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Contributing new content

This section contains information you should know before contributing new content.

Contributing basics

  • Write Kubernetes documentation in Markdown and build the Kubernetes site using Hugo.
  • The source is in GitHub. You can find Kubernetes documentation at /content/en/docs/. Some of the reference documentation is automatically generated from scripts in the update-imported-docs/ directory.
  • Page content types describe the presentation of documentation content in Hugo.
  • In addition to the standard Hugo shortcodes, we use a number of custom Hugo shortcodes in our documentation to control the presentation of content.
  • Documentation source is available in multiple languages in /content/. Each language has its own folder with a two-letter code determined by the ISO 639-1 standard. For example, English documentation source is stored in /content/en/docs/.
  • For more information about contributing to documentation in multiple languages or starting a new translation, see localization.

Before you begin

Sign the CNCF CLA

All Kubernetes contributors must read the Contributor guide and sign the Contributor License Agreement (CLA).

Pull requests from contributors who haven't signed the CLA fail the automated tests. The name and email you provide must match those found in your git config, and your git name and email must match those used for the CNCF CLA.

Choose which Git branch to use

When opening a pull request, you need to know in advance which branch to base your work on.

Scenario Branch
Existing or new English language content for the current release main
Content for a feature change release The branch which corresponds to the major and minor version the feature change is in, using the pattern dev-<version>. For example, if a feature changes in the v1.23 release, then add documentation changes to the dev-1.23 branch.
Content in other languages (localizations) Use the localization's convention. See the Localization branching strategy for more information.

If you're still not sure which branch to choose, ask in #sig-docs on Slack.

Note: If you already submitted your pull request and you know that the base branch was wrong, you (and only you, the submitter) can change it.

Languages per PR

Limit pull requests to one language per PR. If you need to make an identical change to the same code sample in multiple languages, open a separate PR for each language.

Tools for contributors

The doc contributors tools directory in the kubernetes/website repository contains tools to help your contribution journey go more smoothly.

1 - Opening a pull request

Note: Code developers: If you are documenting a new feature for an upcoming Kubernetes release, see Document a new feature.

To contribute new content pages or improve existing content pages, open a pull request (PR). Make sure you follow all the requirements in the Before you begin section.

If your change is small, or you're unfamiliar with git, read Changes using GitHub to learn how to edit a page.

If your changes are large, read Work from a local fork to learn how to make changes locally on your computer.

Changes using GitHub

If you're less experienced with git workflows, here's an easier method of opening a pull request.

  1. On the page where you see the issue, select the pencil icon at the top right. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page and select Edit this page.

  2. Make your changes in the GitHub markdown editor.

  3. Below the editor, fill in the Propose file change form. In the first field, give your commit message a title. In the second field, provide a description.

    Note: Do not use any GitHub Keywords in your commit message. You can add those to the pull request description later.
  4. Select Propose file change.

  5. Select Create pull request.

  6. The Open a pull request screen appears. Fill in the form:

    • The Subject field of the pull request defaults to the commit summary. You can change it if needed.
    • The Body contains your extended commit message, if you have one, and some template text. Add the details the template text asks for, then delete the extra template text.
    • Leave the Allow edits from maintainers checkbox selected.
    Note: PR descriptions are a great way to help reviewers understand your change. For more information, see Opening a PR.
  7. Select Create pull request.

Addressing feedback in GitHub

Before merging a pull request, Kubernetes community members review and approve it. The k8s-ci-robot suggests reviewers based on the nearest owner mentioned in the pages. If you have someone specific in mind, leave a comment with their GitHub username in it.

If a reviewer asks you to make changes:

  1. Go to the Files changed tab.
  2. Select the pencil (edit) icon on any files changed by the pull request.
  3. Make the changes requested.
  4. Commit the changes.

If you are waiting on a reviewer, reach out once every 7 days. You can also post a message in the #sig-docs Slack channel.

When your review is complete, a reviewer merges your PR and your changes go live a few minutes later.

Work from a local fork

If you're more experienced with git, or if your changes are larger than a few lines, work from a local fork.

Make sure you have git installed on your computer. You can also use a git UI application.

Fork the kubernetes/website repository

  1. Navigate to the kubernetes/website repository.
  2. Select Fork.

Create a local clone and set the upstream

  1. In a terminal window, clone your fork and update the Docsy Hugo theme:

    git clone git@github.com/<github_username>/website
    cd website
    git submodule update --init --recursive --depth 1
    
  2. Navigate to the new website directory. Set the kubernetes/website repository as the upstream remote:

    cd website
    
    git remote add upstream https://github.com/kubernetes/website.git
    
  3. Confirm your origin and upstream repositories:

    git remote -v
    

    Output is similar to:

    origin	git@github.com:<github_username>/website.git (fetch)
    origin	git@github.com:<github_username>/website.git (push)
    upstream	https://github.com/kubernetes/website.git (fetch)
    upstream	https://github.com/kubernetes/website.git (push)
    
  4. Fetch commits from your fork's origin/main and kubernetes/website's upstream/main:

    git fetch origin
    git fetch upstream
    

    This makes sure your local repository is up to date before you start making changes.

    Note: This workflow is different than the Kubernetes Community GitHub Workflow. You do not need to merge your local copy of main with upstream/main before pushing updates to your fork.

Create a branch

  1. Decide which branch base to your work on:
  • For improvements to existing content, use upstream/main.

  • For new content about existing features, use upstream/main.

  • For localized content, use the localization's conventions. For more information, see localizing Kubernetes documentation.

  • For new features in an upcoming Kubernetes release, use the feature branch. For more information, see documenting for a release.

  • For long-running efforts that multiple SIG Docs contributors collaborate on, like content reorganization, use a specific feature branch created for that effort.

    If you need help choosing a branch, ask in the #sig-docs Slack channel.

  1. Create a new branch based on the branch identified in step 1. This example assumes the base branch is upstream/main:

    git checkout -b <my_new_branch> upstream/main
    
  2. Make your changes using a text editor.

At any time, use the git status command to see what files you've changed.

Commit your changes

When you are ready to submit a pull request, commit your changes.

  1. In your local repository, check which files you need to commit:

    git status
    

    Output is similar to:

    On branch <my_new_branch>
    Your branch is up to date with 'origin/<my_new_branch>'.
    
    Changes not staged for commit:
    (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
    (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)
    
    modified:   content/en/docs/contribute/new-content/contributing-content.md
    
    no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")
    
  2. Add the files listed under Changes not staged for commit to the commit:

    git add <your_file_name>
    

    Repeat this for each file.

  3. After adding all the files, create a commit:

    git commit -m "Your commit message"
    
    Note: Do not use any GitHub Keywords in your commit message. You can add those to the pull request description later.
  4. Push your local branch and its new commit to your remote fork:

    git push origin <my_new_branch>
    

Preview your changes locally

It's a good idea to preview your changes locally before pushing them or opening a pull request. A preview lets you catch build errors or markdown formatting problems.

You can either build the website's container image or run Hugo locally. Building the container image is slower but displays Hugo shortcodes, which can be useful for debugging.

Note: The commands below use Docker as default container engine. Set the CONTAINER_ENGINE environment variable to override this behaviour.
  1. Build the image locally:

    # Use docker (default)
    make container-image
    
    ### OR ###
    
    # Use podman
    CONTAINER_ENGINE=podman make container-image
    
  2. After building the kubernetes-hugo image locally, build and serve the site:

    # Use docker (default)
    make container-serve
    
    ### OR ###
    
    # Use podman
    CONTAINER_ENGINE=podman make container-serve
    
  3. In a web browser, navigate to https://localhost:1313. Hugo watches the changes and rebuilds the site as needed.

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

Alternately, install and use the hugo command on your computer:

  1. Install the Hugo version specified in website/netlify.toml.

  2. If you have not updated your website repository, the website/themes/docsy directory is empty. The site cannot build without a local copy of the theme. To update the website theme, run:

    git submodule update --init --recursive --depth 1
    
  3. In a terminal, go to your Kubernetes website repository and start the Hugo server:

    cd <path_to_your_repo>/website
    hugo server --buildFuture
    
  4. In a web browser, navigate to https://localhost:1313. Hugo watches the changes and rebuilds the site as needed.

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

Open a pull request from your fork to kubernetes/website

  1. In a web browser, go to the kubernetes/website repository.

  2. Select New Pull Request.

  3. Select compare across forks.

  4. From the head repository drop-down menu, select your fork.

  5. From the compare drop-down menu, select your branch.

  6. Select Create Pull Request.

  7. Add a description for your pull request:

    • Title (50 characters or less): Summarize the intent of the change.
    • Description: Describe the change in more detail.
      • If there is a related GitHub issue, include Fixes #12345 or Closes #12345 in the description. GitHub's automation closes the mentioned issue after merging the PR if used. If there are other related PRs, link those as well.
      • If you want advice on something specific, include any questions you'd like reviewers to think about in your description.
  8. Select the Create pull request button.

Congratulations! Your pull request is available in Pull requests.

After opening a PR, GitHub runs automated tests and tries to deploy a preview using Netlify.

  • If the Netlify build fails, select Details for more information.
  • If the Netlify build succeeds, select Details opens a staged version of the Kubernetes website with your changes applied. This is how reviewers check your changes.

GitHub also automatically assigns labels to a PR, to help reviewers. You can add them too, if needed. For more information, see Adding and removing issue labels.

Addressing feedback locally

  1. After making your changes, amend your previous commit:

    git commit -a --amend
    
    • -a: commits all changes
    • --amend: amends the previous commit, rather than creating a new one
  2. Update your commit message if needed.

  3. Use git push origin <my_new_branch> to push your changes and re-run the Netlify tests.

    Note: If you use git commit -m instead of amending, you must squash your commits before merging.

Changes from reviewers

Sometimes reviewers commit to your pull request. Before making any other changes, fetch those commits.

  1. Fetch commits from your remote fork and rebase your working branch:

    git fetch origin
    git rebase origin/<your-branch-name>
    
  2. After rebasing, force-push new changes to your fork:

    git push --force-with-lease origin <your-branch-name>
    

Merge conflicts and rebasing

Note: For more information, see Git Branching - Basic Branching and Merging, Advanced Merging, or ask in the #sig-docs Slack channel for help.

If another contributor commits changes to the same file in another PR, it can create a merge conflict. You must resolve all merge conflicts in your PR.

  1. Update your fork and rebase your local branch:

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

    Then force-push the changes to your fork:

    git push --force-with-lease origin <your-branch-name>
    
  2. Fetch changes from kubernetes/website's upstream/main and rebase your branch:

    git fetch upstream
    git rebase upstream/main
    
  3. Inspect the results of the rebase:

    git status
    

This results in a number of files marked as conflicted.

  1. Open each conflicted file and look for the conflict markers: >>>, <<<, and ===. Resolve the conflict and delete the conflict marker.

    Note: For more information, see How conflicts are presented.
  2. Add the files to the changeset:

    git add <filename>
    
  3. Continue the rebase:

    git rebase --continue
    
  4. Repeat steps 2 to 5 as needed.

    After applying all commits, the git status command shows that the rebase is complete.

  5. Force-push the branch to your fork:

    git push --force-with-lease origin <your-branch-name>
    

    The pull request no longer shows any conflicts.

Squashing commits

Note: For more information, see Git Tools - Rewriting History, or ask in the #sig-docs Slack channel for help.

If your PR has multiple commits, you must squash them into a single commit before merging your PR. You can check the number of commits on your PR's Commits tab or by running the git log command locally.

Note: This topic assumes vim as the command line text editor.
  1. Start an interactive rebase:

    git rebase -i HEAD~<number_of_commits_in_branch>
    

    Squashing commits is a form of rebasing. The -i switch tells git you want to rebase interactively. HEAD~<number_of_commits_in_branch indicates how many commits to look at for the rebase.

    Output is similar to:

    pick d875112ca Original commit
    pick 4fa167b80 Address feedback 1
    pick 7d54e15ee Address feedback 2
    
    # Rebase 3d18sf680..7d54e15ee onto 3d183f680 (3 commands)
    
    ...
    
    # These lines can be re-ordered; they are executed from top to bottom.
    

    The first section of the output lists the commits in the rebase. The second section lists the options for each commit. Changing the word pick changes the status of the commit once the rebase is complete.

    For the purposes of rebasing, focus on squash and pick.

    Note: For more information, see Interactive Mode.
  2. Start editing the file.

    Change the original text:

    pick d875112ca Original commit
    pick 4fa167b80 Address feedback 1
    pick 7d54e15ee Address feedback 2
    

    To:

    pick d875112ca Original commit
    squash 4fa167b80 Address feedback 1
    squash 7d54e15ee Address feedback 2
    

    This squashes commits 4fa167b80 Address feedback 1 and 7d54e15ee Address feedback 2 into d875112ca Original commit, leaving only d875112ca Original commit as a part of the timeline.

  3. Save and exit your file.

  4. Push your squashed commit:

    git push --force-with-lease origin <branch_name>
    

Contribute to other repos

The Kubernetes project contains 50+ repositories. Many of these repositories contain documentation: user-facing help text, error messages, API references or code comments.

If you see text you'd like to improve, use GitHub to search all repositories in the Kubernetes organization. This can help you figure out where to submit your issue or PR.

Each repository has 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.

What's next

  • Read Reviewing to learn more about the review process.

2 - Documenting a feature for a release

Each major Kubernetes release introduces new features that require documentation. New releases also bring updates to existing features and documentation (such as upgrading a feature from alpha to beta).

Generally, the SIG responsible for a feature submits draft documentation of the feature as a pull request to the appropriate development branch of the kubernetes/website repository, and someone on the SIG Docs team provides editorial feedback or edits the draft directly. This section covers the branching conventions and process used during a release by both groups.

For documentation contributors

In general, documentation contributors don't write content from scratch for a release. Instead, they work with the SIG creating a new feature to refine the draft documentation and make it release ready.

After you've chosen a feature to document or assist, 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.

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 in the /sig-release/tree/master/releases/ directory. The sub-directory contains a release schedule, a draft of the release notes, and a document listing each person on the release team.

The release schedule contains links to all other documents, meetings, meeting minutes, and milestones relating to the release. It also contains information about the goals and timeline of the release, and any special processes in place for this release. Near the bottom of the document, several release-related terms are defined.

This document also contains a link to the Feature tracking sheet, which is the official way to find out about all new features scheduled to go into the release.

The release team document lists who is responsible for each release role. If it's not clear who to talk to about a specific feature or question you have, either attend the release meeting to ask your question, or contact the release lead so that they can redirect you.

The release notes draft is a good place to find out about specific features, changes, deprecations, and more about the release. The content is not finalized until late in the release cycle, so use caution.

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:

  • Beta and Stable features are generally a higher documentation priority than Alpha features.
  • It's hard to test (and therefore to document) a feature that hasn't been merged, or is at least considered feature-complete in its PR.
  • Determining whether a feature needs documentation is a manual process. Even if a feature is not marked as needing docs, you may need to document the feature.

For developers or other SIG members

This section is information for members of other Kubernetes SIGs documenting new features for a release.

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 Kubernetes Slack channel to verify scheduling details and deadlines.

Open a placeholder PR

  1. Open a draft pull request against the dev-1.23 branch in the kubernetes/website repository, with a small commit that you will amend later. To create a draft pull request, use the Create Pull Request drop-down and select Create Draft Pull Request, then click Draft Pull Request.
  2. Edit the pull request description to include links to kubernetes/kubernetes PR(s) and kubernetes/enhancements issue(s).
  3. Leave a comment on the related kubernetes/enhancements issue with a link to the PR to notify the docs person managing this release that the feature docs are coming and should be tracked for the release.

If your feature does not need any documentation changes, make sure the sig-release team knows this, by mentioning it in the #sig-release Slack channel. If the feature does need documentation but the PR is not created, the feature may be removed from the milestone.

PR ready for review

When ready, populate your placeholder PR with feature documentation and change the state of the PR from draft to ready for review. To mark a pull request as ready for review, navigate to the merge box and click Ready for review.

Do your best to describe your feature and how to use it. If you need help structuring your documentation, ask in the #sig-docs slack channel.

When you complete your content, the documentation person assigned to your feature reviews it. To ensure technical accuracy, the content may also require a technical review from corresponding SIG(s). Use their suggestions to get the content to a release ready state.

If your feature is an Alpha or Beta feature and is behind a feature gate, make sure you add it to Alpha/Beta Feature gates table as part of your pull request. With new feature gates, a description of the feature gate is also required. If your feature is GA'ed or deprecated, make sure to move it from that table to Feature gates for graduated or deprecated features table with Alpha and Beta history intact.

If your feature needs documentation and the first draft content is not received, the feature may be removed from the milestone.

All PRs reviewed and ready to merge

If your PR has not yet been merged into the dev-1.23 branch by the release deadline, work with the docs person managing the release to get it in by the deadline. If your feature needs documentation and the docs are not ready, the feature may be removed from the milestone.

3 - Submitting blog posts and case studies

Anyone can write a blog post and submit it for review. Case studies require extensive review before they're approved.

The Kubernetes Blog

The Kubernetes blog is used by the project to communicate new features, community reports, and any news that might be relevant to the Kubernetes community. This includes end users and developers. Most of the blog's content is about things happening in the core project, but we encourage you to submit about things happening elsewhere in the ecosystem too!

Anyone can write a blog post and submit it for review.

Guidelines and expectations

  • Blog posts should not be vendor pitches.
    • Articles must contain content that applies broadly to the Kubernetes community. For example, a submission should focus on upstream Kubernetes as opposed to vendor-specific configurations. Check the Documentation style guide for what is typically allowed on Kubernetes properties.
    • Links should primarily be to the official Kubernetes documentation. When using external references, links should be diverse - For example a submission shouldn't contain only links back to a single company's blog.
    • Sometimes this is a delicate balance. The blog team is there to give guidance on whether a post is appropriate for the Kubernetes blog, so don't hesitate to reach out.
  • Blog posts are not published on specific dates.
    • Articles are reviewed by community volunteers. We'll try our best to accommodate specific timing, but we make no guarantees.
    • Many core parts of the Kubernetes projects submit blog posts during release windows, delaying publication times. Consider submitting during a quieter period of the release cycle.
    • If you are looking for greater coordination on post release dates, coordinating with CNCF marketing is a more appropriate choice than submitting a blog post.
    • Sometimes reviews can get backed up. If you feel your review isn't getting the attention it needs, you can reach out to the blog team via this slack channel to ask in real time.
  • Blog posts should be relevant to Kubernetes users.
    • Topics related to participation in or results of Kubernetes SIGs activities are always on topic (see the work in the Upstream Marketing Team for support on these posts).
    • The components of Kubernetes are purposely modular, so tools that use existing integration points like CNI and CSI are on topic.
    • Posts about other CNCF projects may or may not be on topic. We recommend asking the blog team before submitting a draft.
      • Many CNCF projects have their own blog. These are often a better choice for posts. There are times of major feature or milestone for a CNCF project that users would be interested in reading on the Kubernetes blog.
  • Blog posts should be original content
    • The official blog is not for repurposing existing content from a third party as new content.
    • The license for the blog allows commercial use of the content for commercial purposes, but not the other way around.
  • Blog posts should aim to be future proof
    • Given the development velocity of the project, we want evergreen content that won't require updates to stay accurate for the reader.
    • It can be a better choice to add a tutorial or update official documentation than to write a high level overview as a blog post.
      • Consider concentrating the long technical content as a call to action of the blog post, and focus on the problem space or why readers should care.

Technical Considerations for submitting a blog post

Submissions need to be in Markdown format to be used by the Hugo generator for the blog. There are many resources available on how to use this technology stack.

We recognize that this requirement makes the process more difficult for less-familiar folks to submit, and we're constantly looking at solutions to lower this bar. If you have ideas on how to lower the barrier, please volunteer to help out.

The SIG Docs blog subproject manages the review process for blog posts. For more information, see Submit a post.

To submit a blog post follow these directions:

  • Open a pull request with a new blog post. New blog posts go under the content/en/blog/_posts directory.

  • Ensure that your blog post follows the correct naming conventions and the following frontmatter (metadata) information:

    • The Markdown file name must follow the format YYYY-MM-DD-Your-Title-Here.md. For example, 2020-02-07-Deploying-External-OpenStack-Cloud-Provider-With-Kubeadm.md.
    • Do not include dots in the filename. A name like 2020-01-01-whats-new-in-1.19.md causes failures during a build.
    • The front matter must include the following:
    ---
    layout: blog
    title: "Your Title Here"
    date: YYYY-MM-DD
    slug: text-for-URL-link-here-no-spaces
    ---
    
    • The first or initial commit message should be a short summary of the work being done and should stand alone as a description of the blog post. Please note that subsequent edits to your blog will be squashed into this main commit, so it should be as useful as possible.
      • Examples of a good commit message:
        • Add blog post on the foo kubernetes feature
        • blog: foobar announcement
      • Examples of bad commit message:
        • Add blog post
        • .
        • initial commit
        • draft post
    • The blog team will then review your PR and give you comments on things you might need to fix. After that the bot will merge your PR and your blog post will be published.

Submit a case study

Case studies highlight how organizations are using Kubernetes to solve real-world problems. The Kubernetes marketing team and members of the CNCF collaborate with you on all case studies.

Have a look at the source for the existing case studies.

Refer to the case study guidelines and submit your request as outlined in the guidelines.