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Aveek Saha
Aveek Saha

Posted on • Originally published at home.aveek.io on

Build a documentation website with VuePress

A beginers tutorial on how to build and deploy a VuePress site

Introduction

VuePress is a static site generator powered by Vue. VuePress uses markdown to generate pages so you can focus on just the writing. Also it allows you to use Vue components in markdown and use custom themes. By default VuePress ships with a responsive theme, which is what we’ll be using for this project.

All these features make VuePress ideal for building documentation websites. This tutorial will show you how to get a documentation website up and running in 15 minutes.

Installation

For this project you’ll need Node and npm. Then we’ll install VuePress globally so that we can use the cli and also locally for when we deploy.

npm install -g vuepress
npm install -D vuepress
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Setup

Create a new project folder and change your current working directory to this folder.

mkdir doc-tut && cd doc-tut
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Then initialize this project with a package.json

npm init -y
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Create a folder called docs

mkdir docs
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In this docs folder create a new folder called .vuepress and add a file inside this called config.js. Then create a readme.md file in the docs folder.

Each sub folder we add to the docs folder becomes a sub route. We’re going to add 2 new folders called guide and get-started and add a readme.md file to both of these folders. This means that we now have two sub routes that point to /guide/ and /get-started/.

Each markdown file in a folder becomes a HTML file with the route being the parent folder and the readme.md file becomes the index.html file for that subroute

Your current File structure should look like this


doc-tut
   |----docs
   |    |--readme.md // index.html for the root directory
   |    |----.vuepress
   |    |    |
   |    |    |--config.js // configuration file for the default theme 
   |    |
   |    |----getting-started
   |    |    |
   |    |    |--readme.md
   |    |
   |    |----guide
   |        |
   |        |--readme.md
   |
   |--package.json

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Inside the config.js file place the following code.


module.exports = {
    title: 'New Docs', // Title of the website
    // appears in the meta tag and as a subtitle
    description: "A small documentation site", 
    // Google Analytics tracking code
    ga: "Analytics code", 
    themeConfig: {
        nav: [
            // links that will appear in the top navbar
            { text: 'Guide', link: '/guide/' },
            { text: 'Get Started', link: '/get-started/' },
            // external link
            { text: 'Github', link: 'https://github.com/Aveek-Saha' }, 
        ],
        sidebar: [
            // These links will appear in the sidebar
            // Create heading groups
            {
                title: 'Getting Started',
                collapsable: false,
                children: [
                    // These are pages we'll add later
                    '/get-started/installation', 
                    '/get-started/using'
                ]
            },
            {
                title: 'Guide',
                collapsable: false,
                children: [
                    // These are pages we'll add later
                    '/guide/api-reference', 
                    '/guide/deploying',
                ]
            }
        ]
    }
}

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Home page

Now we’re going to create the front page for out website. You can read more about the Default Theme Config here.

In docs/readme.md place the following code

---
home: true
actionText: πŸ“ Guide 
actionLink: /guide/api-reference
features:
- title: Simplicity First
  details: Minimal setup with markdown-centered project structure helps you focus on writing.
- title: Vue-Powered
  details: Enjoy the dev experience of Vue + webpack, use Vue components in markdown, and develop custom themes with Vue.
- title: Performant
  details: VuePress generates pre-rendered static HTML for each page, and runs as an SPA once a page is loaded.
footer: Made with πŸ’š by Aveek Saha
---

# Installation

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In interdum in sapien sed dictum. Phasellus placerat sem a eros rutrum efficitur. 
Proin vestibulum quam ut felis maximus lacinia. 
Vestibulum non cursus massa. Pellentesque quis leo at tellus aliquet porta.
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To see this live, open the project dir in your terminal run

vuepress dev docs
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Once it finishes compiling go to http://localhost:8080/ to see the homepage we just created. It should look like this

Screenshot1

Adding the other pages

Get Started

If you remember, we added two children to the sidebar group Getting Started in config.js (/get-started/installation and /get-started/using).

So we are going to add these files to the get-started sub-directory. Create two files, installation.md and using.md.

Copy this in both the files

---
title: Installation
---

<!-- change the title to Using in using.md -->

# Installation
There are two ways to include this in your project.

## NPM


    ```
    npm i some-lib
    ```



## CDN


    ```
    https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/something/something.js
    ```



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Once you add the code, The site should look something like this

Screenshot2

Guide

Another sidebar group we created called Guide also had two children, '/guide/api-reference' and '/guide/deploying'.

So we’ll add these files to the guide sub-directory,api-reference.md and deploying.md.


---
title: API reference
---

# API reference

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Phasellus placerat sem a eros rutrum efficitur. 
Proin vestibulum quam ut felis maximus lacinia. Vestibulum non cursus massa. 
Pellentesque quis leo at tellus aliquet porta. Quisque volutpat sollicitudin tincidunt. 
In gravida ante nisl, at pretium nibh scelerisque eget. Phasellus eleifend pretium imperdiet. 
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### Code


    ```
    for x in range(10):
        print x+1
    ```



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Once you finish, The site should look something like this

Screenshot3

Deploying to Netlify

First we’re going to add a .gitignore with a single line-

node_modules
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Create a new project on GitHub or GitLab (Bitbucket is also available) then cd to your project folder and run the following

git init
git remote add origin <git URL of your project>
git add .
git commit -m "Initial commit"
git push origin master
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Open Netlify in your browser and sign up for an account if you don’t already have one. Go to your sites and click New site from Git then follow the steps-

  1. select your git provider.
  • Choose the repository that you just created and commited to.
  • Under build options go to basic build settings and fill in the following 2 fields:
    • Build command
vuepress build docs
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  • Publish directory
docs/.vuepress/dist/
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Here are some screenshots of the process.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Then click deploy. The first deploy might take a while, so don't hold your breath. When the deploy is finished visit the site url given in the overview, it should look something like this Demo

Code & Demo

Live example - Demo

Code for this project - Code

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