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Contributing to the HASS.Agent Documentation

Easier Editor

If you do not understand the basics of VSCode or git version control then take a look at this page.


Make sure you understand the HASS.Agent client version system before continuing. You can find info on it here.


The HASS.Agent docs are built on MKDocs, which is a python based tool that allows you to write documentation in simple markdown. Most of the docs is written in markdown and is therefore easily editable. However submitting these edits and testing them requires a basic understanding of git and github version control.

The documentation versions

At the top of the documentation you will find a selector to the write of the title. This is a version selector that allows you to view different versions of the documentation. You will notice there are two special versions and the rest follow the format of *.*:

Version Description
beta The current beta build of the documentation, used for trying new features and writing docs for upcoming features of HASS.Agent.
latest The current latest release of HASS.Agent, this is also the default version.
*.* Older versions of the docs, these are not editable. These are known as old-versions Example: 1.5

Github Structure

The repo for the documentation is linked at the top right of the documentation at all times and is also available here. Go ahead and open it in another tab to reference as you go through this section.

Branches Overview

The repo contains three branches:

Branch Description
main Contains the files used to maintain the latest1 version of the documentation.
beta Contains the files developing the next release of the documentation, this is also the beta1 version of the documentation.
gh-pages Contains the built files of the documentation, this repo is not to be touched, everything is written in HTML, CSS and JS. All the files are auto-generated during builds of the documentation.

Why two separate branches?

We use two separate branches in the github as it allows us to work on new versions of the documentation while fixing issues with the current documentation. This is great for us as we can test new features online and send them to people without accidently destroying the latest1 documentation. However this does create a few guidelines that need to be followed:

  • If you want your changes to be applied in all future versions of the documentation you MUST make these changes in the beta branch.
  • Any changes made to the main branch will be immediately applied to the latest1 version however they will not be included in future versions of the documentation.

If you would like to know why these restrictions exist checkout this section.

Deploying the documentation

After merges occur to either the beta or main branch specific github workflows will run that wil automatically build and deploy the correct version of the documentation. Therefore you do not need to ever do any sort of building or deploying.

Releasing the beta version

When it comes time to release the beta1 version of the documentation as the latest1 version, one of the admins of the github will manually trigger a workflow that will deploy and build the beta branch as the latest1 version and also deploy a copy for the beta1 version. After the deployment a merge will be triggered to merge the beta branch with the main branch. We will do our best to bring over changes from the main branch to the beta but we cannot guarantee, this is the reason for this section.

Why are there restrictions?

These restrictions exist because of the way the system is built. Here is a diagram showing an example of changes made to the homepage:

flowchart LR
  beta>Beta Branch]
  main>Main Branch]

  beta-changes(Example change to homepage)
  latest-changes(Different change to homepage)

  beta-pr([Beta PR merged])
  latest-pr([Main PR merged])

  beta-changes-->|Commit changes to beta|beta-pr
  latest-changes-->|Commit changes to main|latest-pr

  beta-pr --> |Deploy beta version| beta-deployment
  latest-pr --> |Deploy latest version| latest-deployment

  beta-deployment{{Beta Deployment}}
  latest-deployment{{Latest Deployment}}

You will notice that now the homepage is different on each of these versions, specifically the homepage on the main branch has been added changes that are not included in the beta branch version. Now if we have a look at what happens when the beta version is released as latest:

flowchart LR
  beta>Beta Branch]
  main>Main Branch]

  beta-deployment{{Beta Deployment}}
  latest-deployment{{Latest Deployment}}

  beta --> |Deploy to latest| latest-deployment
  beta --> |Deploy copy for next beta version| beta-deployment

  merge([Merge beta into main])

  beta --> |Overwrite main with beta| merge
  main --> |Changes overwritten by beta| merge

  main --> |Deploy main as it's version number| gh-pages[(Old Versions)]

When we release the beta1 version, we copy the latest1 version into the old-versions by changing it's name to it's version number. Then the beta1 version is deployed to latest1 and a copy is created for developing the next version. Finally the beta branch is merged with the main branch. This means that any changes added into the main branch will be overwritten by the beta branch.

Now that you understand how the system works you can see why changes added to the main branch are not included in future versions of the documentation.

  1. This corresponds to the label in the documentation version selector.