Sphinx & GitHub Pages




I really like the practice of documenting projects using Sphinx (take a look at the PyTorch docs specifically for a great example), but it hasn’t always been clear to me how to host the resulting website. Recently, I ran across a few random projects, though, that make use of GitHub Pages for that and incidentally do it in a fairly unoffensive way.

GitHub Pages is awesome (it’s how I host this blog), and if you’re familiar with it, you know that you can pretty easily turn a repo of HTML (or even Markdown, with Jekyll) files into a website. However, it wasn’t clear to me whether there was an elegant way to achieve this with Sphinx. It’s trivial to create Sphinx docs out of the box, but the obvious solution is to commit the generated files into your codebase. I really don’t like the pattern of committing anything generated by code into your codebase, so didn’t want to do that.

Instead, I noticed that the projects I was running across were making use of the gh-pages branch and a Makefile. Here’s the full solution at a glance:

All of the previous points can be done inside a Makefile, so you just need to make github whenever you want to generate the docs. For a full proof of concept, take a look at benjcunningham/sphinx-docs-example.