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LICENSE updates README and LICENSE, fixes #2 Feb 28, 2018


Theme file along with a Python script which retrieves updates for documentation repositories, and builds internal and external-facing sites. It can be set to run at a specified time (for example on a nightly basis) using cron. Requires at least one documentation repository (see processing-manual).


git clone
cd docs-build

./ will install all the necessary dependencies, and also creates SSH keys which enable the application to interact with Github.


You can configure what the application does by copying the sample config file config.json.sample to config.json and adapting it to your needs. The structure of that file looks like this:

    "site_root": "/var/www",
    "repositories": "repositories",
    "public_site": {
      "root": "public",
      "staging": "staging",
      "build": "build",
      "link": "link"
    "private_site": {
      "root": "private",
      "staging": "staging",
      "build": "build",
      "link": "link"

repositories: Sets base directory into which repositories will be pulled from Github.

site_root: Configures the root directory for the site.

public_site and private_site: Objects containing configs to be set for each site.

root: Sets the root directory for the site, which will be nested underneath site_root_dir.

staging: Configures the staging directory to which directories will be copied before the build process, which will be nested below the root directory for that site.

build: Configures the directory into which the final sites will be built, which will be nested below the root directory for that site.

link: Configures an optional symbolic link target. Useful if you want to build your site somewhere other than a web accessible directory on your server.

Build Script is the script that pulls the updated data from GitHub, and then rebuilds the site using Jekyll. It handles build processes for documentation and theme repositories differently.

Repository Configuration

In order to work correctly, expects that the following variables will be available in a file named _config.yml located the root directory of a documentation repository. These files should be valid YAML.

public: true
  - "policy"
  - "preservation"
  - "appraisal"
  - "mission"
title: "Collection Policy"
description: "The main collecting areas of the Rockefeller Archive Center."
  - ["Rockefeller Archive Center Collection Policy", "index"]

public indicates whether or not the documentation should be public. Values should be either true or false (booleans, not strings).

tags are a list of tags you wish to associate with the documentation.

title is the official title of the documentation, which will be displayed on the home page of the site.

description is a short description of what the documentation is, the audience it is intended for, and what it helps that audience do. This text will be displayed on the home page of the site.

pages is a list of lists of the pages included in this site. The first value in each list is the name, and the second is the filename of the page (without the extension). These values are used when building tables of contents.

Other variables can be included in this config file if desired.

Repository Structure

The application will create a directory (configured in config.json as described above) containing subdirectories (based on repository name) for each documentation repository. Based on the default values supplied in config.json.sample that structure would be:

    ∟documentation files
    ∟documentation files


The site uses a Jekyll-based theme to create a cohesive structure and customizable interface. These files are located in the theme/ directory.

Layouts are written in HTML and are chiefly composed from a separate directory of Jekyll-based includes and one default layout template. They are styled with both Bootstrap and custom CSS and are rendered with the Liquid template language.

The layout directory formats the various documentation files stored in the individual GitHub repositories and thereby creates the site's central interface for access to documentation. This process is achieved through the use of layout variables in the documentation files' YAML front matter.

Build Structure

The build process copies directories and files from the repository directory to a new structure before executing the Jekyll build structure.

Assuming the values in config.json.sample above, the final structure would be:

      ∟files to be built
      ∟generated site
      ∟files to be built
      ∟generated site

The build directory for the public and private sites contain the final sites that need to be served up via Apache or some other method.

Adding Repositories

To add a repository, navigate to the root of the repositories directory, and then clone the repository you want to add:

  git clone

If you want to see how things look immediately, you can trigger the build process by running


Pull requests accepted!


Hillel Arnold
Hannah Sistrunk
Katie Martin
Darren Young


This code is released under an MIT License.

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