Contribute to Kubernetes docs

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Intermediate contributing

This page assumes that you’ve read and mastered the tasks in the start contributing topic and are ready to learn about more ways to contribute.

Note: Some tasks require you to use the Git command line client and other tools.

Now that you’ve gotten your feet wet and helped out with the Kubernetes docs in the ways outlined in the start contributing topic, you may feel ready to do more. These tasks assume that you have, or are willing to gain, deeper knowledge of the following topic areas:

These tasks are not as sequential as the beginner tasks. There is no expectation that one person does all of them all of the time.

Review pull requests

In any given week, a specific docs approver volunteers to do initial triage and review of pull requests and issues. This person is the “PR Wrangler” for the week. The schedule is maintained using the [PR Wrangler scheduler(https://github.com/kubernetes/website/wiki/PR-Wranglers). To be added to this list, attend the weekly SIG Docs meeting and volunteer. Even if you are not on the schedule for the current week, you can still review pull requests (PRs) that are not already under active review.

In addition to the rotation, an automated system comments on each new PR and suggests reviewers and approvers for the PR, based on the list of approvers and reviewers in the affected files. The PR author is expected to follow the guidance of the bot, and this also helps PRs to get reviewed quickly.

We want to get pull requests (PRs) merged and published as quickly as possible. To ensure the docs are accurate and up to date, each PR needs to be reviewed by people who understand the content, as well as people with experience writing great documentation.

Reviewers and approvers need to provide actionable and constructive feedback to keep contributors engaged and help them to improve. Sometimes helping a new contributor get their PR ready to merge takes more time than just rewriting it yourself, but the project is better in the long term when we have a diversity of active participants.

Before you start reviewing PRs, make sure you are familiar with the Documentation Style Guide and the code of conduct

Find a PR to review

To see all open PRs, go to the Pull Requests tab in the Github repository. A PR is eligible for review when it meets all of the following criteria:

If a PR is not eligible to merge, leave a comment to let the author know about the problem and offer to help them fix it. If they’ve been informed and have not fixed the problem in several weeks or months, eventually their PR will be closed without merging.

If you’re new to reviewing, or you don’t have a lot of bandwidth, look for PRs with the size/XS or size/S tag set. The size is automatically determined by the number of lines the PR changes.

Reviewers and approvers

The Kubernetes website repo operates differently than some of the Kubernetes code repositories when it comes to the roles of reviewers and approvers. For more information about the responsibilities of reviewers and approvers, see Participating. Here’s an overview.

A PR is merged when it has both a /lgtm comment from anyone in the Kubernetes organization and an /approved comment from an approver in the sig-docs-maintainers group, as long as it is not on hold and the PR author has signed the CLA.

Review a PR

  1. Read the PR description and read any attached issues or links, if applicable. “Drive-by reviewing” is sometimes more harmful than helpful, so make sure you have the right knowledge to provide a meaningful review.

  2. If someone else is the best person to review this particular PR, let them know by adding a comment with /assign @<github-username>. If you have asked a non-docs person for technical review but still want to review the PR from a docs point of view, keep going.

  3. Go to the Files changed tab. Look over all the changed lines. Removed content has a red background, and those lines also start with a - symbol. Added content has a green background, and those lines also start with a + symbol. Within a line, the actual modified content has a slightly darker green background than the rest of the line.

    • Especially if the PR uses tricky formatting or changes CSS, Javascript, or other site-wide elements, you can preview the website with the PR applied. Go to the Conversation tab and click the Details link for the deploy/netlify test, near the bottom of the page. It opens in the same browser window by default, so open it in a new window so you don’t lose your partial review. Switch back to the Files changed tab to resume your review.
    • Make sure the PR complies with the Documentation Style Guide and link the author to the relevant part of the style guide if not.
    • If you have a question, comment, or other feedback about a given change, hover over a line and click the blue-and-white + symbol that appears. Type your comment and click Start a review.
    • If you have more comments, leave them in the same way.
    • By convention, if you see a small problem that does not have to do with the main purpose of the PR, such as a typo or whitespace error, you can call it out, prefixing your comment with nit: so that the author knows you consider it trivial. They should still address it.
    • When you’ve reviewed everything, or if you didn’t have any comments, go back to the top of the page and click Review changes. Choose either Comment or Request Changes. Add a summary of your review, and add appropriate Prow commands to separate lines in the Review Summary field. SIG Docs follows the Kubernetes code review process. All of your comments will be sent to the PR author in a single notification.

      • If you think the PR is ready to be merged, add the text /approve to your summary.
      • If the PR does not need additional technical review, add the text /lgtm as well.
      • If the PR does need additional technical review, add the text /assign with the Github username of the person who needs to provide technical review. Look at the reviewers field in the front-matter at the top of a given Markdown file to see who can provide technical review.
      • To prevent the PR from being merged, add /hold. This sets the label do-not-merge/hold.
      • If a PR has no conflicts and has the lgtm and approved label but no hold label, it is merged automatically.
      • If a PR has the lgtm and/or approved labels and new changes are detected, these labels are removed automatically.

        See the list of all available slash commands that can be used in PRs.

    • If you previously selected Request changes and the PR author has addressed your concerns, you can change your review status either in the Files changed tab or at the bottom of the Conversation tab. Be sure to add the /approve tag and assign technical reviewers if necessary, so that the PR can be merged.

Commit into another person’s PR

Leaving PR comments is helpful, but there may be times when you need to commit into another person’s PR, rather than just leaving a review.

Resist the urge to “take over” for another person unless they explicitly ask you to, or you want to resurrect a long-abandoned PR. While it may be faster in the short term, it deprives the person of the chance to contribute.

The process you use depends on whether you need to edit a file that is already in the scope of the PR or a file that the PR has not yet touched.

You can’t commit into someone else’s PR if either of the following things is true:

If the file is already changed by the PR

This method uses the Github UI. If you prefer, you can use the command line even if the file you want to change is part of the PR, if you are more comfortable working that way.

  1. Click the Files changed tab.
  2. Scroll down to the file you want to edit, and click the pencil icon for that file.
  3. Make your changes, add a commit message in the field below the editor, and click Commit changes.

Your commit is now pushed to the branch the PR represents (probably on the author’s fork) and now shows up in the PR and your changes are reflected in the Files changed tab. Leave a comment letting the PR author know you changed the PR.

If the author is using the command line rather than the Github UI to work on this PR, they need to fetch their fork’s changes and rebase their local branch on the branch in their fork, before doing additional work on the PR.

If the file has not yet been changed by the PR

If changes need to be made to a file that is not yet included in the PR, you need to use the command line. You can always use this method, if you prefer it to the Github UI.

  1. Get the URL for the author’s fork. You can find it near the bottom of the Conversation tab. Look for the text Add more commits by pushing to. The first link after this phrase is to the branch, and the second link is to the fork. Copy the second link. Note the name of the branch for later.

  2. Add the fork as a remote. In your terminal, go to your clone of the repository. Decide on a name to give the remote (such as the author’s Github username), and add the remote using the following syntax:

      git remote add <name> <url-of-fork>
  3. Fetch the remote. This doesn’t change any local files, but updates your clone’s notion of the remote’s objects (such as branches and tags) and their current state.

      git remote fetch <name>
  4. Check out the remote branch. This command will fail if you already have a local branch with the sane name.

      git checkout <branch-from-PR>
  5. Make your changes, use git add to add them, and commit them.

  6. Push your changes to the author’s remote.

      git push <remote-name> <branch-name>
  7. Go back to the Github IU and refresh the PR. Your changes appear. Leave the PR author a comment letting them know you changed the PR.

If the author is using the command line rather than the Github UI to work on this PR, they need to fetch their fork’s changes and rebase their local branch on the branch in their fork, before doing additional work on the PR.

Work from a local clone

For changes that require multiple files or changes that involve creating new files or moving files around, working from a local Git clone makes more sense than relying on the Github UI. These instructions use the git command and assume that you have it installed locally. You can adapt them to use a local graphical Git client instead.

Clone the repository

You only need to clone the repository once per physical system where you work on the Kubernetes documentation.

  1. In a terminal window, use git clone to clone the repository. You do not need any credentials to clone the repository.

      git clone https://github.com/kubernetes/website

    The new directory website is created in your current directory, with the contents of the Github repository.

  2. Change to the new website directory. Rename the default origin remote to upstream.

      cd website
    
      git remote rename origin upstream
  3. If you have not done so, create a fork of the repository on Github. In your web browser, go to https://github.com/kubernetes/website and click the Fork button. After a few seconds, you are redirected to the URL for your fork, which is typically something like https://github.com/<username>/website unless you already had a repository called website. Copy this URL.

  4. Add your fork as a second remote, called origin:

      git remote add origin <FORK-URL>

Work on the local repository

Before you start a new unit of work on your local repository, you need to figure out which branch to base your work on. The answer depends on what you are doing, but the following guidelines apply:

For more guidance, see Choose which branch to use.

After you decide which branch to start your work (or base it on, in Git terminology), use the following workflow to be sure your work is based on the most up-to-date version of that branch.

  1. Fetch both the upstream and origin branches. This updates your local notion of what those branches contain, but does not change your local branches at all.

      git fetch upstream
      git fetch origin
  2. Create a new tracking branch based on the branch you decided is the most appropriate. This example assumes you are using master.

      git checkout -b <my_new_branch> upstream/master

    This new branch is based on upstream/master, not your local master. It tracks upstream/master.

  3. With your new branch checked out, make your changes using a text editor. At any time, use the git status command to see what you’ve changed.

  4. When you are ready to submit a pull request, commit your changes. First use git status to see what changes need to be added to the changeset. There are two important sections: Changes staged for commit and Changes not staged for commit. Any files that show up in the latter section under modified or untracked need to be added if you want them to be part of this commit. For each file that needs to be added, use git add.

      git add example-file.md

    When all your intended changes are included, create a commit, using the git commit command:

      git commit -m "Your commit message"

    Note: Do not reference a Github issue or pull request by ID or URL in the commit message. If you do, it will cause that issue or pull request to get a notification every time the commit shows up in a new Git branch. You can link issues and pull requests together later, in the Github UI.

  5. Optionally, you can test your change by staging the site locally using the hugo command. See View your changes locally. You’ll be able to view your changes after you submit the pull request, as well.

  6. Before you can create a pull request which includes your local commit, you need to push the branch to your fork, which is the endpoint for the origin remote.

      git push origin <my_new_branch>

    Technically, you can omit the branch name from the push command, but the behavior in that case depends upon the version of Git you are using. The results are more repeatable if you include the branch name.

  7. At this point, if you go to https://github.com/kubernetes/website in your web browser, Github detects that you pushed a new branch to your fork and offers to create a pull request. Fill in the pull request template.

    • The title should be no more than 50 characters and summarize the intent of the change.
    • The long-form description should contain more information about the fix, including a line like Fixes #12345 if the pull request fixes a Github issue. This will cause the issue to be closed automatically when the pull request is merged.
    • You can add labels or other metadata and assign reviewers. See Triage and categorize issues for the syntax.

    Click Create pull request.

  8. Several automated tests will run against the state of the website with your changes applied. If any of the tests fail, click the Details link for more information. If the Netlify test completes successfully, its Details link goes to a staged version of the Kubernetes website with your changes applied. This is how reviewers will check your changes.

  9. If you notice that more changes need to be made, or if reviewers give you feedback, address the feedback locally, then repeat step 4 - 6 again, creating a new commit. The new commit is added to your pull request and the tests run again, including re-staging the Netlify staged site.

  10. If a reviewer adds changes to your pull request, you need to fetch those changes from your fork before you can add more changes. Use the following commands to do this, assuming that your branch is currently checked out.

      git fetch origin
      git rebase origin/<your-branch-name>

    After rebasing, you need to add the -f flag to force-push new changes to the branch to your fork.

      git push -f origin <your-branch-name>
  11. If someone else’s change is merged into the branch your work is based on, and you have made changes to the same parts of the same files, a conflict might occur. If the pull request shows that there are conflicts to resolve, you can resolve them using the Github UI or you can resolve them locally.

    First, do step 10 to be sure that your fork and your local branch are in the same state.

    Next, fetch upstream and rebase your branch on the branch it was originally based on, like upstream/master.

      git fetch upstream
      git rebase upstream/master

    If there are conflicts Git can’t automatically resolve, you can see the conflicted files using the git status command. For each conflicted file, edit it and look for the conflict markers >>>, <<<, and ===. Resolve the conflict and remove the conflict markers. Then add the changes to the changeset using git add <filename> and continue the rebase using git rebase --continue. When all commits have been applied and there are no more conflicts, git status will show that you are not in a rebase and there are no changes that need to be committed. At that point, force-push the branch to your fork, and the pull request should no longer show any conflicts.

If you’re having trouble resolving conflicts or you get stuck with anything else related to your pull request, ask for help on the #sig-docs Slack channel or the kubernetes-sig-docs mailing list.

View your changes locally

If you aren’t ready to create a pull request but you want to see what your changes look like, you can use the hugo command to stage the changes locally.

  1. Install Hugo version 0.49 or later.

  2. In a terminal, go to the root directory of your clone of the Kubernetes docs, and enter this command:

      hugo server
  3. In your browser’s address bar, enter localhost:1313.

  4. To stop the local Hugo instance, go back to the terminal and type Ctrl+C or just close the terminal window.

Alternatively, you can build the Kubernetes docs using Docker.

  1. Build the image locally:

      make docker-image
  2. Once the kubernetes-hugo image has been built locally, you can build and serve the site:

      make docker-serve
  3. In your browser’s address bar, enter localhost:1313. Hugo will watch the filesystem for changes and rebuild the site as needed.

Triage and categorize issues

In any given week, a specific docs approver volunteers to do initial triage and review of pull requests and issues. To get on this list, attend the weekly SIG Docs meeting and volunteer. Even if you are not on the schedule for the current week, you can still review PRs.

People in SIG Docs are only responsible for triaging and categorizing documentation issues. General website issues are also filed in the kubernetes/website repository.

When you triage an issue, you:

If you have questions about triaging an issue, ask in #sig-docs on Slack or the kubernetes-sig-docs mailing list.

More about labels

These guidelines are not set in stone and are subject to change.

Priorities

An issue’s priority influences how quickly it is addressed. For documentation, here are the guidelines for setting a priority on an issue:

P1

P2

This is the default for new issues and pull requests.

P3

Handling special issue types

We’ve encountered the following types of issues often enough to document how to handle them.

Duplicate issues

If a single problem has one or more issues open for it, the problem should be consolidated into a single issue. You should decide which issue to keep open (or open a new issue), port over all relevant information, link related issues, and close all the other issues that describe the same problem. Only having a single issue to work on will help reduce confusion and avoid duplicating work on the same problem.

Depending on where the dead link is reported, different actions are required to resolve the issue. Dead links in the API and Kubectl docs are automation issues and should be assigned a P1 until the problem can be fully understood. All other dead links are issues that need to be manually fixed and can be assigned a P3.

Support requests or code bug reports

Some issues opened for docs are instead issues with the underlying code, or requests for assistance when something (like a tutorial) didn’t work. For issues unrelated to docs, close the issue with a comment directing the requester to support venues (Slack, Stack Overflow) and, if relevant, where to file an issue for bugs with features (kubernetes/kubernetes is a great place to start).

Sample response to a request for support:

This issue sounds more like a request for support and less
like an issue specifically for docs. I encourage you to bring
your question to the `#kubernetes-users` channel in
[Kubernetes slack](http://slack.k8s.io/). You can also search
resources like
[Stack Overflow](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/kubernetes)
for answers  to similar questions.

You can also open issues for Kubernetes functionality in
 https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes.

If this is a documentation issue, please re-open this issue.

Sample code bug report response:

This sounds more like an issue with the code than an issue with
the documentation. Please open an issue at
https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes/issues.

If this is a documentation issue, please re-open this issue.

Document new features

Each major Kubernetes release includes new features, and many of them need at least a small amount of documentation to show people how to use them.

Often, the SIG responsible for a feature submits draft documentation for the feature as a pull request to the appropriate release branch of kubernetes/website repository, and someone on the SIG Docs team provides editorial feedback or edits the draft directly.

Find out about upcoming features

To find out about upcoming features, attend the weekly sig-release meeting (see the community page for upcoming meetings) and monitor the release-specific documentation in the kubernetes/sig-release repository. Each release has a sub-directory under the /sig-release/tree/master/releases/ directory. Each sub-directory contains a release schedule, a draft of the release notes, and a document listing each person on the release team.

The feature tracking sheet

The feature tracking sheet for a given Kubernetes release lists each feature that is planned for a release. Each line item includes the name of the feature, a link to the feature’s main Github issue, its stability level (Alpha, Beta, or Stable), the SIG and individual responsible for implementing it, whether it needs docs, a draft release note for the feature, and whether it has been merged. Keep the following in mind:

Document a feature

As stated above, draft content for new features is usually submitted by the SIG responsible for implementing the new feature. This means that your role may be more of a shepherding role for a given feature than developing the documentation from scratch.

After you’ve chosen a feature to document/shepherd, ask about it in the #sig-docs Slack channel, in a weekly sig-docs meeting, or directly on the PR filed by the feature SIG. If you’re given the go-ahead, you can edit into the PR using one of the techniques described in Commit into another person’s PR.

If you need to write a new topic, the following links are useful:

SIG members documenting new features

If you are a member of a SIG developing a new feature for Kubernetes, you need to work with SIG Docs to be sure your feature is documented in time for the release. Check the feature tracking spreadsheet or check in the #sig-release Slack channel to verify scheduling details and deadlines. Some deadlines related to documentation are:

If your feature is an Alpha feature and is behind a feature gate, make sure you add it to Feature gates as part of your pull request. If your feature is moving out of Alpha, make sure to remove it from that file.

Contribute to other repos

The Kubernetes project contains more than 50 individual repositories. Many of these repositories contain code or content that can be considered documentation, such as user-facing help text, error messages, user-facing text in API references, or even code comments.

If you see text and you aren’t sure where it comes from, you can use Github’s search tool at the level of the Kubernetes organization to search through all repositories for that text. This can help you figure out where to submit your issue or PR.

Each repository may have its own processes and procedures. Before you file an issue or submit a PR, read that repository’s README.md, CONTRIBUTING.md, and code-of-conduct.md, if they exist.

Most repositories use issue and PR templates. Have a look through some open issues and PRs to get a feel for that team’s processes. Make sure to fill out the templates with as much detail as possible when you file issues or PRs.

Localize content

The Kubernetes documentation is written in English first, but we want people to be able to read it in their language of choice. If you are comfortable writing in another language, especially in the software domain, you can help localize the Kubernetes documentation or provide feedback on existing localized content. See Localization and ask on the kubernetes-sig-docs mailing list or in #sig-docs on Slack if you are interested in helping out.

What's next

When you are comfortable with all of the tasks discussed in this topic and you want to engage with the Kubernetes docs team in even deeper ways, read the advanced docs contributor topic.