34Understanding How it Works

The publication system used in this online guide is based on version controlling all the content – text, tables and figures – and on automatically generating from each version – in parallel – both website and PDF renderings of the guide.

This [work in progress] chapter gives an overview of the project and the role of each tool.

Essentially, the project is divided in two top-level folders: the /guide and the /generator.

The first has the files for the entire contents of the guide (text, images, tables, etc). The text is written in a simple but powerful format, that at the same allows ease of use, independence of content from style and is compatible with version control.

The second contains the source-code for the special purpose generation tool – manu – that takes the text for the guide and the assets and builds the PDF and the complete website.

All content is versioned in Git, a powerful and proved distributed version control system used extensively in software development, and the project lives in GitHub, a platform for collaboration on projects using git.

A robot that lives in our server constantly monitors GitHub for events in this project – such as new commits or changes in pull requests – and automatically runs manu for each new version.