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.. highlight:: rst
.. _domains:
Sphinx Domains
.. versionadded:: 1.0
What is a Domain?
Originally, Sphinx was conceived for a single project, the documentation of the
Python language. Shortly afterwards, it was made available for everyone as a
documentation tool, but the documentation of Python modules remained deeply
built in -- the most fundamental directives, like ``function``, were designed
for Python objects. Since Sphinx has become somewhat popular, interest
developed in using it for many different purposes: C/C++ projects, JavaScript,
or even reStructuredText markup (like in this documentation).
While this was always possible, it is now much easier to easily support
documentation of projects using different programming languages or even ones not
supported by the main Sphinx distribution, by providing a **domain** for every
such purpose.
A domain is a collection of markup (reStructuredText :term:`directive`\ s and
:term:`role`\ s) to describe and link to :term:`object`\ s belonging together,
e.g. elements of a programming language. Directive and role names in a domain
have names like ``domain:name``, e.g. ``py:function``. Domains can also provide
custom indices (like the Python Module Index).
Having domains means that there are no naming problems when one set of
documentation wants to refer to e.g. C++ and Python classes. It also means that
extensions that support the documentation of whole new languages are much easier
to write.
This section describes what the domains that come with Sphinx provide. The
domain API is documented as well, in the section :ref:`domain-api`.
.. _basic-domain-markup:
Basic Markup
Most domains provide a number of :dfn:`object description directives`, used to
describe specific objects provided by modules. Each directive requires one or
more signatures to provide basic information about what is being described, and
the content should be the description. The basic version makes entries in the
general index; if no index entry is desired, you can give the directive option
flag ``:noindex:``. An example using a Python domain directive::
.. py:function:: spam(eggs)
Spam or ham the foo.
This describes the two Python functions ``spam`` and ``ham``. (Note that when
signatures become too long, you can break them if you add a backslash to lines
that are continued in the next line. Example::
.. py:function:: filterwarnings(action, message='', category=Warning, \
module='', lineno=0, append=False)
(This example also shows how to use the ``:noindex:`` flag.)
The domains also provide roles that link back to these object descriptions. For
example, to link to one of the functions described in the example above, you
could say ::
The function :py:func:`spam` does a similar thing.
As you can see, both directive and role names contain the domain name and the
directive name.
.. rubric:: Default Domain
To avoid having to writing the domain name all the time when you e.g. only
describe Python objects, a default domain can be selected with either the config
value :confval:`primary_domain` or this directive:
.. rst:directive:: .. default-domain:: name
Select a new default domain. While the :confval:`primary_domain` selects a
global default, this only has an effect within the same file.
If no other default is selected, the Python domain (named ``py``) is the default
one, mostly for compatibility with documentation written for older versions of
Directives and roles that belong to the default domain can be mentioned without
giving the domain name, i.e. ::
.. function:: pyfunc()
Describes a Python function.
Reference to :func:`pyfunc`.
Cross-referencing syntax
For cross-reference roles provided by domains, the same facilities exist as for
general cross-references. See :ref:`xref-syntax`.
In short:
* You may supply an explicit title and reference target: ``:role:`title
<target>``` will refer to *target*, but the link text will be *title*.
* If you prefix the content with ``!``, no reference/hyperlink will be created.
* If you prefix the content with ``~``, the link text will only be the last
component of the target. For example, ``:py:meth:`~Queue.Queue.get``` will
refer to ``Queue.Queue.get`` but only display ``get`` as the link text.
The Python Domain
The Python domain (name **py**) provides the following directives for module
.. rst:directive:: .. py:module:: name
This directive marks the beginning of the description of a module (or package
submodule, in which case the name should be fully qualified, including the
package name). It does not create content (like e.g. :rst:dir:`py:class`
This directive will also cause an entry in the global module index.
The ``platform`` option, if present, is a comma-separated list of the
platforms on which the module is available (if it is available on all
platforms, the option should be omitted). The keys are short identifiers;
examples that are in use include "IRIX", "Mac", "Windows", and "Unix". It is
important to use a key which has already been used when applicable.
The ``synopsis`` option should consist of one sentence describing the
module's purpose -- it is currently only used in the Global Module Index.
The ``deprecated`` option can be given (with no value) to mark a module as
deprecated; it will be designated as such in various locations then.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:currentmodule:: name
This directive tells Sphinx that the classes, functions etc. documented from
here are in the given module (like :rst:dir:`py:module`), but it will not
create index entries, an entry in the Global Module Index, or a link target
for :rst:role:`py:mod`. This is helpful in situations where documentation
for things in a module is spread over multiple files or sections -- one
location has the :rst:dir:`py:module` directive, the others only
The following directives are provided for module and class contents:
.. rst:directive:: .. py:function:: name(parameters)
Describes a module-level function. The signature should include the
parameters as given in the Python function definition, see :ref:`signatures`.
For example::
.. py:function:: Timer.repeat(repeat=3, number=1000000)
For methods you should use :rst:dir:`py:method`.
The description normally includes information about the parameters required
and how they are used (especially whether mutable objects passed as
parameters are modified), side effects, and possible exceptions.
This information can (in any ``py`` directive) optionally be given in a
structured form, see :ref:`info-field-lists`.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:data:: name
Describes global data in a module, including both variables and values used
as "defined constants." Class and object attributes are not documented
using this environment.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:exception:: name
Describes an exception class. The signature can, but need not include
parentheses with constructor arguments.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:class:: name
.. py:class:: name(parameters)
Describes a class. The signature can optionally include parentheses with
parameters which will be shown as the constructor arguments. See also
Methods and attributes belonging to the class should be placed in this
directive's body. If they are placed outside, the supplied name should
contain the class name so that cross-references still work. Example::
.. py:class:: Foo
.. py:method:: quux()
-- or --
.. py:class:: Bar
.. py:method:: Bar.quux()
The first way is the preferred one.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:attribute:: name
Describes an object data attribute. The description should include
information about the type of the data to be expected and whether it may be
changed directly.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:method:: name(parameters)
Describes an object method. The parameters should not include the ``self``
parameter. The description should include similar information to that
described for ``function``. See also :ref:`signatures` and
.. rst:directive:: .. py:staticmethod:: name(parameters)
Like :rst:dir:`py:method`, but indicates that the method is a static method.
.. versionadded:: 0.4
.. rst:directive:: .. py:classmethod:: name(parameters)
Like :rst:dir:`py:method`, but indicates that the method is a class method.
.. versionadded:: 0.6
.. rst:directive:: .. py:decorator:: name
.. py:decorator:: name(parameters)
Describes a decorator function. The signature should represent the usage as
a decorator. For example, given the functions
.. code-block:: python
def removename(func):
func.__name__ = ''
return func
def setnewname(name):
def decorator(func):
func.__name__ = name
return func
return decorator
the descriptions should look like this::
.. py:decorator:: removename
Remove name of the decorated function.
.. py:decorator:: setnewname(name)
Set name of the decorated function to *name*.
(as opposed to ``.. py:decorator:: removename(func)``.)
There is no ``py:deco`` role to link to a decorator that is marked up with
this directive; rather, use the :rst:role:`py:func` role.
.. rst:directive:: .. py:decoratormethod:: name
.. py:decoratormethod:: name(signature)
Same as :rst:dir:`py:decorator`, but for decorators that are methods.
Refer to a decorator method using the :rst:role:`py:meth` role.
.. _signatures:
Python Signatures
Signatures of functions, methods and class constructors can be given like they
would be written in Python.
Default values for optional arguments can be given (but if they contain commas,
they will confuse the signature parser). Python 3-style argument annotations
can also be given as well as return type annotations::
.. py:function:: compile(source : string, filename, symbol='file') -> ast object
For functions with optional parameters that don't have default values (typically
functions implemented in C extension modules without keyword argument support),
you can use brackets to specify the optional parts:
.. py:function:: compile(source[, filename[, symbol]])
It is customary to put the opening bracket before the comma.
.. _info-field-lists:
Info field lists
.. versionadded:: 0.4
Inside Python object description directives, reST field lists with these fields
are recognized and formatted nicely:
* ``param``, ``parameter``, ``arg``, ``argument``, ``key``, ``keyword``:
Description of a parameter.
* ``type``: Type of a parameter.
* ``raises``, ``raise``, ``except``, ``exception``: That (and when) a specific
exception is raised.
* ``var``, ``ivar``, ``cvar``: Description of a variable.
* ``returns``, ``return``: Description of the return value.
* ``rtype``: Return type.
The field names must consist of one of these keywords and an argument (except
for ``returns`` and ``rtype``, which do not need an argument). This is best
explained by an example::
.. py:function:: send_message(sender, recipient, message_body, [priority=1])
Send a message to a recipient
:param str sender: The person sending the message
:param str recipient: The recipient of the message
:param str message_body: The body of the message
:param priority: The priority of the message, can be a number 1-5
:type priority: integer or None
:return: the message id
:rtype: int
:raises ValueError: if the message_body exceeds 160 characters
:raises TypeError: if the message_body is not a basestring
This will render like this:
.. py:function:: send_message(sender, recipient, message_body, [priority=1])
Send a message to a recipient
:param str sender: The person sending the message
:param str recipient: The recipient of the message
:param str message_body: The body of the message
:param priority: The priority of the message, can be a number 1-5
:type priority: integer or None
:return: the message id
:rtype: int
:raises ValueError: if the message_body exceeds 160 characters
:raises TypeError: if the message_body is not a basestring
It is also possible to combine parameter type and description, if the type is a
single word, like this::
:param int priority: The priority of the message, can be a number 1-5
.. _python-roles:
Cross-referencing Python objects
The following roles refer to objects in modules and are possibly hyperlinked if
a matching identifier is found:
.. rst:role:: py:mod
Reference a module; a dotted name may be used. This should also be used for
package names.
.. rst:role:: py:func
Reference a Python function; dotted names may be used. The role text needs
not include trailing parentheses to enhance readability; they will be added
automatically by Sphinx if the :confval:`add_function_parentheses` config
value is ``True`` (the default).
.. rst:role:: py:data
Reference a module-level variable.
.. rst:role:: py:const
Reference a "defined" constant. This may be a Python variable that is not
intended to be changed.
.. rst:role:: py:class
Reference a class; a dotted name may be used.
.. rst:role:: py:meth
Reference a method of an object. The role text can include the type name and
the method name; if it occurs within the description of a type, the type name
can be omitted. A dotted name may be used.
.. rst:role:: py:attr
Reference a data attribute of an object.
.. rst:role:: py:exc
Reference an exception. A dotted name may be used.
.. rst:role:: py:obj
Reference an object of unspecified type. Useful e.g. as the
.. versionadded:: 0.4
The name enclosed in this markup can include a module name and/or a class name.
For example, ``:py:func:`filter``` could refer to a function named ``filter`` in
the current module, or the built-in function of that name. In contrast,
``:py:func:`foo.filter``` clearly refers to the ``filter`` function in the
``foo`` module.
Normally, names in these roles are searched first without any further
qualification, then with the current module name prepended, then with the
current module and class name (if any) prepended. If you prefix the name with a
dot, this order is reversed. For example, in the documentation of Python's
:mod:`codecs` module, ``:py:func:`open``` always refers to the built-in
function, while ``:py:func:`.open``` refers to :func:``.
A similar heuristic is used to determine whether the name is an attribute of the
currently documented class.
Also, if the name is prefixed with a dot, and no exact match is found, the
target is taken as a suffix and all object names with that suffix are
searched. For example, ``:py:meth:`.TarFile.close``` references the
``tarfile.TarFile.close()`` function, even if the current module is not
``tarfile``. Since this can get ambiguous, if there is more than one possible
match, you will get a warning from Sphinx.
Note that you can combine the ``~`` and ``.`` prefixes:
``:py:meth:`~.TarFile.close``` will reference the ``tarfile.TarFile.close()``
method, but the visible link caption will only be ``close()``.
.. _c-domain:
The C Domain
The C domain (name **c**) is suited for documentation of C API.
.. rst:directive:: .. c:function:: type name(signature)
Describes a C function. The signature should be given as in C, e.g.::
.. c:function:: PyObject* PyType_GenericAlloc(PyTypeObject *type, Py_ssize_t nitems)
This is also used to describe function-like preprocessor macros. The names
of the arguments should be given so they may be used in the description.
Note that you don't have to backslash-escape asterisks in the signature, as
it is not parsed by the reST inliner.
.. rst:directive:: .. c:member:: type name
Describes a C struct member. Example signature::
.. c:member:: PyObject* PyTypeObject.tp_bases
The text of the description should include the range of values allowed, how
the value should be interpreted, and whether the value can be changed.
References to structure members in text should use the ``member`` role.
.. rst:directive:: .. c:macro:: name
Describes a "simple" C macro. Simple macros are macros which are used for
code expansion, but which do not take arguments so cannot be described as
functions. This is a simple C-language ``#define``. Examples of its use in
the Python documentation include :c:macro:`PyObject_HEAD` and
.. rst:directive:: .. c:type:: name
Describes a C type (whether defined by a typedef or struct). The signature
should just be the type name.
.. rst:directive:: .. c:var:: type name
Describes a global C variable. The signature should include the type, such
.. c:var:: PyObject* PyClass_Type
.. _c-roles:
Cross-referencing C constructs
The following roles create cross-references to C-language constructs if they are
defined in the documentation:
.. rst:role:: c:data
Reference a C-language variable.
.. rst:role:: c:func
Reference a C-language function. Should include trailing parentheses.
.. rst:role:: c:macro
Reference a "simple" C macro, as defined above.
.. rst:role:: c:type
Reference a C-language type.
The C++ Domain
The C++ domain (name **cpp**) supports documenting C++ projects.
The following directives are available. All declarations can start with a visibility statement
(``public``, ``private`` or ``protected``).
.. rst:directive:: .. cpp:class:: class speicifer
Describe a class/struct, possibly with specification of inheritance, e.g.,::
.. cpp:class:: SomeName::SomeClass : public MyBase, MyOtherBase
.. rst:directive:: .. cpp:function:: (member-)function prototype
Describe a function or member function, e.g.,::
.. cpp:function:: bool namespaced::theclass::method(int arg1, std::string arg2)
Describes a method with parameters and types.
.. cpp:function:: bool namespaced::theclass::method(T1, T2)
Describes a method with unnamed parameters.
.. cpp:function:: const T &array<T>::operator[]() const
Describes the constant indexing operator of a templated array.
.. cpp:function:: operator bool() const
Describe a casting operator here.
.. cpp:function:: constexpr void foo(std::string &bar[2]) noexcept
Describe a constexpr function here.
.. cpp:function:: MyClass::MyClass(const MyClass&) = default
Describe a copy constructor with default implementation.
.. rst:directive:: .. cpp:member:: variable or member declaration
Describe a varible or member variable, e.g.,::
.. cpp:member:: std::string theclass::name
.. cpp:member:: std::string theclass::name[N][M]
.. rst:directive:: .. cpp:type:: typedef-like declaration
.. cpp:type:: name
Describe a type as in a typedef declaration, or the name of a type with unspecified type, e.g.,::
.. cpp:type:: std::vector<int> MyList
A typedef-like declaration of a type.
.. cpp:type:: theclass::const_iterator
Declaration of a type alias with unspecified type.
.. rst:directive:: .. cpp:namespace:: namespace
Select the current namespace for the following objects. Note that the namespace
does not need to correspond to C++ namespaces, but can end in names of classes, e.g.,::
.. cpp:namespace:: Namespace1::Namespace2::SomeClass::AnInnerClass
All following objects will be defined as if their name were declared with the namespace
prepended. The following cross-references will be search for by both their specified name
and with the namespace prepended.
.. _cpp-roles:
These roles link to the given object types:
.. rst:role:: cpp:class
Reference a C++ object. You can give the full specification (and need to, for
overloaded functions.)
.. note::
Sphinx's syntax to give references a custom title can interfere with
linking to template classes, if nothing follows the closing angle
bracket, i.e. if the link looks like this: ``:cpp:class:`MyClass<T>```.
This is interpreted as a link to ``T`` with a title of ``MyClass``.
In this case, please escape the opening angle bracket with a backslash,
like this: ``:cpp:class:`MyClass\<T>```.
.. admonition:: Note on References
It is currently impossible to link to a specific version of an
overloaded method. Currently the C++ domain is the first domain
that has basic support for overloaded methods and until there is more
data for comparison we don't want to select a bad syntax to reference a
specific overload. Currently Sphinx will link to the first overloaded
version of the method / function.
.. admonition:: Note on Template Delcarations
The C++ domain currently does not support template classes/functions/aliases/variables
(e.g., ``template<typename T> MyClass``), only template instantiations
(e.g., ``MyClass<T>``).
The Standard Domain
The so-called "standard" domain collects all markup that doesn't warrant a
domain of its own. Its directives and roles are not prefixed with a domain
The standard domain is also where custom object descriptions, added using the
:func:`~sphinx.application.Sphinx.add_object_type` API, are placed.
There is a set of directives allowing documenting command-line programs:
.. rst:directive:: .. option:: name args, name args, ...
Describes a command line argument or switch. Option argument names should be
enclosed in angle brackets. Examples::
.. option:: dest_dir
Destination directory.
.. option:: -m <module>, --module <module>
Run a module as a script.
The directive will create cross-reference targets for the given options,
referencable by :rst:role:`option` (in the example case, you'd use something
like ``:option:`dest_dir```, ``:option:`-m```, or ``:option:`--module```).
.. rst:directive:: .. envvar:: name
Describes an environment variable that the documented code or program uses or
defines. Referencable by :rst:role:`envvar`.
.. rst:directive:: .. program:: name
Like :rst:dir:`py:currentmodule`, this directive produces no output.
Instead, it serves to notify Sphinx that all following :rst:dir:`option`
directives document options for the program called *name*.
If you use :rst:dir:`program`, you have to qualify the references in your
:rst:role:`option` roles by the program name, so if you have the following
situation ::
.. program:: rm
.. option:: -r
Work recursively.
.. program:: svn
.. option:: -r revision
Specify the revision to work upon.
then ``:option:`rm -r``` would refer to the first option, while
``:option:`svn -r``` would refer to the second one.
The program name may contain spaces (in case you want to document subcommands
like ``svn add`` and ``svn commit`` separately).
.. versionadded:: 0.5
There is also a very generic object description directive, which is not tied to
any domain:
.. rst:directive:: .. describe:: text
.. object:: text
This directive produces the same formatting as the specific ones provided by
domains, but does not create index entries or cross-referencing targets.
.. describe:: PAPER
You can set this variable to select a paper size.
The JavaScript Domain
The JavaScript domain (name **js**) provides the following directives:
.. rst:directive:: .. js:function:: name(signature)
Describes a JavaScript function or method. If you want to describe
arguments as optional use square brackets as :ref:`documented
<signatures>` for Python signatures.
You can use fields to give more details about arguments and their expected
types, errors which may be thrown by the function, and the value being
.. js:function:: $.getJSON(href, callback[, errback])
:param string href: An URI to the location of the resource.
:param callback: Gets called with the object.
:param errback:
Gets called in case the request fails. And a lot of other
text so we need multiple lines.
:throws SomeError: For whatever reason in that case.
:returns: Something.
This is rendered as:
.. js:function:: $.getJSON(href, callback[, errback])
:param string href: An URI to the location of the resource.
:param callback: Gets called with the object.
:param errback:
Gets called in case the request fails. And a lot of other
text so we need multiple lines.
:throws SomeError: For whatever reason in that case.
:returns: Something.
.. rst:directive:: .. js:class:: name
Describes a constructor that creates an object. This is basically like
a function but will show up with a `class` prefix::
.. js:class:: MyAnimal(name[, age])
:param string name: The name of the animal
:param number age: an optional age for the animal
This is rendered as:
.. js:class:: MyAnimal(name[, age])
:param string name: The name of the animal
:param number age: an optional age for the animal
.. rst:directive:: .. js:data:: name
Describes a global variable or constant.
.. rst:directive:: .. js:attribute::
Describes the attribute *name* of *object*.
.. _js-roles:
These roles are provided to refer to the described objects:
.. rst:role:: js:func
The reStructuredText domain
The reStructuredText domain (name **rst**) provides the following directives:
.. rst:directive:: .. rst:directive:: name
Describes a reST directive. The *name* can be a single directive name or
actual directive syntax (`..` prefix and `::` suffix) with arguments that
will be rendered differently. For example::
.. rst:directive:: foo
Foo description.
.. rst:directive:: .. bar:: baz
Bar description.
will be rendered as:
.. rst:directive:: foo
Foo description.
.. rst:directive:: .. bar:: baz
Bar description.
.. rst:directive:: .. rst:role:: name
Describes a reST role. For example::
.. rst:role:: foo
Foo description.
will be rendered as:
.. rst:role:: foo
Foo description.
.. _rst-roles:
These roles are provided to refer to the described objects:
.. rst:role:: rst:dir
More domains
The sphinx-contrib_ repository contains more domains available as extensions;
currently Ada_, CoffeeScript_, Erlang_, HTTP_, Lasso_, MATLAB_, PHP_, and Ruby_
domains. Also available are domains for `Common Lisp`_, dqn_, Go_, Jinja_,
Operation_, and Scala_.
.. _sphinx-contrib:
.. _Ada:
.. _CoffeeScript:
.. _Common Lisp:
.. _dqn:
.. _Erlang:
.. _Go:
.. _HTTP:
.. _Jinja:
.. _Lasso:
.. _Operation:
.. _PHP:
.. _Ruby:
.. _Scala: