Documentation for Particle
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Particle Documentation Build Status

Here you'll find the documentation for the Particle platform, including the Particle Cloud, Photon, and Spark Core.

To view this documentation, visit our website, where the documentation is hosted.


To host this documentation locally, you'll need Node.js and npm:

brew install nodejs

Once you have Node.js set up, navigate to this repository's directory on your machine, and then:

npm install

to install any other necessary dependencies.

Hosting locally

This documentation uses a fabulous tool from the folks at Segment called Metalsmith. Metalsmith is a static site generator that builds static HTML sites from source material in other formats; in this case, Markdown and Handlebars.

To run a locally hosted version of the documentation, follow the installation instructions above, and then within the 'docs' directory type in your terminal:

npm start

This will set up a server running at http://localhost:8080. If you make changes to the source content, your browser should automatically refresh using livereload.

Spell checking

To check the spelling of all Markdown files, run npm run spell.


To run the tests locally, run npm test from the root of the repository. This will tell you whether the build will pass on Travis or not.


When updated documentation is pushed to the master branch, it is automatically pushed to Amazon S3 by Travis CI.

To see the latest build, visit the Travis CI page.


The majority of the content herein is stored in the src/content/en directory as a set of Markdown files. Assets such as images and javascript are stored in the src/assets directory.

Structuring your content

The docs dynamically generate a table of contents for navigation purposes based on the headers (i.e. ###) that you use on each page. It is important to note that order and heirarchy matters when you are designing the organization of content on your page. Your page should include the following:

  • 1 h1 at the top of the page that will serve as the title of the page. You can even copy the title directly from the front-matter of the markdown file like this: # {{title}}

  • As many h2s (##) as you'd like to serve as the section headers for the page.

  • Underneath every h2, if applicable, as many h3s (###) as you'd like to serve as sub-sections within the section. These will appear as nested within the navigation on the left.

Note that there are only 2 levels of navigation that will appear in the table of contents. h4s and below will not appear in the table of contents.

Device Specific Content

If you are working on a page that has device-specific content, the first thing you need to do is add the relevant device names to the front-matter of the MD file, like this:

devices: [ photon, electron, core ]

Where Photon, Electron and Core are the relevant devices to this page.

Then add a new key to device_features.json for each device that supports the feature:

  "Core": [
  "Photon": [
  "Electron": [

Then, in the body of the page, you can specify feature-specific content by using:

{{#if has-backup-ram}}
## Backup RAM

{{/if}} {{!-- has-backup-ram --}}

For content that is exclusively for one device and where defining a new feature name doesn't make sense (for example, which pins have PWM support for a device), you can also device-specific content by using:

{{#if photon}}

{{#if core}}

{{#if electron}}

Prefer defining new feature names over using device-specific sections.

You can also insert the selected device name into text like this:

Without a doubt, the {{device}} rocks!

Adding a new device

When the firmware is available on a new device, add that device to the docs in these places:

  • Make the firmware docs available for the new device by adding an entry to the devices frontmatter in
  • Also update devices in the guides and tools frontmatter as appropriate
  • Update the device selection dropdown in
  • Add the device in rememberDevices()
  • Add a new SVG in named <device>.svg
  • Tell the tests to crawl the new device page in


Some of this documentation is derived from the Arduino documentation, as the Arduino/Wiring language and libraries are used extensively on the Spark Core.

This documentation was originally built using Flatdoc, an awesome tool for building beautiful documentation from simple Markdown files. We have made many modifications since, but the inspiration remains.


This documentation is managed by Particle, but supported by the community. We welcome contributions such as:

  • Edits to improve grammar or fix typos (run npm run spell for automated spell check)
  • Edits to improve clarity
  • Additional annotated examples for others to follow
  • Additional content that would help provide a complete understanding of the Particle platform
  • Translations to other languages

Making a contribution is as simple as forking this repository, making edits to your fork, and contributing those edits as a pull request. For more information on how to make a pull request, see Github's documentation.


These files have been made available online through a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

You are welcome to distribute, remix, and use these files for commercial purposes. If you do so, please attribute the original design to Particle both on the website and on the physical packaging of the product or in the instruction manual. All derivative works must be published under the same or a similar license.