Posts by Eric Holscher

Read the Docs 2020 Stats

2020 was a rough year for everyone, including our team. We managed to make it through, and continue to have 5 folks working full-time to make Read the Docs better for you.

We are going into 2021 with a new grant, which will require us to do some hiring. We also launched our EthicalAds network, which is bringing our approach to sustainability to the tech community as a whole.

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Read the Docs Community downtime due to migrations to AWS

Update: The migration was successful and the site has been fully restored as of 4PM PST.

We wanted to make you aware that on Friday, February 12th at 1pm PST (4pm EST, 21:00 UTC), Read the Docs Community (readthedocs.org) will be having a scheduled dashboard downtime of approximately 4 hours.

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Pull Request Builders available for all users

We’re excited to announce that Pull Request building is now available for all Read the Docs users. We have been working on this feature for over a year, and having it available for all our users is a major milestone.

This feature allows users to confirm documentation builds correctly for all of their commits, not just ones merged into branches that are activated on Read the Docs. This moves documentation into your continuous integration pipeline, and improves the workflow for everyone working on documentation.

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Read the Docs for Business Maintenance Window - February 5

Update: This maintenance window has concluded at 5:40 PM PST.

We wanted to make you aware that on Friday, February 5 at 5:00pm PST (8:00pm EST, Saturday 01:00 UTC), Read the Docs for Business (readthedocs.com) will be having a scheduled downtime of approximately 2 hours.

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Read the Docs is hiring for multiple positions

Read the Docs received a grant to support scientific software at the beginning of this year. As part of this, we are hiring for two new positions related to the grant work:

A frontend developer with design skills

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Announcing Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Grant to Expand the Interoperability of Scientific Documentation

We’re excited to announce that Read the Docs has received a $200,000 grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Essential Open Source for Science (EOSS) program. Read the Docs is the largest open source documentation hosting platform in the world. We provide hosting for many scientific software packages, including some that have received EOSS funding in the past. You can read more about this round of grants in the official announcement.

Our grant has two parts:

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Shipping a CDN on Read the Docs Community

You might have noticed that our Read the Docs Community site has gotten faster in the past few weeks. How much faster likely depends on how far away you live from Virginia, which is where our servers have traditionally lived.

We have recently enabled a CDN on all Read the Docs Community sites, generously sponsored by CloudFlare. This post will talk a bit more about how we implemented this, and why we’re excited about it.

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Read the Docs 2019 Stats

2019 was another good year for Read the Docs. We continue to have a team of 5 folks working on the project, and we’ve rolled out a number of new features for the year.

Here are our stats for the past year, which we’ve published since 2013. This is part of our effort to be transparent in our organization, as well as our source code.

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Read the Docs Offsite 2019

The Read the Docs team just finished our first offsite ever in April of 2019. We all gathered together in person for the first time, and talked about the future of the project.

A picture will show this better than I can:

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Read the Docs 2018 Stats

2018 was another good year for Read the Docs. We’ve settled into a sustainability model that is working for us, and have a team of 5 folks working full-time on the project.

Here are our stats for the past year, which we’ve published for the past 6 years. This is part of our effort to be transparent in our organization, as well as our source code.

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Ethical Advertising Works

It has been two years since we first launched ads on Read the Docs. We figured it was time to report on the results that we’ve seen, and say thanks to those who have helped us along the way.

To put it simply:

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Read the Docs 2017 Stats

2017 was a good year for Read the Docs. We’ve settled into a sustainability model that is working for us, and have started to grow our team to be able to better support the community.

Here are our stats for the past year, which we’ve published for the past 5 years. This is part of our effort to be transparent in our organization, as well as our source code.

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MOSS Final Report

Last year, we were given a MOSS Award to work on improving the Python documentation ecosystem. We announced the initial deployment last November, and this is the retrospective post about how the project as a whole went.

This work is live at http://www.pydoc.io/ and on GitHub:

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Ads on the Alabaster Theme on Read the Docs Community Sites

We’ve been running our ethical advertising campaign for over a year now, and it is starting to show success on making Read the Docs more sustainable.

Over this time, we have only been running ads on Read the Docs themed projects. The primary reason for this is making sure that our display of ads is consistent and doesn’t negatively impact the user experience. We’re trying hard to build a sustainability model that respects our users, and making sure things are well designed and unobtrusive is an important part of this.

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Uniregistry sponsors Read the Docs and Open Source

Today we’re excited to announce an important sponsorship partner in our Ethical Advertising campaign: Uniregistry. Our goal with our ethical advertising program is to provide important funding for open source, and show that it can be done ethically – without tracking our users and only offering ads from relevant partners.

Domain registration was identified early as a natural partner to our program, because it sits in the stack of necessary infrastructure for all of us that work on making the internet. We wanted the right partner, because historically we feel that domain registration companies have had awful UX. We’ll cover a few of the criteria we used to reach the conclusion to partner with Uniregistry.

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Read the Docs 2016 Stats

Congrats, you made it through 2016! Read the Docs has been rolling along, and we’ve had another interesting year as well.

For a quick summary:

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Announcing pydoc.io beta

Today we’re excited to announce our latest project: https://pydoc.io. This work was made possible by the MOSS Grant from Mozilla. Thanks to Mozilla for funding our time building this wonderful community resource.

Running Read the Docs, we’ve always been proud of the documentation tooling that the Python community has. We prioritize prose over API documentation listings, and generally have a high standard of documentation in our projects.

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Running ads with Sentry

We’re excited to announce our first partner in our Ethical Advertising campaign: Sentry.

Sentry was a natural first partner, both because they have a long history supporting and contributing to the open source community, and because they also strive to support open source while building a sustainable business around their project.

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Advertising on Read the Docs Community Sites

On Monday, we enabled an ad space on documentation pages hosted on readthedocs.org. We have tested the ad space in the past, and had followed up with a discussion of the implications of advertising. The space was meant to be totally unobtrusive to the browsing and usage of documentation pages, and doesn’t enable third-party tracking of users in any way. This is all in an effort to help raise funds to support continued support and maintenance on the project, and ensure free and open documentation stays available.

Read the Docs is a massive project, and requires a large amount of work to keep running and support. We receive support requests and must tend to the operations of the servers on a daily basis. Neither of these tasks lend to volunteer contributions, they both require dedicated support roles for such a large site. I’ve personally been wearing a pager in support of the project for over 4 years, all on a volunteer basis.

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Read the Docs 2015 Stats

2015 has been another great year for Read the Docs. We’ve addressed some long-standing issues like not having Markdown support, and built a number of wonderful tools for the documentation community.

You can always see our stats for the last 30 days.

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Read the Docs & Sphinx now support Commonmark

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.

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Read the Docs is hiring!

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:

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Read the Docs 2014 Stats

2014 has been another banner year for Read the Docs. The project has been steadily growing in the open source ecosystem, expanding a good deal outside of the Python community. We have built a bunch of fantastic new features, and continued improving the documentation experience for the open source world.

You can always see our latest 30 days stats at http://www.seethestats.com/site/readthedocs.org.

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User-defined Redirects

Today we are announcing User-defined Redirects for Read the Docs. This has been a long requested feature that should cut down on 404’s when migrating your documentation.

Read the Docs has long had Redirects, but they are managed automatically for only certain use cases. This change allows users to control a specific set of common redirects.

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Badge Support

Documentation is an often overlooked part of a software project. Today we are releasing badges for your docs, so that people can easily see that your docs are up-to-date.

The main use of badges is to show the status of your project’s build. They will display in green for passing, red for failing, and yellow for unknown states.

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Welcome

Welcome to the Read the Docs blog.

We will be doing regular feature announcements on the blog as we build them. There are also a number of recently released features that we’ll highlight there as well.

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Read the Docs 2013 Stats

2013 has been a big year for Read the Docs. Our mission is to make documentation hosting easier, with the overall goal of increasing the quality of documentation in the programming world. I believe that we have been doing good work towards that goal, and I want to share some numbers to reflect our progress.

Our community has been great this year. I have been really happy to see a few people submit multiple patches and features. This year, we had:

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A New Theme for Read the Docs

We have been hard at work improving Read the Docs over the past month. A large amount of back end work has been going on, and now we have a brand new documentation theme to showcase it.

We have looked at how people use documentation, and built a beautiful and highly functional new interface for browsing documentation. We created a solution that looks great and works well.

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