5.3 KiB

The Ardour Manual

This is the project that generates the static ardour manual website available at The site is built using python 3.

Get the code

git clone <repo-url> ardour-manual
cd ardour-manual

Structure of the content

There are 2 different types of content:

  • a master document which describes the overall structure of the manual
  • normal content, which is described in the master document

The Master Document

This is a text file (master-doc.txt) which describes the structure of the manual. It does this through headers which tell the build script where the content lives, what its relationship to the overall structure is, as well as a few other things.

All headers have a similar structure, and have to have at least the following minimal structure:

title: Some Wordy and Expressive Title
part: part

Keywords that go into the header are of the form:

  keyword: value

Here are the keywords you can put in, and a brief description of what they do:

Keyword Meaning
title Sets the title for the content that follows
menu_title Sets the title for the content that follows which will appear in the menu link sidebar. If this is not specified, it defaults to the value of the title keyword
part Sets the hierarchy for the content that follows. It must be one of the following (listed in order of lowering hierarchy): part, chapter, subchapter, section, subsection
link Sets the unbreakable link to the content that follows. Links in the content should be prefixed with a double at-sign (@@) to tell the build system that the link is an internal one
include Tells the build system that the content lives in an external file; these normally live in the include/ directory. Note that the filename should not be prefixed with include/
exclude Tells the implode and explode scripts that file referred to by the include keyword should be ignored. Note that the value of this keyword is ignored
pdf-exclude Does not include the content in the generated PDF, but links to its online contents. The value is also ignored.
style Sets an alternate CSS stylesheet; the name should match the one referred to (sans the .css suffix) in the source/css directory
uri Sets an absolute URI where this page will go in the hierarchy of the created website. It does not change the document structure

Normal content

Manual content goes into the include/ directory (or in the Master Document itself); and consists of normal HTML, sans the usual headers that is normally seen in regular HTML web pages. Any other content, such as css files, images, files and fixed pages goes into the source/ directory.

Adding source/images/horse.png makes it available at the url /images/horse.png after publishing it; things work similarly for source/files/ and source/css/.


The manual uses Bootstrap for its global layout, and a few custom CSS files that contains classes used for keys, menus, tables, etc... so it is recommended to have a look at it first, or at least see how other pages are made to keep the manual consistent in its appearance:

  • source/css/common.css contains shared classes between all media and is included everywhere
  • source/css/screen.css adds classes used for screen display (html)
  • source/css/pdf.css adds classes used for print (pdf)
  • source/css/luadocs.css adds classes used in the Lua script documentation

More Advanced Stuff

You probably don't want or need to do any of this, but here are some notes just in case you decide to anyway.

Run it locally

You may want the manual available on a machine that doesn't have constant internet access. You will need git, python3 and cherrypy python module installed.

  1. Download code and build manual
git clone <repo-url> ardour-manual
cd ardour-manual
  1. Run the following:
  1. The manual will now be available at

(Ctrl-c to quit the server).

Helper scripts: implode and explode

The implode and explode scripts exist in order to accommodate different working styles. implode takes all the files referenced by the include keywords in the headers in the Master Document and automagically puts them into the Master Document in their proper places. Note that any header that has an exclude keyword will remain in the include/ directory. explode does the inverse of implode; it takes all the content in the Master Document and blows it into individual files in the include/ directory.

Build options

The script that builds the manual accepts the following options:

  • '-v', or '--verbose', to display the high-level structure of the manual
  • '-q', or '--quiet', to suppress all output (overrides -v)
  • '-d', or '--devmode', to add content to pages to help developers debug them (link, file name, URL)
  • '-p', or '--pdf', to automatically generate a PDF from the content (requires WeasyPrint to run)


the uri_to_fix.txt file is a structured file that is read at build time to generate redirects HTML pages, and avoid dead links when a page is moved or removed. The syntax is old/and/obsolete/uri | @@link, reusing the 'link' keyword of the master document.