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Contributing to the ASP.NET Core documentation

The document covers the process for contributing to the articles and code samples that are hosted on the ASP.NET Core documentation site. Contributions may be as simple as typo corrections or as complex as new articles.

How to make a simple correction or suggestion

Articles are stored in the repository as Markdown files. Simple changes to the content of a Markdown file can be made in the browser by tapping the Edit link in the upper right corner of the browser window. (In narrow browser windows you might need to expand the options bar to see the Edit link.) Follow the directions to create a pull request (PR). The ASP.NET documentation team will review the PR and accept it or suggest changes.

How to make a more complex submission

You'll need a basic understanding of Git and GitHub.com.

  • Open an issue describing what you want to do, such as change an existing article or create a new one. Wait for approval from the ASP.NET documentation team before you invest much time.
  • Fork the aspnet/Docs repo and create a branch for your changes.
  • Submit a pull request (PR) to master with your changes.
  • If your PR has the label 'cla-required' assigned, complete the Contribution License Agreement (CLA)
  • Respond to PR feedback.

For an example where this process led to publication of a new article, see issue 67 and pull request 798 in the .NET Core repository. The new article is Documenting your code.

Markdown syntax

Articles are written in DocFx-flavored Markdown, which is a superset of GitHub-flavored Markdown (GFM). For examples of DFM syntax for UI features commonly used in the ASP.NET documentation, see Metadata and Markdown Template in the .NET Core repo style guide.

Folder structure conventions

For each Markdown file there may be a folder for images and a folder for sample code. For example, if the article is fundamentals/configuration.md, the images are in fundamentals/configuration/_static and the sample application project files are in fundamentals/configuration/sample. An image in the fundamentals/configuration.md file is rendered by the following Markdown.

![description of image for alt attribute](configuration/_static/imagename.png)

All images should have alt text.

Code snippets

Articles frequently contain code snippets to illustrate points. DFM lets you copy code into the Markdown file or refer to a separate code file. We prefer to use separate code files whenever possible, to minimize the chance of errors in the code. The code files should be stored in the repo using the folder structure described above for sample projects.

Here are some examples of DFM code snippet syntax that would be used in a configuration.md file.

To render an entire code file as a snippet:

[!code-csharp[Main](configuration/sample/Program.cs)]

To render a portion of a file as a snippet by using line numbers:

[!code-csharp[Main](configuration/sample/Program.cs?range=1-10,20,30,40-50]
[!code-html[Main](configuration/sample/Views/Home/Index.cshtml?range=1-10,20,30,40-50]
[!code-javascript[Main](configuration/sample/Project.json?range=1-10,20,30,40-50]

For C# snippets, you can reference a C# region. Whenever possible, use regions rather than line numbers, because line numbers in a code file tend to change and get out of sync with line number references in Markdown. C# regions can be nested, and if you reference the outer region, the inner #region and #endregion directives are not rendered in a snippet.

To render a C# region named "snippet_Example":

[!code-csharp[Main](configuration/sample/Program.cs?name=snippet_Example)]

To highlight selected lines in a rendered snippet (usually renders as yellow background color):

[!code-csharp[Main](configuration/sample/Program.cs?name=snippet_Example&highlight=1-3,10,20-25)]
[!code-csharp[Main](configuration/sample/Program.cs?range=10-20&highlight=1-3]
[!code-html[Main](configuration/sample/Views/Home/Index.cshtml?range=10-20&highlight=1-3]
[!code-javascript[Main](configuration/sample/Project.json?range=10-20&highlight=1-3]

Test your changes with DocFX

Test your changes with the DocFX command-line tool, which creates a locally hosted version of the site. DocFX doesn't render style and site extensions created for docs.microsoft.com.

DocFX requires the .NET Framework on Windows, or Mono for Linux or macOS.

Windows instructions

  • Download and unzip docfx.zip from DocFX releases.
  • Add DocFX to your PATH.
  • In a command-line window, navigate to the aspnet folder (which contains the docfx.json file) and run the following command:

    docfx -t default --serve
    
  • In a browser, navigate to http://localhost:8080.

Mono instructions

  • Install Mono via Homebrew - brew install mono.
  • Download the latest version of DocFX.
  • Extract to \bin\docfx.
  • Create an alias for docfx:

    function docfx {
      mono $HOME/bin/docfx/docfx.exe
    }
    
    function docfx-serve {
      mono $HOME/bin/docfx/docfx.exe serve _site
    }
    
  • Run docfx in the Docs\aspnetcore directory to build the site, and docfx-serve to view the site at http://localhost:8080.

Voice and tone

Our goal is to write documentation that is easily understandable by the widest possible audience. To that end we have established guidelines for writing style that we ask our contributors to follow. For more information, see Voice and tone guidelines in the .NET Core repo.

Redirects

If you delete an article, change its file name, or move it to a different folder, create a redirect so that people who bookmarked the article won't get 404s. To set up a redirect, create a file that has the redirect target URL as shown below, and put it in the original file's location.

---
redirect_url: /aspnet/core/location-of-target-for-redirect
---

For an example, see the redirect file that redirects /security/authentication/sociallogins to /security/authentication/social/index.