, the conversation should happen on the PR, but sometimes things will be sorted out via Slack or a video call.

Sometimes it may take a few days for a review to happen. If you feel it’s an urgent change, jump on the community slack channel #jenkins-x-user and ask for someone to review your PR.

Once the review is done, your changes will be merged into the master branch, and the site will be updated.


The following sections contains other information that’s helpful when working with Hugo and the Jenkins X site; you don’t necessary need to go through this if this is your first time.

Search by Algolia/DocSearch

We’re using DocSearch by Algolia to power the internal search.

  • The script and local config are declared in /layouts/partials/scripts.html
  • Styling is included via /layouts/partials/head-css.html
  • The configuration of the search index is managed via docsearch-configs which can be updated via a PR

Markdown Syntax Reference

Code examples

Across all pages on the Jenkins X docs, the typical triple-back-tick markdown syntax is used. If you do not want to take the extra time to implement the following code block shortcodes, please use standard GitHub-flavored markdown. The Jenkins X docs use a version of highlight.js with a specific set of languages.

Your options for languages are xml/html, go/golang, md/markdown/mkd, handlebars, apache, toml, yaml, json, css, asciidoc, ruby, powershell/ps, scss, sh/zsh/bash/git, http/https, and javascript/js.

// CommandInterface defines the interface for a Command
//go:generate pegomock generate CommandInterface -o mocks/command_interface.go
type CommandInterface interface {
	DidError() bool
	DidFail() bool
	Error() error
	Run() (string, error)
	RunWithoutRetry() (string, error)


// CommandInterface defines the interface for a Command
//go:generate pegomock generate CommandInterface -o mocks/command_interface.go
type CommandInterface interface {
	DidError() bool
	DidFail() bool
	Error() error
	Run() (string, error)
	RunWithoutRetry() (string, error)


Blockquotes can be added to the Jenkins X documentation using typical Markdown blockquote syntax:

> Without the threat of punishment, there is no joy in flight.

The preceding blockquote will render as follows in the Jenkins X docs:

Without the threat of punishment, there is no joy in flight.

However, you can add a quick and easy <cite> element (added on the client via JavaScript) by separating your main blockquote and the citation with a hyphen with a single space on each side:

> Without the threat of punishment, there is no joy in flight. - [Kobo Abe](

Which will render as follows in the Jenkins X docs:

Without the threat of punishment, there is no joy in flight. - Kobo Abe