Generates the Dart documentation for all the packages in pub
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pubspec.yaml generator

This is a bunch of scripts, which generate contents, for every single package in pub.


It runs on Google Compute Engine instances, and designed to be run there. You still can run it on your local machine, in this case you'll need to create credentials.yaml file with the credentials, which allow access to Dartdocs project in Google Cloud and also to the dartdocs' account on CloudFlare CDN. Check out credentials.yaml.example for the example.

Unfortunately (or, fortunately :)) you cannot do anything with without the credentials.

But once you got them, the rest is simple (if you have Dart already installed):

git clone
cd dartdocorg
pub get

Now, copy your credentials to credentials.yaml, and you are good to go.

Dart Scripts

It has several scripts, which you can use to control the generation of docs. All scripts support --help arg, which will tell you more about the supported arguments.

  • bin/package_generator.dart

That's the main one, it generates documentation for the packages from pub. It downloads the list of available packages from pub, installs them, generates the documentation, and uploads it to Google Cloud Storage. Doing that in batches.

It also supports "sharding". If there are several instances running in the same Compute Engine Instance Group, you can specify the name of the group in config.yaml, and then they will split the work between the instances. So, if you need to regenerate the docs for the whole pub quickly, you can run 100 instances within the same group, and it probably will be done in several hours.

It also stores all the meta information about the packages to Google Datastore (like, the status of generation (success or error), when it was generated, etc).

It also can regenerate specific package/version, check --help for details.

  • bin/index_generator.dart

Using all the meta information from Google Datastore, stored by package_generator.dart, it builds index pages and uploads them to Google Cloud Storage as well. Like, index.html page with all the successfully generated packages, 'failures' page with links to logs of failures, 'history' page with the latest generated packages, its status and links to logs as well.

  • bin/purge_cdn_cache.dart

It just sends a command via CloudFront API to clear all the cache on CloudFront. Useful when you regenerate the whole site with the new version of dartdoc, for example.

  • bin/bump_docs_version.dart

We have a global variable 'docsVersion', which is stored in Datastore, and also every single meta record in Datastore has a field with that value. It's an integer, which is just a timestamp. When the package's docsVersion value is equal to the global docsVersion value, we consider it generated (with success or error). When they are not equal, the package docs will be regenerated again. So, bin/bump_docs_version.dart just bumps global docsVersion to the current timestamp. Which means all the packages will be stale, and will be regenerated again. That's useful when you need to regenerate all the packages with the new version of dartdocs, for example.

Shell scripts

There are also some shell scripts, which we use to run the app


It configures Google Cloud project to run dartdocorg. It adds indexes to Datastore, creates the bucket, creates instance templates and run instances in instance groups.

  • {index,package}

This is a startup script for the index and package instances, it provisions the instances:

  • Installs latest Dart SDK
  • Clones and configures the app
  • Creates credentials.yaml
  • Configures monit to restart the script if it crashes
  • Configures log rotation
  • {index,package}

This is the script, which is used by monit to start, stop and restart the Dart scripts.

Cloud architecture

It uses:

  • Google Compute Engine - to run bin/package_generator.dart and bin/index_generator.dart. There are 2 instance groups where these scripts run - dartdocs-package-generators and dartdocs-index-generators accordingly. dartdocs-index-generators is supposed to have only one running instance, which will rebuild the index pages (by running bin/index_generator.dart) and also will build documentation for the packages (by running bin/package_generator.dart). dartdocs-package-generators can have any number of running instances (even 0, since we still have one running bin/package_generator.dart on the dartdocs-index-generators instance), depending on the work load and how fast you want to regenerate the documentation. You can think about it as an auxiliary group, which helps you to scale generation when needed, in case you e.g. need to regenerate documentation for all packages.

    Both have startup scripts, which are run on an instance launch. They install Dart, clone the repo, configure monit and log rotation, and finally start the bin/ scripts. You can find templates for them in the files

    To control the number of running instances per group from CLI, you can use the following commands:

$ gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-index-generators --size 1 --zone us-central1-f
$ gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-package-generators --size 4 --zone us-central1-f
  • Google Cloud Datastore - to store all the meta information about packages (status, updatedAt, docsVersion, etc). It also has custom composite indexes defined in index.yaml. To load the indexes to the Datastore from CLI, use the following command:
$ gcloud preview datastore create-indexes index.yaml

To remove old unused instances:

$ gcloud preview datastore cleanup-indexes index.yaml
  • Google Cloud Storage - to store all the documentation and index packages. It's configured to serve it as a static site.

  • CloudFront CDN - to add SSL support and the redirect from to

Common tasks

  • Regenerate the docs with the new version of dartdoc

The instances install the latest dev SDK on boot, (check out the {index,package} script). So, to upgrade to the new version of dartdoc, we need to restart the instances and scale dartdocs-package-generators up. We also need to run bin/bump_docs_version.dart to update docsVersion and purge the CDN cache for the package docs.

So, you have to do:

$ gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-index-generators --size 0 --zone us-central1-f
$ gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-package-generators --size 0 --zone us-central1-f
$ dart bin/bump_docs_version.dart
$ gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-index-generators --size 1 --zone us-central1-f
$ gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-package-generators --size 40 --zone us-central1-f
... after its done ...
$ dart bin/purge_cdn_cache.dart

So, the command gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-package-generators --size 40 --zone us-central1-f sets the number of instances in dartdocs-package-generators group according to the --size argument. For now, you only can launch 100 CPU units in the google cloud project, so, limited with 50 instances.

It takes ~6-8 hours to regenerate the whole pub with 40 instances in the dartdocs-package-generators group.

It doesn't scale down automatically, you have to use the command gcloud compute instance-groups managed resize dartdocs-package-generators --size 0 --zone us-central1-f to scale it back to zero instances once they are done with regenerating everything (remember, you'll still have one instance in the dartdocs-index-generators, which also generates the documentation for the packages)

  • Regenerate just one specific package

Just simply run:

$ dart bin/package_generator.dart --name blah --version 1.2.3

And it will regenerate the package and override it on the

Canonical urls

We have lots of versions of docs for a package, and we want search engines to give users the latest copy of the docs. We don't want an old version to appear at the top of the search results.

We achieve that by setting a rel="canonical" in the HTML pages of the docs, this way we tell search engines what the canonical doc is for a package. The canonical url looks like /documentation/package-name/latest/index.html (note the use of latest here)

When we generate docs for a package, we set rel="canonical" meta tag, and also we generate the HTML for the latest/index.html, which contains meta refresh tag. So, when user opens latest/index.html, she'll be redirected to the latest version of the package, like /documentation/package-name/1.2.3/index.html.