# Write Documentation

Thank you for your interest in helping out with writing Mergin Maps Documentation (opens new window). The documentation framework is based on VuePress (opens new window) and we welcome any contributions as GitHub Pull Requests (opens new window). If you are unsure how to contribute of what tasks are best to start with, join us on our community chat (opens new window) and ask in the #dev channel. We are happy to get you up to speed!

The version of the documentation you see on Mergin Maps Documentation (opens new window) is the latest tagged release (opens new window) on main branch. The latest commit on main branch can be seen on Mergin Maps Staging Documentation (opens new window).

# Quick Start

If you are about to do only a tiny change in the documentation, you can skip this section and fast track to section for doing small modifications.

If you are a (web) developer, you can skip all and just look at Mergin Maps README (opens new window).

Otherwise, it is better to run the local development on your machine. The similar steps as described can be done on (almost) any operation system with slight modifications (e.g. using brew or apt on macOS or Linux for installation)

If you are not part of the Mergin Maps core documentation team, you will need to work with fork. Follow the instructions in the section instead. We are happy to include more people into the team, so if you consider writing more documentation, let us know on our community chat (opens new window)

# Prepare Local Repository

As requirement, you need to install git (opens new window).

Once installed, open command line/terminal and clone the repository locally (you can use http or SSH)

cd MyProjects
git clone git@github.com:MerginMaps/docs.git

# Start Local Server

To be able to see your changes interactively, you should start local VuePress server, and as requirement, you need to install yarn (opens new window).

Once installed you can proceed by first installation of all dependent packages and following by start of the server:

cd MerginMaps/docs
yarn install 
yarn dev

If yarn install fails with *ERROR: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: 'install'* then check out this page (opens new window).

Now you can open http://localhost:8080/ in your browser and see the live version.

# Prepare Pull Requests

To commit your changes to the official documentation, you need to prepare pull request. To start, update your repository to the latest version

cd MerginMaps/docs
git checkout main
git pull origin main

Next is to create your branch where you work. Best to create some descriptive branch name.

git checkout -b my_docs_fix_branchname

Now, modify the markdowns in your favourite text editor.

When done, commit your changes and push your branch to GitHub

git status
git add .
git commit -m "Improved documentation of XXX"
git push origin my_docs_fix_branchname

Now go to GitHub (opens new window) and create pull request (either from web or use the link from the terminal).

Check the automatic tests in the pull requests for spellcheck or broken link and fix the issues in your code.

To ensure your pull request will be merged, it is nice to ping the Mergin Maps docs team on the community chat (opens new window) in the #dev channel.

# When Fork Is Needed


You can skip this step if you are member of the Mergin Maps docs team and you have write permissions to the repository.

To fork MerginMaps/docs (opens new window) repository with the source code of documentation, follow the steps as described in GitHub docs (opens new window).

You will end up with the fork of MerginMaps/docs (opens new window) in your namespace.

If you use fork, you need to add both fork and upstream to your local namespace:

mkdir MerginMaps; cd MerginMaps
git clone git@github.com:<my_fork_of_MerginMaps/docs>.git
git remote add upstream git@github.com:MerginMaps/docs.git

and you need to update your remote fork before starting the work:

cd MerginMaps/docs
git checkout main
git pull upstream main
git push origin main

# The Documentation System

Each markdown should be written as one of the 4 basic types of documentation: tutorials, how-to guides, technical reference and explanation.

It is best to read about this documentation system (opens new window).

In each section in the menu (except Getting Started and Guides):

  • we start with concepts
  • following with a bunch of how to articles
  • ending with reference documentation pages

References to other articles, blog posts or resources should be linked where relevant, either as tips or as Further reading sections.

# Users & Workspaces

  • To store all projects referenced in the documentation use Mergin Maps workspace documentation
  • For users that are referenced in the documentation (e.g. screenshots or in texts), use "fake" Mergin Maps users jack, jill and sarah

# Naming things

  • We can use Vue custom components references names, allowing us to change them quickly in the future.
  • This doesn't work for things like url component names, anchor links, titles or pages, sidebar
  • In these situations:
    • Filenames:
      • mergin-maps-mobile
    • Titles/Sidebar
      • Mergin Maps Mobile App
    • For titles (#)/sidebar capitalise the first letter in all words
      • Correct: "Opening Surveyed Data on Your Computer"
      • Wrong: "Opening surveyed data on your computer"
      • Never shorten the names of components (e.g. Mergin Maps Mobile App)
    • For headers (##, ###, #### ) capitalise only the first letter in first word
      • Correct: "Putting your project in the cloud"
      • Wrong: "Putting Your Project in the Cloud"
      • Never shorten the names of components (e.g. Mergin Maps mobile app)
    • Titles and headers should contain specific keywords to return relevant search results:
      • Correct: "Further reading about projections and transformations"
      • Wrong: "Further reading"

# Questions

# How To Fix Typo in the Documentation

If you see the typo or other issue on a page, you can scroll to the very bottom of the page to see a footer similar to this

Mergin Maps documentation page footer

If you click on the link, you will get the markdown source of the page that you can edit. If you are not in the Mergin Maps core documentation team, you would also need to work on fork to be able to proceed.

# Why the Markdown Has Different Content as the Public Docs

Occasionally, it can happen that the link in the footer is broken or the content in markdown does not match the content on Mergin Maps Documentation (opens new window).
This is due to the fact that the released version is the latest tagged release (opens new window). The latest commit on main branch can be seen on staging server Mergin Maps Staging Documentation (opens new window).

# How Search Works

Full-text search is used in the docs thanks to the leo-buneev/vuepress-plugin-fulltext-search (opens new window) plugin.

# How to Add New Page to Menu

  1. Add the page in src/.vuepress/sidebar/en.js, the order of articles in the menu is always "concepts - how to - reference".
  2. Add the page in src/index.md

# Using Markdown

If you are not familiar with markdown, best to take some tutorial or use cheatsheet (opens new window). On top of regular markdown. you can use HTML tags as well as some extra Vue.js/custom components described in this section

# Tip/Warning/Info/Error/Note box


warning example

::: warning 
warning example


tip example

::: tip 
tip example


details example

::: details 
details example 


danger example

::: danger 
danger example 

You can also change title to a custom one

Custom title

Custom title example

::: warning Custom title
Custom title example

# Emoji

You can use any of supported supported emoji (opens new window) by markdown-it project.

🎉 😀 🤣 😱 ❤️ 🙏

:tada: :grinning: :rofl: :scream: :heart: :pray:

# Labels/Badges

tip badge

<Badge text="tip badge" type="tip"/>

warning badge

<Badge text="warning badge" type="warning"/>

error badge

<Badge text="error badge" type="error"/>

For mentioning that some feature is available from specific version, use <SinceBadge />

<SinceBadge type="App" version="2022.1.1" />
since Mobile app 2022.1.1

<SinceBadge type="Plugin" version="2023.2" />
since QGIS plugin 2023.2

<SinceBadge type="Server" version="2024.3" />
since Server 2024.3

# Images

# Preparation

  • Any image prepared should have an associated Gimp .xcf file containing the original, full resolution image
  • Screenshots of QGIS should be taken with the window sized at 1024x768
  • Consistent buttons / toolbars in QGIS
  • Windows/macOS, not Linux
  • Making dialogs as small as possible without scrollbars or other bad visuals
  • Highlighting
    • New layer, black, called Black with 66% opacity
    • Tightly select what you want to highlight
    • Grow selection by:
      • Desktop: 3px
      • Mobile: 24px
    • Delete hole from Black layer
    • Add a layer called Red, transparent, 100% opacity
    • Stroke the selection with red, at width:
      • Desktop: 3px
      • Mobile: 12px

# Export, title and alt

Every exported image:

  • has webp (preferable) or jpg format
  • has around 50-150kb. Only images where zoomed detail is important could have higher size.
  • has title and alt text (exception: don't add alt text to decorative images like icons that are not part of docs)

e.g. ![image alt text](./myimage.png "image title")

The image alt text is used to describe images to users who can't see them (they are using a screen-reader or image failed to load). The image title attribute is only visible on mouse-over and displays just the title over image.

For texts:

  • Usually, use the same for alt and titles
  • Include text that's part of the image
  • Use keywords sparingly - describe in simple words
  • Never start with “Image of …” or “Picture of …”
  • Be specific and succinct

# Referencing

  • Do not add docs prefix (base)
  • Place images next to the markdown files that reference them
  • Do not start with /, use relative paths

e.g. ![image alt text](./myimage.png "image title") if the image is in the same folder as your markdown file

  • For global pictures/assets placed in src/.vuepress/public use custom component <PublicImage />

e.g. <PublicImage src="logo_lutra.svg" title="Lutra Consulting Ltd. logo" />


# Table of Contents

use [[toc]] in markdown

# Spellcheck

if you want to omit spellcheck for a word, use component
NoSpellcheck, e.g. <NoSpellcheck id="myword" />

Reference other markdowns

  • use relative path to the current file
  • add .md extension
  • use # for anchors

e.g. [see this](../web/otherfile.md#permissions)

# Custom Vue Components for Markdown

see src/.vuepress/components for list of all components

If you are adding new component:

  • add your component to src/.vuepress/components/MyComponent.vue
  • use in markdown as <MyComponent></MyComponent> or <MyComponent />

# Reference QGIS and QGIS Help pages

To reference QGIS website, use <QGIS /> component, e.g. <QGIS link="en/site/forusers/download.html" text="QGIS Download page" /> transforms to

QGIS Documentation QGIS Download page (opens new window)

To reference QGIS documentation, use <QGISHelp /> component, e.g. <QGISHelp ver="3.22" link="user_manual/index.html" text="See QGIS Help page" /> transforms to

QGIS Documentation See QGIS Help page (opens new window)

# Reference GitHub content

Use <GitHubRepo /> component, e.g. <GitHubRepo id="MerginMaps/docs/" desc="documentation" /> transforms to documentation (opens new window).

# Embed YouTube content

Use <YouTube /> component, e.g. <YouTube id="DQXrINUqiFI" /> transforms to

# Reference Mergin Maps project

Use <MerginMapsProject /> component, e.g. <MerginMapsProject id="documentation/test_forms" /> transforms to

Mergin Maps Project documentation/test_forms documentation/test_forms (opens new window)

For a short reference (e.g. in tables), use <MerginMapsProjectShort /> component, e.g. <MerginMapsProject id="documentation/test_forms" /> transforms to

Mergin Maps Project documentation/test_forms (opens new window)

# Show Mergin Maps Mobile App Google/Apple badges for download

Use <AppDownload /> component

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play Available on Windows

# Naming Mergin Maps Components

Use <AppDomainNameLink /> component, transforms to app.merginmaps.com

Use <DashboardLink /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps dashboard

Use <DashboardShortLink /> component, transforms to dashboard

Use <MainDomainName /> component, transforms to merginmaps.com

Use <MainDomainNameLink /> component, transforms to merginmaps.com

Use <MainPlatformName /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps

Use <MainPlatformNameLink /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps

Use <CommunityPlatformName /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps CE

Use <CommunityPlatformNameLink /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps CE

Use <EnterprisePlatformName /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps EE

Use <EnterprisePlatformNameLink /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps EE

Use <MobileAppName /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps mobile app

Use <MobileAppNameShort /> component, transforms to mobile app

Use <QGISPluginName /> component, transforms to Mergin Maps QGIS plugin

Use <QGISPluginNameShort /> component, transforms to QGIS plugin

# Translations

Translations are not yet supported/implemented.

# Redirects

As documentation matures, content gets moved, renamed or deleted. As 3rd party sites may link to content, it's important to maintain information on how requests for now non-existent content should be redirected usefully.

This information is captured in the REDIRECTS (opens new window) file.

# Seeing what's changed

When all authors have committed their changes to the main branch and are ready for the site to be released we can easily generate a clear picture of what's changed.

We can do this by comparing the current state of the main branch with the last released version of the docs site. Do this by:

  1. Comparing changes (opens new window)
    • Use the latest tag on the left
    • Use main on the right

    GitHub comparing changes

  2. Scroll down a little and click where it says 224 changed files or similar

    You should now see a nice summary below of files which have been added, renamed or deleted

    GitHub summary of changes

You can now see which content has been changed.

# Updating the REDIRECTS file

The REDIRECTS file is a tab-separated list of old/new URL pairs. It describes how requests for old content should be redirected.

With a clear picture of how the structure of content will change in a given release (see above), update the REDIRECTS as follows:

  • Renamed pages (.md) or data files (e.g. .json, .zip):
    • Add a new line to the REDIRECTS file to reflect this
    • Check if existing lines in the REDIRECTS file point to the page/data file that is being renamed
      • If so, update those targets to point to the renamed page/data file's new path
  • Deleted pages (.md):
    • Add a new line to the REDIRECTS file to point requests somewhere sensible
    • Check if existing lines in the REDIRECTS file point to the deleted page
      • If so, update those targets to point somewhere sensible
  • Renamed images (e.g. .png, .jpg) and deleted data files (e.g. .json, .zip):
    • We ignore these for the time being
  • General checks
    • Ensure source and destination URLs are separated by a single tab, not spaces
    • Ensure all target URLs end with a trailing / for example:
      • https://merginmaps.com/docs/howto/input_ui (bad)
      • https://merginmaps.com/docs/howto/input_ui/ (good)

# Known Limitations

  • Anchors don't work
  • elements in anchors don't show
  • elements also don't work in TOC
  • when a component is followed by a hyperlink, the hyperlink is displayed as plain text