Advanced customization of the Yaydoc Build Process

Introduction

Although, Yaydoc exposes many environment variables which can be used to configure various aspects of the build process, there may be cases where a user needs much more finer control over the build process. Yaydoc uses sphinx under the hood which uses a file named conf.py to allow users to customize the build. As part of the build process, Yaydoc generates a file named conf.py from a custom made jinja2 template. With this week’s update, now a user can extend the generated conf.py by providing their own conf.py whose content would be appended to the generated conf.py.

More Details

Why append you may ask. Why not just overwrite? This is because the generated conf.py has a lot of boilerplate code which when overwritten will need to be rewritten by the user. That is why the contents are appended so that the user will only need to specify any extra configuration options they may wish to add or override. This approach has the following advantages:

  • Ability to override or add any configuration option during build.
  • Since the conf.py file is execfile`d by sphinx during build, the user has the ability to execute arbitrary code to customize any part of the build process.

The following block of code implements this feature.

if [ -f $DOCPATH/conf.py ]; then
  echo >> BUILD_DIR/conf.py
  cat $DOCPATH/conf.py >> BUILD_DIR/conf.py
  rsync -a $DOCPATH. BUILD_DIR/ --exclude=conf.py
else
  cp -a $DOCPATH. BUILD_DIR/
fi

Here we check if user has provided a conf.py, we append it to the generated conf.py. To append we used the >> shell redirection feature. It redirects stdout to a file similar to > but instead of overwriting the file, it appends to it.

This brings us on parity with sphinx as  far as customization goes. We may expose some more configuration variables for easier setup in the future, but now you can always modify any aspects of the build process even if it is not exposed via a variable. This should be enough for most use cases. More changes are on the way. Stay tuned for more updates.