Guide for updating this documentation

See also the at

The clawpack/doc repository is not included in the Clawpack distribution and must be cloned separately if you want to work with these files.

After cloning into the $CLAW directory, the restructured text files for the main documentation are in $CLAW/doc/doc. All files related to the gallery are in $CLAW/doc/gallery. As of Version 5.4.1, these two subdirectories are separate Sphinx projects

They used to be connected using intersphinx. but this was dropped in v5.7.x.

Git branches and tags

Older versions of the documentation used to be tagged for each minor release, e.g. v5.6.1. Starting with v5.7.0, these are now only tagged with the major release, e.g. v5.7.x.

The side menu on the Sphinx pages now lists only these major tags. The assumption is that any changes within e.g. the 5.7 version are minor enough that the documentation should not change substantially.

There are two active branches at any time, one for the current major release, e.g. v5.7.x, and one named dev for the development of documenation for features not yet released. When a new major release is done the v5.7.x branch will be retired, creating a v5.7.x tag instead along with a new v5.8.x branch.

As documents are improved, continue to update the current release branch, e.g. v5.7.x, and also merge these changes in to the dev branch. In general dev should be up to date with the current release branch along with perhaps some new documentation for features not in the current release.

Note that the file contains the version number. Please insure that the dev branch and current release branch each have the correct thing. This can easily get messed up when merging from one branch to the other. One way to help avoid this is to always merge via, e.g.:

git checkout dev
git merge v5.7.x --no-ff --no-commit

and then check before doing the merge commit to make sure hasn’t been improperly changed. If it has, and that’s the only change to this file, you can do:

git reset HEAD
git checkout

and check that it’s correct before committing via e.g.:

git commit -m "merged recent v5.7.x changes into dev"

Configuration and style files

The general look of the documentation and various things that appear on each page are controlled by the following files:

  • includes the version number, sets the html_theme, as well as setting paths to extensions and various other sphinx settings.

  • _themes/flask_local/layout.html determines the menus at the top

  • _static/clawlogo.jpg is the Clawpack logo put on each page

  • _static/clawicon.ico is the icon that appears on browser tabs

  • _templates/index.html contains the main landing page

Updating the docs for a new release

When updating the documentation for a new release, see also Updating the documentation for a list of necessary changes.

Before proceeding, first make sure other repositories are checked out to master, since some pages now have literalinclude’s that bring in code (e.g. setaux_defaults.rst, etc). Note: This is no longer true.

To create html files from the dev branch only, for example:

cd $CLAW/doc/doc
git checkout dev
make html

The Makefile has been modified so that make html does this:

sphinx-build -b html . _build1/html

To view the files, point your browser to $CLAW/doc/doc/_build1/html/index.html

Note that we suggest using _build1 when building a single version so this can be quickly rebuilt when writing and editing documentation.

To generate docs including previous versions

If you have just done a new major release, first see Updating for a new major version below.

The instructions below make webpages that list v5.7.x, v5.8.x, etc. and allow viewing docs that may be more relevant to a previous version of Clawpack.

This should be done when you are close to pushing changes to the website, otherwise the above approach works fine and shows the current state of the documentation based on files in your working directory.

This can take longer since it rebuilds pages for all versions.

As of v5.7.x, we are now using sphinx-multiversion instead of sphinxcontrib-versioning.

To make pages that show previous Clawpack versions, first install sphinx-multiversion.

Insure that any changes you want to show up in multiversion docs has been committed to some branch (normally dev if you have been adding something new).

And then do this:

cd $CLAW/doc/doc
rm -rf _build   # recommended to make sure new versions are clean
make versions

The Makefile has been modified so that make versions does this:

sphinx-multiversion . _build/html

To view the files, point your browser to _build/html/dev/index.html and from there you should be able to navigate to other versions.

Unlike sphinxcontrib-versioning, this now uses your local branches and tags rather than the versions on Github. It lists only two branches under “Latest Versions” and all tags as “Older Versions”. The two branches are set to dev and the most recent version, by this line of

smv_branch_whitelist = r'v5.7.x|dev'

This should be updated for a new version.

Note that _build/html contains a subdirectory for each version, but there are no .html files in the top level of _build/html. For the Clawpack webpage we need to:

This can be done as follows:

cd $CLAW/doc/doc/_build/html
cp -r v5.7.x/* .   # replacing v5.7.x with the current version
python ../../

If you like what you see, you can push back to your fork and then issue a pull request to have these changes incorporated into the documentation.

Note: We are no longer using intersphinx to link the gallery and the main doc pages together. Instead there are hard links to to go from one to the other. So the old use of the environment variable SPHINX_WEB is now deprecated.

Updating for a new major version

When updating a minor version, e.g. from v5.7.0 to v5.7.1, we will continue to use the same branch v5.7.x. You should just make sure the v5.7.x and dev are up to date with each other at the time of release.

When updating to the next major version, e.g. from v5.7.x to v5.8.x, it is necessary to do the following:

  • Create a new branch v5.8.x from v5.7.x (or dev).

  • Delete branch v5.7.x and replace it with a tag, so that the proper versions get included in the documentation when next it is built.

For example, this could be done as follows:

git checkout v5.7.x       # assuming up to date with dev
git checkout -b v5.8.x    # create new branch
git branch -d v5.7.x      # remove old branch
git push origin :v5.7.x   # delete branch on github
git tag v5.7.x            # create new tag
git push origin v5.8.x    # push new branch
git push origin --tags    # push new tag

Updating the webpages

A few developers can push html files to the repository clawpack/ which causes them to show up on the web at

To do so, first create the html files as described above, which should appear in doc/doc/_build/html and doc/gallery/_build/html.

Commit any changed source files and push to clawpack/doc.

Then do:

cd $CLAW/
git checkout v5.x.x
git pull origin  # make sure you are up to date before doing next steps!

cd $CLAW/doc/doc
rsync -azv _build/html/ ../../

If you have updated the gallery, also do:

rsync -azv ../gallery/_build/html/ ../../

Then move to the repository and add and commit any new or changed files. All files are needed, so

cd $CLAW/
git add .

should work. For the commit message you might want to add the commit hash of the most recent commit in $CLAW/doc/doc:

cd $CLAW/
git add .
git commit -m "changes from doc/doc commit <hash>"

And finally push to the web:

git push origin

which assumes that origin is

It may take a few minutes for the updated webpages to appear at

Note that and should also resolve properly to and that should appear in the browser address bar. The file extra_files/CNAME combined with settings on the domain server determine this behavior.

Extra files for webpages not built by Sphinx

Any files placed in $CLAW/doc/doc/extra_files will be copied verbatim (recursively for subdirectories) to the directory $CLAW/doc/doc/_build/html when Sphinx is used to build the documentation. These will be copied to $CLAW/ when the script is run and hence will appear on the webpages.

For example, the file $CLAW/doc/doc/extra_files/clawdev2013/index.html should appear at

The files in $CLAW/doc/doc/extra_files/links provide redirects so that links like resolve properly to webpages on the University of Washington server. Links of this nature have been provided in published paper and some contain large amounts of data that have not been copied to Github.

Pages from other clawpack repositories

Some webpages are created within other clawpack repositories. For example, the page is modified by pushing changes to the master branch of the repository geoclawdev-2020. This is configured in that repository, in the GitHub Pages section found under Settings.

Other repositories that create webpages include: