Sessions at Open Source Bridge 2011 about Chef

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Tuesday 21st June 2011

  • Read the Docs: A Completely Open Source Django Web Site

    by Eric Holscher

    Hosting open source documentation was a mess. The best-of-class solution for the Python world as uploading a tarball of html to packages.python.org or doing similar to upload to github pages. If you wanted to self-host it, that generally meant having a cron job that ran a shell script to pull your source code nightly. We set out to solve this problem using the current best of class tools that Django has to offer.

    "Read the Docs":http://readthedocs.org/ is the official documentation host for many open source Python projects. It is built around the "Sphinx":http://sphinx.readthedocs.org/en/latest/index.html documentation toolkit. In the simplest form, we are a hosting provider for Sphinx documentation. However, we have added a lot of features to make this useful. These include:

    • Support for svn, hg, git, and bzr.
    • Post-commit hooks to automatically build documentation on commit
    • A custom Read the Docs styled Sphinx theme.
    • Full-text search across all projects.
    • Support for VCS tags and branches. (branches git only for now)
    • PDF generation for all documentation.
    • Editing of documentation that results in a pull request on github. (Bitbucket doesn't have a pull request API)

    Read the Docs has a lot of the standard parts of any website, and also some other intersting parts that are relatively unique. These include:

    • Subdomains
    • CNAME Support
    • Search using Solr and Haystack
    • Delayed task execution with Celery
    • Front end caching with Varnish
    • Deployment with Chef
    • Multi-server architecture
    • Monitoring with Nagios and Munin

    This talk will consist of three parts. The first part is the origin story of the site, how and why it was created over a weekend by 3 people. Then I'll talk about the technology involved as the site has grown. It started out as a very simple site, but as features have been added, it has gotten more complex. Finally I will discus some of the interesting outcomes that come from having a completely open source site, including security and community contributions.

    At 10:00am to 10:45am, Tuesday 21st June

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