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This repository contains the source code for and

Please see the main Istio README file to learn about the overall Istio project and how to get in touch with us. To learn how you can contribute to any of the Istio components, please see the Istio contribution guidelines.

Editing and building

To learn how to edit and build this repo's content, please refer to Creating and Editing Pages.

Versions and releases

Istio maintains two variations of its public site.

  • is the main site, showing documentation for the current release of the product. contains snapshots of the documentation for previous releases of the product. This is useful for customers still using these older releases.

  • contains the actively updated documentation for the next release of the product.

The user can trivially navigate between the different variations of the site using the gear menu in the top right of each page. Both sites are hosted on Netlify.

How versioning works

  • Documentation changes are primarily committed to the master branch of Changes committed to this branch are automatically reflected on

  • The content of is taken from the latest release-XXX branch. The specific branch that is used is determined by the Netlify project's configuration.

Publishing content immediately

Checking in updates to the master branch will automatically update, and will only be reflected on the next time a release is created, which can be several weeks in the future. If you'd like some changes to be immediately reflected on, you need to check your changes both to the master branch and to the current release branch (named release-<MAJOR>.<MINOR> such as release-1.7).

This process can be taken care of automatically by our infrastructure. If you submit a PR to the master branch and annotate the PR with the cherrypick/release-<MAJOR>.<MINOR> label, then as soon as your PR is merged into master, it will be merged into the specified release branch.

Creating a major/minor release

Here are the steps necessary to create a new documentation version. Let's assume the current version of Istio is 1.6 and you wish to introduce 1.7 which has been under development.

When Istio source code is branched

Run make prepare-1.7.0, and that's it. This will grab the latest reference docs from the new istio source branch into the content/en/docs/reference folder.

Approaching the day of the release

  1. For a dry run before official release, run make release-1.7.0-dry-run, which will only create a new branch release-1.7-dry-run and not touch any other branches.

  2. On the day of release, run make release-1.7.0. This make target will change some variables in master and release-1.6, and create a new branch release-1.7 for the new version.

  3. Go to the project on Netlify and do the following:

    • Change the branch that is built from the previous release's branch to the new release branch, in this case release-1.7 (or release-1.7-dry-run as appropriate).

    • Select the option to trigger an immediate rebuild and redeployment.

    • Once deployment is done, browse and make sure everything looks good.

  4. Go to the Google Custom Search Engine and do the following:

    • Download the CSE context file from the Advanced tab.

    • Add a new FacetItem at the top of the file containing the previous release's version number. In this case, this would be V1.6.

    • Upload the updated CSE context file to the site.

    • In the Setup section, add a new site that covers the previous release's archive directory. In this case, the site URL would be*. Set the label of this site to the name of the facet item created above (V1.6 in this case).

Creating a patch release

A few days before the patch release, the release managers should notify the Doc WG that the release is built and is starting it's long running qualification test. At this time, move the doc automation tests to use the new release to verify automated doc testing passes.

To move to a new release (make sure you are in the patch's release branch):

  1. Run go get && go mod tidy.

  2. Create a PR with the go.* changes.

Creating a new patch release involves modifying a few files:

  1. Edit data/args.yml and change the full_version field to "A.X.Y". This is only needed for a patch of the current release.

  2. Complete the release note for the release by editing the markdown file content/en/news/releases/A.X.x/announcing-A.X.Y/ This is where you describe the changes in the release. Please look at other existing files for example content and layout.

  3. Run make update_ref_docs to get the latest reference docs. Normally, this is only needed for a patch of the current release. If needed in an earlier release, see Updating an archive.

Updating an archive

If the archived version in a newer branch (e.g., release-1.7:archive/v1.6) needs to be updated due to changes in the old release branch (release-1.6 in this case), you can run make build-old-archive-1.6.0 in the master branch, which will re-archive release-1.6 and substitute it for the previous archive in the master branch. If this update needs to be reflected in, the PR may be cherry-picked to the branch for the current release.

Updating the test reference for a given release stream

The release streams starting with release-1.6 contain tests for the test content. Each release tests against a particular istio version/commit. When the release team has a build, 1.x.y, ready for their long running tests, they should come to the docs team to have the testing for that release run start running against the build.

There are two types of builds, public and private. The normal dev and release builds are built from our public repos and have images in a publicly accessible repository and are considered public. Private builds are those where we can't reveal much before release. Typically it's an advance notice that a release will happen in two weeks for CVEs. Since we can't reveal anything before the actual release, the source and built images are in private repos. As the source and images are private, we can't actually move to them until they are publicly released, and thus there is no early testing of the release in The difference for private builds is that the images we test against were never created in the public repository, so in that case we use the images. One may ask why we don't always use the release images from Since we want to test public builds before they are released, the images don't yet exist on

For public builds:

  1. Get the istio/istio commit that was used for the build from file.
  2. In the release branch: Run go get && go mod tidy.

For private builds (this is done after the build is released):

  1. In the release branch: Run go get && go mod tidy.

For both builds, we want to verify that the HUB/TAG are correct in the (they change depending on if using the private or public builds). Look for the section similar to:

# If one needs to test before a build is available (using a public test build),
# the export HUB and TAG can be commented out, and the initial HUB un-commented
HUB ?=
# export HUB ?=
# export TAG ?= 1.7.3

For public builds, the export HUB/TAGs would be uncommented and have correct values. For private builds, or the master branch, the HUB would be uncommented.

Finally, create and submit a PR with the changes and one can see the test results in the PR. Normally, the PR won't actually merge until the release is released (sometimes there are multiple builds for a release).

Testing document content

Many documents on the Istio site demonstrate features using commands that may or may not continue to work as Istio evolves from release to release. To ensure the documented instructions stay up to date with as little continuous manual testing as possible, we have created a framework to automate the testing of these documents.

Every page on that can be tested includes a PAGE TEST indication under the page title. For example:


A green checkmark indicates an automated test is available for the page. The page is up to date and working as documented.

A grey X, on the other hand, means that there is no automated test available for the page, yet. We'd appreciate it if you'd like to help create one! Our goal is to eventually have an automated test in place for every testable document published on the Istio site.

See the tests README for more information.

Multi-language support

The site is translated into multiple languages. Source of truth is the English content, while other languages are derived and so tend to lag behind slightly. Each site language gets its own fully self-contained content directory and translation table file. Languages are identified using their international 2-letter language code. The main site content is located in content/<language code> (e.g. content/en), and the translation table is a TOML-format file in i18n\<language code>.toml (e.g. i18n/en.toml).

Getting started with translation is fairly simple:

  • Create a full copy of the content/en directory for your language. For example, you'd copy content/en to content/fr if you were doing a French translation.

  • Update all the links in your new content directory to point to your content directory instead of to the English content. For example, if you were doing a French translation you would change links such as [a doc](/docs/a/b/c) to [a doc](/fr/docs/a/b/c).

  • Remove all the aliases directives in the front-matter of all content pages. Aliases are used when moving a page to a new location, so they're not desirable for brand new content.

  • Create a copy of the i18n/en.toml file for your language. For example, you'd copy i18n/en.toml to i18n/fr.toml if you were doing a French translation. This file contains the text that is displayed by the site infrastructure for things like menus, and other standard material.

  • Edit the file hugo.toml to list your new language. Search for the [languages] entry and just add a new entry. This tells the Hugo site generator to process your content.

  • Edit the file scripts/ and search for check_content. Add another call to check_content for your new content directory. This ensures that the linting rules apply to your new content.

  • Edit the file src/ts/lang.ts and add your new language. This will add your language to the language toggle button that is available on and will make it so your language will be supported in the language selection menu.

  • Get an Istio GitHub administrator to create a new maintainer team for your language. For French, this would be WG - Docs Maintainers/French.

  • Edit the file CODEOWNERS and add entries for your language to give the new team you've created ownership over the translated content and translation table file.

You can then commit all of these changes and you can start translating the content and the translation file in a purely incremental fashion. When you build the site, you'll find your content at <url>/<language code>. For example, once you've checked everything in, you should be able to get to your content at if you were doing a French translation.

Once your translation is complete and you're ready to publish it to the world, there are a few other changes you need to make:

  • Edit the file layouts/index.redir. Search for translated sites and add a line for your language. This will cause users coming to the site for the first time to be automatically redirected to the translated content suitable for them. For French, this would be:

    /  /fr   302  Language=fr
  • Edit fhe file layouts/partials/headers.html. Search for switch-lang and you'll find the definitions for the language selection menu. Add a line for your new language.

And that's it.

Regular maintenance

We have a number of checks in place to ensure a number of invariants are maintained in order to help the site's overall quality. For example, we disallow checking in broken links and we do spell checking. There are some things which are hard to systematically check through automation and instead require a human to review on in a while to ensure everything's doing well.

It's a good idea to run through this list before every major release of the site:

  • Ensure that references to the Istio repos on GitHub don't hardcode branch names. Search for any uses of /release-1 or /master throughout all the markdown files and replace those with {{< source_branch_name >}} instead, which produces a version-appropriate branch name.

  • Review the .spelling file for words that shouldn't be in there. Type names in particular tend to creep in here. Type names should not be in the dictionary and should instead be shown with backticks. Remove the entries from the dictionary and fix any spell checking errors that emerge.

  • Ensure proper capitalization. Document titles need to be fully capitalized (e.g. "This is a Valid Title"), while section headings should use first letter capitalization only (e.g. "This is a valid heading").

  • Ensure that preformatted text blocks that reference files from the Istio GitHub repos use the @@ syntax to produce links to the content. See here for context.