Styleguide for documentation

General style guides on documentation

For general information on how to write documentation, see the documentation styleguide. Information on our Restructured Text style guide can be found in the: REST styleguide.

Restructured Text versus Plain Text

Use the Restructured Text (.rst file extension) format instead of plain text files (.txt file extension) for all documentation, including doctest files. This way you get nice syntax highlighting and formating in recent text editors, on GitHub and with Sphinx.

Tracking changes

Feature-level changes to code are tracked inside CHANGES.rst. The title of the CHANGES.rst file should be Changelog. Example:


1.0.0-dev (Unreleased)

- Added feature Z.

- Removed Y.

1.0.0-alpha.1 (2012-12-12)

- Fixed Bug X.

Add an entry every time you add/remove a feature, fix a bug, etc. on top of the current development changes block.

Git commit message style guide

Tim Pope’s post on Git commit message style is widely considered the gold standard:

Capitalized, short (50 chars or less) summary

More detailed explanatory text, if necessary.  Wrap it to about 72
characters or so.  In some contexts, the first line is treated as the
subject of an email and the rest of the text as the body.  The blank
line separating the summary from the body is critical (unless you omit
the body entirely); tools like rebase can get confused if you run the
two together.

Write your commit message in the imperative: "Fix bug" and not "Fixed bug"
or "Fixes bug."  This convention matches up with commit messages generated
by commands like git merge and git revert.

Further paragraphs come after blank lines.

- Bullet points are okay, too
- Typically a hyphen or asterisk is used for the bullet, preceded by a
  single space, with blank lines in between, but conventions vary here
- Use a hanging indent

GitHub flavored markdown is also useful in commit messages.