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LaunchDarkly's Docs

The LaunchDarkly docs service level agreement

All PRs to the LaunchDarkly-Docs repo will be addressed within five business days, often sooner. "Addressed" does not necessarily mean "merged" or "accepted." It means that a member of the LaunchDarkly docs team will acknowledge your PR within that timeframe.

In practical terms, we will likely merge your PR within five business days of submission.

Planning your docs contribution

Some larger PRs require back-and-forth iteration before they're ready to get published. If you're a partner or other party planning a large docs contribution to coincide with a feature release, buffer your time to accommodate for some discussion or review before your docs go live.

If you have a docs concern or contribution that you need addressed urgently, email

We'll do our best to merge your PR as soon as we can, but we're a small team serving a large community. Thank you in advance for your patience.

(Internal LaunchDarkly only) First-draft docs submission process

Follow this process:

  1. File a ticket in the Documentation Shortcut project. Summarize the changes you need in the ticket body. You can assign it to your squad or the epic related to your feature, but make sure it’s in the Documentation project!

  2. Schedule a kickoff meeting with @Sarah Day (or invite her to the feature kickoff meeting). You can add other writers if you need to as well.

  3. Two weeks before your feature launches, PR your docs updates into git-gatsby. The docs-reviewers alias get added automatically, but you should also add other technical or product reviewers if you need.

  4. Now the docs team gets your docs ready to ship! Expect to go back and forth with them in revisions once or twice before everyone agrees the docs are ready.

Learn more in Confluence.

Resources for contributors

You can make your contribution to the docs more likely to be accepted early by following our style guide and using our custom components.

If you want to write a good PR, here are some resources to get you started:

🚴 Running the docs site locally

Our site runs with Gatsby, NPM, and Yarn. To run the site on your local machine, you may have to install some packages and dependencies.

Here's how to start:

  1. Clone the repo locally.
  2. Navigate to it in your terminal.
  3. Run the following command:
yarn && yarn start

As a shortcut:

yarn dev

The site will build. Monitor the progress in your terminal, and when the build completes, navigate to localhost:8000.

You can also run in a fast development mode which omits all mdx images and most mdx content except for getting-started, managing-flags and managing-users:

yarn && yarn dev-fast

This cuts the gatsby build time to just < 7 seconds as opposed to > 1 minute.

To run tests, read Running tests.

👥 Adding new topics and editing existing topics from within the repo

The easiest way to modify an existing topic is by opening a PR against it directly from the docs site by clicking the "Edit in GitHub" button on the topic page.

If you want to add a new topic from a local build, the src/content/topics folder contains all the docs markdown. You can also find an existing topic and modify it from here.

Need more help? The contributor's guide goes into a lot more detail about the structure and architecture of the repo.

🔥 Troubleshooting the build

If you encounter what looks like a Gatsby cache issue, you can clean the Gatsby cache before your build the site.

Here's how:

yarn clean

If you still encounter issues, perform a clean-all to delete all possible caches:

yarn clean-all

(Internal LaunchDarkly use only) Accessing the repo and docs tools

If you're a new LaunchDarkly technical writer or other contributor accessing the repo for the first time, you must complete the following setup steps to access and make changes to git-gatsby.

  1. Request access to the Dev repo.
  2. Follow steps 1-9 under New computer setup.
  3. Request admin access to git-gatsby and LaunchDarkly-Docs. To learn more more about how the repos relate to each other, read Syncing content between git-gatsby and LaunchDarkly-Docs.

(Internal LaunchDarkly use only) 🌗 Accessing the staging site

When you open a docs PR, it creates a unique staging directory. The URL for that PR is linked in the PR page in the repo, and follows the pattern, where nnnn is your PR number. If the branch you are merging into has a name ending in -eap, then its content is additionally deployed to the staging site at, where branch-name is something like your-feature-eap.

Staging is automatically refreshed on a push to each branch. To learn more, read Build & Deploy.

(Internal LaunchDarkly use only) 🚀 Building and deploying the docs site

GitHub action automatically builds and deploys to staging on push to main.

If you want to manually deploy your own branch to staging, do this:

yarn deploy

This builds Gatsby and upload the artifacts to the staging s3 bucket.

(Internal LaunchDarkly use only) Scheduling a PR merge to main

In your pull requests, add a line to the end of the pull request description like this:

/schedule 2022-12-31

Or if you need to specify the exact time, you can use an ISO 8601 date string:

/schedule 2022-12-31T15:45:00

Dates are in PT timezone. Any string that works with the new Date() constructor will work.

(Internal LaunchDarkly use only) Flagging changes

We use flags in Catfood under the Docs project. There are three environments: Development, Test and Production corresponding to local dev, staging and prod respectively.

Flagging navigation items

You can use the gatsby-plugin-launchdarkly, to hide nav items behind a feature flag. To do this, add the flagKey property to the nav item you want to control with a flag in navigationData.json. Use the camel case version of the flag key, as shown below:

    "label": "Your flag controlled nav item",
    "path": "/home/getting-started/hiding-your-nav-behind-a-flag",
    "flagKey": "myHiddenNav"

Running tests


To check local links in MDX files run

yarn test-links

To validate external links locally, install lychee

brew install lychee

Then run

yarn lychee

To run spellcheck locally, use

yarn spellcheck

To run our integration tests locally, make sure the dev server is running via yarn start, and

yarn cypress

To run them in headless mode,

yarn cypress:ci

To skip external link validation,

yarn cypress --env skip_external=true


All of our tests are integrated into out CI/CI pipeline and most are guaranteed to run on every PR, except Internal link validation which only runs on main branch, because it can takes between 20-30 minutes.

To run Internal link validation on a branch:

  1. Navigate to the Workflow page
  2. Select Run workflow and choose the branch you would like to run the validation tests on.

🔨 Navigation data

All navigation data are stored in src/content/navigationData.json. This is flattened at build time to autogenerate two files rootTopics.json and secondLevelTopics.json. The flattened data are queryable via graphql and allows us to render the side nav more efficiently.

You can also flag navigation items. To learn more, please refer the section Flagging navigation items.

🔍 Algolia search

Please reach out to @scribblingfox if you need to log in to Algolia. She will be able to send you an invite.

To index mdx content and send to Algolia, create a local .env.development file that contains the following:


GATSBY_ALGOLIA_INDEX is the index name that will be used to create the algolia index for your content. For example, if you set GATSBY_ALGOLIA_INDEX=Pages and you run yarn build-dev, this will crawl all mdx files under src/content/topics and create an algolia index called Pages_development. The convention is {GATSBY_ALGOLIA_INDEX}_{ENVIRONMENT}. The environment variable can be set via cli param GATSBY_ACTIVE_ENV. For example, for staging, you would run the following command:

"build-staging": "GATSBY_ACTIVE_ENV=staging gatsby build",

This will create an algolia index called Pages_staging.


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