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Python Documentation README
This directory contains the reStructuredText (reST) sources to the Python
documentation. You don't need to build them yourself, `prebuilt versions are
available <>`_.
Documentation on authoring Python documentation, including information about
both style and markup, is available in the "`Documenting Python
<>`_" chapter of the
developers guide.
Building the docs
The documentation is built with several tools which are not included in this
tree but are maintained separately and are available from
`PyPI <>`_.
* `Sphinx <>`_
* `blurb <>`_
* `python-docs-theme <>`_
The easiest way to install these tools is to create a virtual environment and
install the tools into there.
Using make
To get started on UNIX, you can create a virtual environment and build
documentation with the commands::
make venv
make html
The virtual environment in the ``venv`` directory will contain all the tools
necessary to build the documentation downloaded and installed from PyPI.
If you'd like to create the virtual environment in a different location,
you can specify it using the ``VENVDIR`` variable.
You can also skip creating the virtual environment altogether, in which case
the Makefile will look for instances of ``sphinx-build`` and ``blurb``
installed on your process ``PATH`` (configurable with the ``SPHINXBUILD`` and
``BLURB`` variables).
On Windows, we try to emulate the Makefile as closely as possible with a
``make.bat`` file. If you need to specify the Python interpreter to use,
set the PYTHON environment variable.
Available make targets are:
* "clean", which removes all build files and the virtual environment.
* "clean-venv", which removes the virtual environment directory.
* "venv", which creates a virtual environment with all necessary tools
* "html", which builds standalone HTML files for offline viewing.
* "htmlview", which re-uses the "html" builder, but then opens the main page
in your default web browser.
* "htmlhelp", which builds HTML files and a HTML Help project file usable to
convert them into a single Compiled HTML (.chm) file -- these are popular
under Microsoft Windows, but very handy on every platform.
To create the CHM file, you need to run the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop
over the generated project (.hhp) file. The make.bat script does this for
you on Windows.
* "latex", which builds LaTeX source files as input to "pdflatex" to produce
PDF documents.
* "text", which builds a plain text file for each source file.
* "epub", which builds an EPUB document, suitable to be viewed on e-book
* "linkcheck", which checks all external references to see whether they are
broken, redirected or malformed, and outputs this information to stdout as
well as a plain-text (.txt) file.
* "changes", which builds an overview over all versionadded/versionchanged/
deprecated items in the current version. This is meant as a help for the
writer of the "What's New" document.
* "coverage", which builds a coverage overview for standard library modules and
* "pydoc-topics", which builds a Python module containing a dictionary with
plain text documentation for the labels defined in
``tools/`` -- pydoc needs these to show topic and keyword help.
* "check", which checks for frequent markup errors.
* "serve", which serves the build/html directory on port 8000.
* "dist", (Unix only) which creates distributable archives of HTML, text,
PDF, and EPUB builds.
Without make
First, install the tool dependencies from PyPI.
Then, from the ``Doc`` directory, run ::
sphinx-build -b<builder> . build/<builder>
where ``<builder>`` is one of html, text, latex, or htmlhelp (for explanations
see the make targets above).
Deprecation header
You can define the ``outdated`` variable in ``html_context`` to show a
red banner on each page redirecting to the "latest" version.
The link points to the same page on ``/3/``, sadly for the moment the
language is lost during the process.
Bugs in the content should be reported to the
`Python bug tracker <>`_.
Bugs in the toolset should be reported to the tools themselves.
You can also send a mail to the Python Documentation Team at,
and we will process your request as soon as possible.
If you want to help the Documentation Team, you are always welcome. Just send
a mail to