Documentation for Polymer
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Polymer docs are mostly in Markdown with some HTML. Jekyll is used to generate the static HTML for the site. The output is generated into a folder called _site and served from Google App Engine.

Prereqs and installation requirements

We use Jekyll 1.4.2+ and Grunt to generate the documentation, and compass to compile SASS to CSS. You'll need to install the requirements before working on the docs (these instructions assume NPM is already installed):

gem install jekyll kramdown jekyll-page-hooks compass
npm install -g grunt-cli

Note: If you receive permission warnings, you may need to run the above tasks with sudo.

You'll also need the App Engine SDK to run the dev_appserver and preview the docs locally. Download the SDK.

Check out the documentation

Checkout this repo:

git clone --recursive

Run the setup script:

cd docs

This will run npm install, pull down any external dependencies, and kickoff the grunt docs task. Note: these scripts can take some time to install.

During the setup process the polymer-all/projects directory is populated for you. Whenever the site is released you'll need to re-run ./scripts/ in order to refresh this and other directories. See the Polymer release section for more details.

Making edits and previewing changes

This repo (Polymer/docs) is where the documentation source files live. To make a change:

  1. First, fire up the App Engine dev server in this folder ( .) to preview the docs. There's also a grunt task that starts the serve (grunt serve).
  2. To build the docs, in another terminal, run grunt in base of the docs diretory. This starts up jekyll and watches for changes as you make edits. Be sure to run npm install in your docs directory if it's a new checkout. It can take some time for the docs to fully regenerate and be copied to the output folder...keep refreshing!
  3. If you're modifying CSS in .scss files, you'll also need to run compass watch from another terminal window to automatically compile .scss changes to .css.
  4. Make your edits.

Jekyll generates the static site in a folder named _site. Note: If you're not running jekyll to rebuild the site, you won't see your changes in the dev server.

Once your changes look good, git commit them and push.

Releases: pushing the docs

Note: only project owners can publish the documentation.

Preview locally

It's a good idea to run grunt docs before pushing the docs, as it runs a number of grunt tasks. Verify things went well and preview your changes locally using the dev server.


When we push a new version of Polymer, the site should be updated to use it. In addition, the element reference and other projects will need updating.

To update polymer.js, the poyfills, components, projects, etc., run the following in the root of the docs directory:


Once these are updated, you need to update some versions for the docs:

  • Increment the version in app.yaml;
  • Update the Polymer release version in _config.yml.
  • Add a link point link to the release notes in

Build the docs:

grunt docs

At this point, run the dev server and preview things locally to make sure nothing is terribly broken after Polymer and the elements have been updated.

Next, run the deploy script in the root of the Polymer/docs directory:


This script builds the site, api docs, runs Vulcanizer over the imports, and deploys to App Engine.

Last thing is to switch the app version in the App Engine admin console. To make the docs live, hit up and select the version you just deployed.