Several months back, Mozilla launched a new initiative – the MOSS program – to provide financial support to the open source software projects it relies on. Mozilla allocated $1 million to the MOSS fund to provide grants for up to 10 projects matching the program’s criteria.
Read the Docs is among the first round of awards made for the MOSS program. Our proposed grant, for $48,000, is to build a separate instance that integrates with the Python Package Index’s upcoming website, Warehouse. This integration will provide automatic API reference documentation upon package release, with authentication tied to PyPI and simple configuration inside the distribution. API reference documentation on every release will be the starting point of this work, prose documentation generation will be more difficult here, as not all packages use Sphinx or rST for documentation.
Read the Docs is built on top of Sphinx, which has always relied on reStructuredText as an input mechanism. We have long heard from folks that they want to write documentation in Markdown, as well as RST.
Today we are announcing that this is now possible! With the standardization of Markdown into Commonmark, we have the ability to support a markup language with a proper spec. recommonmark is the bridge that allows Commonmark to be used inside Sphinx. This allows you to use both RST and Commonmark inside of your Sphinx project.
We’ve recently introduced a new build container subsystem based on Docker to readthedocs.org, which should go mostly unnoticed for users. We’re still ironing out some bugs with the system, so raise an issue on our issue tracker if you are noticing any new issues with your project builds.
This new system is part of an over-due security update to help isolate arbitrary code execution. As Read the Docs has grown, protecting against arbitrary execution was a rapidly growing concern. This build isolation layer was developed as part of readthedocs.com, where security concerns are paramount due to private repository access. We’ve been testing it for roll out on the community site since then, but hadn’t committed to switching production build servers over due to the number of possible side effects.
August has historical significance for Read the Docs, so it seemed fitting to wrap up August by taking a moment to step back and reflect on what we’ve done in the last year.
What makes August so significant for us?
August was a hectic month for us. So busy, in fact, we never wrote this update. We dropped the ball on getting this report out on time, but hope to keep on top of future updates.
July was a month of stability fixes, with some substantial changes to our infrastructure. First, here’s an update on some of the goals we had set with our last monthly update:
August was a busy month for us. Write the Docs Europe was at the end of the month, and our focus has been on getting readthedocs.com into a public beta state. We’re nearing the end of the 3 month period that we budgeted for as part of our fundraiser and have a few more tasks to push out.
First, an update of the goals we set for this month:
With the Write the Docs conference wrapped up in May, we shifted our focus back to Read the Docs for the remainder of May and June. Following our post on contract positions available with Read the Docs, we hired two contractors to work with us and focus on support and stability for readthedocs.org. Gregor Müllegger will be working on support and development, and Andrew Kreps has helped us on building and improving our operations infrastructure.
Read the Docs had the following major updates in June:
Thanks to our successful fundraiser, we have the ability to pay people to work on Read the Docs.
We have two positions that we are looking for:
First off, a big ol’ thank you is in order for everyone that helped support us. You all helped us hit our funding goal, and with time to spare. We’re humbled to have such an abundance of support, and to know so many people share our vision for great documentation.
Really, thank you all. ❤