Contributing Documentation to Cinder

Starting with the Pike release, Cinder’s documentation has been moved from the openstack-manuals repository to the docs directory in the Cinder repository. This makes it even more important that Cinder add and maintain good documentation.


Documentation for python-cinderclient and os-brick has undergone the same transition. The information here can be applied for those projects as well.

This page provides guidance on how to provide documentation for those who may not have previously been active writing documentation for OpenStack.

Documentation Content

To keep the documentation consistent across projects, and to maintain quality, please follow the OpenStack Writing style guide.

Using RST

OpenStack documentation uses reStructuredText to write documentation. The files end with a .rst extension. The .rst files are then processed by Sphinx to build HTML based on the RST files.


Files that are to be included using the .. include:: directive in an RST file should use the .inc extension. If you instead use the .rst this will result in the RST file being processed twice during the build and cause Sphinx to generate a warning during the build.

reStructuredText is a powerful language for generating web pages. The documentation team has put together an RST conventions page with information and links related to RST.

Building Cinder’s Documentation

To build documentation the following command should be used:

tox -e docs,pep8

When building documentation it is important to also run pep8 as it is easy to introduce pep8 failures when adding documentation. (The tox pep8 job also runs doc8, but currently we do not run doc8 as part of the tox docs job.)


The tox documentation jobs (docs, releasenotes, api-ref) are set up to treat Sphinx warnings as errors. This is because many Sphinx warnings result in improperly formatted pages being generated, so we prefer to fix those right now, instead of waiting for someone to report a docs bug.

During the documentation build a number of things happen:

  • All of the RST files under doc/source are processed and built.

    • The openstackdocs theme is applied to all of the files so that they will look consistent with all the other OpenStack documentation.

    • The resulting HTML is put into doc/build/html.

  • Sample files like cinder.conf.sample are generated and put into doc/source/_static.

  • All of Cinder’s .py files are processed and the docstrings are used to generate the files under doc/source/contributor/api

After the build completes the results may be accessed via a web browser in the doc/build/html directory structure.

Review and Release Process

Documentation changes go through the same review process as all other changes.


Reviewers can see the resulting web page output by clicking on openstack-tox-docs in the “Zuul check” table on the review, and then look for “Artifacts” > “Docs preview site”.

This is also true for the build-openstack-api-ref and build-openstack-releasenotes check jobs.

Once a patch is approved it is immediately released to the website and can be seen under Cinder’s Documentation Page at When a new release is cut a snapshot of that documentation will be kept at<release>. Changes from master can be backported to previous branches if necessary.

Doc Directory Structure

The main location for Cinder’s documentation is the doc/source directory. The top level index file that is seen at https://docs.openstack/org/cinder/latest resides here as well as the file which is used to set a number of parameters for the build of OpenStack’s documentation.

Each of the directories under source are for specific kinds of documentation as is documented in the README in each directory:

Finding something to contribute

If you are reading the documentation and notice something incorrect or undocumented, you can directly submit a patch following the advice set out below.

There are also documentation bugs that other people have noticed that you could address:


If you don’t see a bug listed, you can also try the tag ‘docs’ or ‘documentation’. We tend to use ‘doc’ as the appropriate tag, but occasionally a bug gets tagged with a variant.