Python Documentation README

This directory contains the reStructuredText (reST) sources to the Python
documentation.  You don't need to build them yourself, prebuilt versions are
available at

Documentation on the authoring Python documentation, including information about
both style and markup, is available in the "Documenting Python" chapter of the
documentation.  There's also a chapter intended to point out differences to
those familiar with the previous docs written in LaTeX.

Building the docs

You need to install Python 2.4 or higher; the toolset used to build the docs are
written in Python.  The toolset used to build the documentation is called
*Sphinx*, it is not included in this tree, but maintained separately in the
Python Subversion repository.  Also needed are Jinja, a templating engine
(included in Sphinx as a Subversion external), and optionally Pygments, a code

Using make

Luckily, a Makefile has been prepared so that on Unix, provided you have
installed Python and Subversion, you can just run ::

   make html

to check out the necessary toolset in the `tools/` subdirectory and build the
HTML output files.  To view the generated HTML, point your favorite browser at
the top-level index `build/html/index.html` after running "make".

Available make targets are:

 * "html", which builds standalone HTML files for offline viewing.

 * "htmlhelp", which builds HTML files and a HTML Help project file usable to
   convert them into a single Compiled HTML (.chm) file -- these are popular
   under Microsoft Windows, but very handy on every platform.

   To create the CHM file, you need to run the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop
   over the generated project (.hhp) file.

 * "latex", which builds LaTeX source files that can be run with "pdflatex"
   to produce PDF documents.

 * "text", which builds a plain text file for each source file.

 * "linkcheck", which checks all external references to see whether they are
   broken, redirected or malformed, and outputs this information to stdout
   as well as a plain-text (.txt) file.

 * "changes", which builds an overview over all versionadded/versionchanged/
   deprecated items in the current version. This is meant as a help for the
   writer of the "What's New" document.

 * "coverage", which builds a coverage overview for standard library modules
   and C API.

 * "pydoc-topics", which builds a Python module containing a dictionary
   with plain text documentation for the labels defined in
   `tools/sphinxext/` -- pydoc needs these to show topic
   and keyword help.

A "make update" updates the Subversion checkouts in `tools/`.

Without make

You'll need to checkout the Sphinx package to the `tools/` directory::

   svn co tools/sphinx

Then, you need to install Docutils 0.4 (the SVN snapshot won't work), either
by checking it out via ::

   svn co tools/docutils

or by installing it from

You can optionally also install Pygments, either as a checkout via :: 

   svn co tools/pygments

or from PyPI at

Then, make an output directory, e.g. under `build/`, and run ::

   python tools/ -b<builder> . build/<outputdirectory>

where `<builder>` is one of html, web or htmlhelp (for explanations see the make
targets above).


For bugs in the content, the online version at has a
"suggest change" facility that can be used to correct errors in the source text
and submit them as a patch to the maintainers.

Bugs in the toolset should be reported in the Python bug tracker at

You can also send a mail to the Python Documentation Team at,
and we will process your request as soon as possible.

If you want to help the Documentation Team, you are always welcome.  Just send
a mail to

Copyright notice

The Python source is copyrighted, but you can freely use and copy it
as long as you don't change or remove the copyright notice:

Copyright (c) 2000-2008 Python Software Foundation.
All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2000
All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 1995-2000 Corporation for National Research Initiatives.
All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 1991-1995 Stichting Mathematisch Centrum.
All rights reserved.

See the file "license.rst" for information on usage and redistribution
of this file, and for a DISCLAIMER OF ALL WARRANTIES.