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NetNewsWire Help Book

Help books for NetNewsWire, a free and open source RSS reader for Mac and iOS.

Available on the web at

Contribute to the help books

Right now we have English docs but other languages are welcome.

If you’d like to write or edit the help books, translate them or help with anything at all, please bring it up on the NetNewsWire Slack group in the #helpbook channel. We’ll coordinate there.

If you find an error or have any suggestions, you can also file an issue.

Every community member is expected to abide by the code of conduct included in the NetNewsWire Contributing page.

How we make the help books


Write in Markdown, and use HTML when necessary. Save pages as .markdown files. Wildcat will transform these into a site of HTML files. We publish the help books on the NetNewsWire site:


Use a @title directive to set the page title. This sets it in the HTML page’s head and inserts a top level page heading (h1) when we generate the site:

@title This cat is wild


Write links with standard Markdown syntax. When you link to another Help Book page, don’t include a file extension:


is sufficient to link to the final HTML version of the export-opml.markdown page.


There are three types of badge you can use to point out important information or to provide guideposts to readers.

An amber/yellow warning badge which can be used as such:

<span class="badge-warning">iOS and iPadOS Only</span>

A blue distro badge should be used for pointing out differences between versions of the app.

<span class="badge-distro">Mac App Store</span>
<span class="badge-distro">Direct Download</span>

A green note badge which could be used for pointers and tips, or new feature notes

<span class="badge-note">New in 5.1</span>

Small versions of badges

If these badges are used inline, it’s better to use their small versions:

<span class="badge-warning-small">iOS and iPadOS Only</span>
<span class="badge-distro-small">Mac App Store</span>
<span class="badge-distro-small">Direct Download</span>
<span class="badge-note-small">New in 5.1</span>


Save Location for images

Put images in the images folder at the root of the project.

When linking to images, use a relative path. For example, use:


when you’re linking from a page at mac/5.1/en/page.markdown.

File names

Because all images are saved in a single directory, it’s best to name files so they’re easy to identify. For example:


Insert images

All images must include an alt attribute whose text is descriptive of the linked image.

You can use the standard Markdown syntax for images:

![Alt text](/path/to/img.jpg "Optional title")

But for more control, it’s best to just use HTML.

<img src="../../../images/mac-en-share_menu_more_selected.png"
	alt="A screenshot of the macOS Share menu showing the “More…” item highlighted."
	style="width: 33%;" />
Image alignment

You can use the centeredImage CSS class to centre your image. You can adjust the size of your image using a relative unit (like 33% above). You can also specify absolute pixel units with width and height attributes in the <img> tag.

Other image effects
  • A standardised shadow can be added to an image by adding the shadowedBox class
  • A standardised border (useful for iOS) can be added by adding the lightBorder class


Screenshots must be taken on a retina device. We’ll use retina images even for non-retina machines (rather than doing double the number of screenshots). It’s fine.

Help book style

As much as possible, we follow the Apple Style Guide (also available on Apple Books).

Build the help book site locally

You’ll need Wildcat, Ruby and a handful of Gems.

Step 1. Set up and install Ruby and Gems

Wildcat is written in Ruby, which comes with your Mac. Consider setting up your own Ruby environment with rbenv or Ruby Version Manager (rvm), then install the required gems using the Gemfile:

gem install bundler
bundle install

At the time of writing, these dependencies are Kramdown and stringex, if you want to install them manually.

Step 2. Set up Wildcat

Download or clone Wildcat, then copy the project’s contents to the NetNewsWireHelp folder. Git will ignore these files. Create a wildcat_settings file with these settings:

@site_name NetNewsWire Help
@output_file_suffix .html
@output_folder /Users/brent/Sites/NetNewsWireHelp/
@has_blog false

Change @output_folder to whatever makes sense on your machine. On the site, we set @output_file_suffix to (empty-string), but .html files may be easier to work with.

Note: This doesn’t build a truly self-contained website. We’d like to make that possible in the future.

Step 3. Build the site

Run ruby wildcat_publish.rb to build the site to the folder you specified. You’ll need to provide the web server if you want a fully linked and working site.

Preview help book pages in BBEdit

To get a general idea of how the pages will look, you can copy the stylesheet to BBEdit’s Preview CSS library (See BBEdit → Folders → Preview CSS). You might want to adjust the body margin and width to make it look a little nicer:

margin: 2.1rem auto;
max-width: 55ch;

Image links won’t work because they’d need an extra ../ locally. To make them work without editing the links, you can add an alias/symlink in the pages directory to the ../images directory.


Help pages for NetNewsWire, an open source RSS reader for Mac and iOS.







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