How to dev

How to dev

How to build publish code documentation on GitLab

This article will show how to build TS documentation with GitLab CI & deploy it on GitLab pages. The advantage of this approach is that we don't need additional credentials or user management if we want to keep access to documentation limited. We can set the documentation to be available only to people who have access to the code.

The code

The code I'll be documenting is a simple TS file, src/index.ts:

/**
 * Class that contains contact information
 */
export class Contact {
  /**
   * Phone number, with or without country code.
   */
  public phoneNumber: string;

  public firstName: string;

  public lastName: string;
}

/**
 * Loads contacts from the database.
 * @returns all contacts
 */
export function getContacts(): Contact[] {
  throw new Error("Not implemented");
}

Here we will have an example of class & function documentations.

Dependencies

To building the doc, I'm using TypeDoc. First, I needed to turn the folder into an npm package:

$ npm init -y

then install dependency:

$ npm install typedoc --save-dev

added 29 packages, and audited 30 packages in 3s

1 package is looking for funding
  run `npm fund` for details

found 0 vulnerabilities

and add doc building script to package.json:

{
  ...
  "scripts": {
    ...
    "docs": "typedoc src/index.ts"
  },
  ...
}

TypeDoc does require tsconfig.json to work correctly. A simple one that works in our case:

{
  "compilerOptions": {
    "module": "ESNext"
  },
  "include": ["src/**/*"],
  "exclude": ["node_modules", "**/*.spec.ts"]
}

Local test

With all the configuration in place, it should already be working locally. We can check it with:

npm run docs

> self-hosted-doc@1.0.0 docs
> typedoc src/index.ts

Rendering [========================================] 100%
Info: Documentation generated at /home/marcin/workspace/github/self-hosted-doc/docs

The CI configuration

For the build & deployment on GitLab, we need .gitlab-ci.yml as follow:

stages:
  - deploy

Definition of stages for our job(s). In this example, we are fine with just one, deploy, but in a more complex project, it can make sense to, for example, build the doc along with compiling the TS.

pages:

For the GitLab pages to deploy, there are few things our configuration has to match. One of them is the job has to be called pages. Publishing some build output accidentally could leak data that should have been private, so this is made a bit complicated to help protect the users.

  stage: deploy
  image: node:16

Stage as was defined earlier, and some node image to build the doc.

  artifacts:
    paths:
      - public

Another configuration that has to match - GitLab will publish the content of the public folder to the pages, and we have to set it up as an artifact.

  script:
    - npm ci
    - npm run docs
    - mv docs public

Dependency installation & build. mv docs public moves the doc output to the public directory.

Complete .gitlab-ci.yml

stages:
  - deploy

pages:
  stage: deploy
  image: node:16
  artifacts:
    paths:
      - public
  script:
    - npm ci
    - npm run docs
    - mv docs public

Settings

There isn't anything to set up in the configuration for this to work. In my example, I on gitlab.com/marcin-wosinek/self-hosted-doc/p.. I can add a domain or remove the page:

setting-after-deploy.png

The access settings are on the general settings page - gitlab.com/marcin-wosinek/self-hosted-doc/e.., and you need to open Visibility, project features, permissions section:

settings-header.png

and then look for Pages:

setting-switch.png

Links

The working documentation & the example repository.

Summary

In this article, we have seen how to build & deploy code documentation in GitLab.

Interested in reading more such articles from Marcin Wosinek?

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