Generating Reference Documentation for kubectl Commands
This page shows how to generate the
kubectl command reference.
Before you begin
You need a machine that is running Linux or macOS.
You need to have these tools installed:
PATHenvironment variable must include the required build tools, such as the
You need to know how to create a pull request to a GitHub repository. This involves creating your own fork of the repository. For more information, see Work from a local clone.
Setting up the local repositories
Create a local workspace and set your
mkdir -p $HOME/<workspace> export GOPATH=$HOME/<workspace>
Get a local clone of the following repositories:
go get -u github.com/spf13/pflag go get -u github.com/spf13/cobra go get -u gopkg.in/yaml.v2 go get -u github.com/kubernetes-sigs/reference-docs
If you don't already have the kubernetes/website repository, get it now:
git clone https://github.com/<your-username>/website $GOPATH/src/github.com/<your-username>/website
Get a clone of the kubernetes/kubernetes repository as k8s.io/kubernetes:
git clone https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes $GOPATH/src/k8s.io/kubernetes
Remove the spf13 package from
rm -rf $GOPATH/src/k8s.io/kubernetes/vendor/github.com/spf13
The kubernetes/kubernetes repository provides the
kustomize source code.
Determine the base directory of your clone of the kubernetes/kubernetes repository. For example, if you followed the preceding step to get the repository, your base directory is
$GOPATH/src/k8s.io/kubernetes.The remaining steps refer to your base directory as
Determine the base directory of your clone of the kubernetes/website repository. For example, if you followed the preceding step to get the repository, your base directory is
$GOPATH/src/github.com/<your-username>/website.The remaining steps refer to your base directory as
Determine the base directory of your clone of the kubernetes-sigs/reference-docs repository. For example, if you followed the preceding step to get the repository, your base directory is
$GOPATH/src/github.com/kubernetes-sigs/reference-docs.The remaining steps refer to your base directory as
In your local k8s.io/kubernetes repository, check out the branch of interest, and make sure it is up to date. For example, if you want to generate docs for Kubernetes 1.27.0, you could use these commands:
cd <k8s-base> git checkout v1.27.0 git pull https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes 1.27.0
If you do not need to edit the
kubectl source code, follow the instructions for
Setting build variables.
Editing the kubectl source code
The kubectl command reference documentation is automatically generated from the kubectl source code. If you want to change the reference documentation, the first step is to change one or more comments in the kubectl source code. Make the change in your local kubernetes/kubernetes repository, and then submit a pull request to the master branch of github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes.
PR 56673 is an example of a pull request that fixes a typo in the kubectl source code.
Monitor your pull request, and respond to reviewer comments. Continue to monitor your pull request until it is merged into the target branch of the kubernetes/kubernetes repository.
Cherry picking your change into a release branch
Your change is now in the master branch, which is used for development of the next Kubernetes release. If you want your change to appear in the docs for a Kubernetes version that has already been released, you need to propose that your change be cherry picked into the release branch.
For example, suppose the master branch is being used to develop Kubernetes 1.28 and you want to backport your change to the release-1.27 branch. For instructions on how to do this, see Propose a Cherry Pick.
Monitor your cherry-pick pull request until it is merged into the release branch.
Setting build variables
<rdocs-base>. On you command line, set the following environment variables.
K8S_RELEASEto the version of the docs you want to build. For example, if you want to build docs for Kubernetes 1.27, set
export K8S_WEBROOT=$GOPATH/src/github.com/<your-username>/website export K8S_ROOT=$GOPATH/src/k8s.io/kubernetes export K8S_RELEASE=1.27
Creating a versioned directory
createversiondirs build target creates a versioned directory
and copies the kubectl reference configuration files to the versioned directory.
The versioned directory name follows the pattern of
<rdocs-base> directory, run the following build target:
cd <rdocs-base> make createversiondirs
Checking out a release tag in k8s.io/kubernetes
In your local
<k8s-base> repository, checkout the branch that has
the version of Kubernetes that you want to document. For example, if you want
to generate docs for Kubernetes 1.27.0, check out the
v1.27 tag. Make sure
you local branch is up to date.
cd <k8s-base> git checkout v1.27.0 git pull https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes v1.27.0
Running the doc generation code
In your local
<rdocs-base>, run the
copycli build target. The command runs as
cd <rdocs-base> make copycli
copycli command cleans the temporary build directory, generates the kubectl command files,
and copies the collated kubectl command reference HTML page and assets to
Locate the generated files
Verify that these two files have been generated:
[ -e "<rdocs-base>/gen-kubectldocs/generators/build/index.html" ] && echo "index.html built" || echo "no index.html" [ -e "<rdocs-base>/gen-kubectldocs/generators/build/navData.js" ] && echo "navData.js built" || echo "no navData.js"
Locate the copied files
Verify that all generated files have been copied to your
cd <web-base> git status
The output should include the modified files:
The output may also include:
static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/scroll.js static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/stylesheet.css static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/tabvisibility.js static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/node_modules/bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/node_modules/highlight.js/styles/default.css static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/node_modules/jquery.scrollto/jquery.scrollTo.min.js static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/node_modules/jquery/dist/jquery.min.js static/docs/reference/generated/kubectl/node_modules/font-awesome/css/font-awesome.min.css
Locally test the documentation
Build the Kubernetes documentation in your local
cd <web-base> git submodule update --init --recursive --depth 1 # if not already done make container-serve
View the local preview.
Adding and committing changes in kubernetes/website
git add and
git commit to commit the files.
Creating a pull request
Create a pull request to the
kubernetes/website repository. Monitor your
pull request, and respond to review comments as needed. Continue to monitor
your pull request until it is merged.
A few minutes after your pull request is merged, your updated reference topics will be visible in the published documentation.