Zulip has three major documentation systems:
- Developer and sysadmin documentation: Documentation for people actually interacting with the Zulip codebase (either by developing it or installing it), and written in Markdown.
- General user documentation: Our scalable system for documenting Zulip’s huge collection of specific features without a lot of overhead or duplicated code/syntax, written in Markdown. We expect to eventually have around 100 pages written using this system. The target audience for this system is individual Zulip users.
These three systems are documented in detail.
Developer and sysadmin documentation¶
What you are reading right now is part of the collection of
documentation targeted at developers and people running their own
Zulip servers. These docs are written in
Commonmark Markdown with a small bit of rST.
We’ve chosen Markdown because it is
easy to write. The source for Zulip’s
developer documentation is at
docs/ in the Zulip git repository, and
they are served in production at
If you want to build the developer documentation locally (e.g. to test your changes), the dependencies are automatically installed as part of Zulip development environment provisioning, and you can build the documentation using:
and then opening
http://127.0.0.1:9991/docs/index.html in your
browser. The raw files are available at
file:///path/to/zulip/docs/_build/html/index.html in your browser
(so you can also use e.g.
firefox docs/_build/html/index.html from
the root of your Zulip checkout).
If you are adding a new page to the table of contents, you will want
docs/index.rst and run
make clean before
make html, so
that other docs besides your new one also get the new entry in the
table of contents.
You can also usually test your changes by pushing a branch to GitHub
and looking at the content on the GitHub web UI, since GitHub renders
Markdown, though that won’t be as faithful as the
When editing dependencies for the Zulip documentation, you should edit
requirements/docs.in and then run
which updates docs.txt file (which is used by ReadTheDocs to build the
Zulip developer documentation, without installing all of Zulip’s
Core website documentation¶
Zulip has around 10 HTML documentation pages under
for specific major topics, like the features list, client apps,
integrations, hotkeys, API bindings, etc. These documents often have
pattern between them other than inheriting from the
template. We generally avoid adding new pages to this collection
unless there’s a good reason, but we don’t intend to migrate them,
either, since this system gives us the flexibility to express these
important elements of the product clearly.