Documentation Site

Flame’s documentation is written in Markdown. It is then rendered into HTML with the help of the Sphinx engine and its MyST plugin. The rendered files are then manually (but with the help of a script) published to flame-docs-site, where the site is served via GitHub Pages.


The main documentation site is written in Markdown. We assume that you’re already familiar with the basics of the Markdown syntax (if not, there are plenty of guides on the Internet). Instead, this section will focus on the Markdown extensions that are enabled in our build system.

Table of contents

The table of contents for the site must be created manually. This is done using special {toctree} blocks, one per each subdirectory:


First Topic    <relative_path/>
Second Topic   <>

When adding new documents into the documentation site, make sure that they are mentioned in one of the toctrees – otherwise you will see a warning during the build that the document is orphaned.


Admonitions are emphasized blocks of text with a distinct appearance. They are created using the triple-backticks syntax:

Please note this very important caveat.
Don't look down, or you will encounter an error.
I told you so.
Also check out this cool thingy.


Please note this very important caveat.


Don’t look down, or you will encounter an error.


I told you so.

See also

Also check out this cool thingy.


The special {deprecated} block can be used to mark some part of documentation or syntax as being deprecated. This block requires specifying the version when the deprecation has occurred

```{deprecated} v1.3.0

Please use this **other** thing instead.

Which would be rendered like this:

Deprecated since version v1.3.0: Please use this other thing instead.

Live examples

Our documentation site includes a custom-built flutter-app directive which allows creating Flutter widgets and embedding them alongside the overall documentation content.

In Markdown, the code for inserting an embed looks like this:

:sources: ../flame/examples
:page: tap_events
:show: widget code popup
:width: 180
:height: 160

Here’s what the different options mean:

  • sources: specifies the name of the root directory where the Flutter code that you wish to run is located. This directory must be a Flutter repository, and there must be a pubspec.yaml file there. The path is considered relative to the doc/_sphinx directory.

  • page: a sub-path within the root directory given in sources. This option has two effects: first, it is appended to the path of the html page of the widget, like so: main.dart.html?$page. Secondly, the button to show the source code of the embed will display the code from the file or directory with the name given by page.

    The purpose of this option is to be able to bundle multiple examples into a single executable. When using this option, the main.dart file of the app should route the execution to the proper widget according to the page being passed.

  • show: contains a subset of modes: widget, code, infobox, and popup. The widget mode creates an iframe with the embedded example, directly within the page. The code mode will show a button that allows the user to see the code that produced this example. The popup mode also shows a button, which displays the example in an overlay window. This is more suitable for demoing larger apps. Using both “widget” and “popup” modes at the same time is not recommended. Finally, the infobox mode will display the result in a floating window – this mode is best combined with widget and code.

  • width: an integer that defines the width of the embedded application. If this is not defined, the width will be 100%.

  • height: an integer that defines the height of the embedded application. If this is not defined, the height will be 350px.

Standardization and Templates

For every section or package added to the documentation, naming conventions, directory structure, and standardized table of contents are important. Every section and package must have a table of contents or an entry in the parent markdown file to allow navigation from the left sidebar menu in logical or alphabetical order. Additionally, naming conventions should be followed for organization, such as:

  • bridge_packages/package_name/

  • documentation_section/


Avoid having spaces in the paths to the docs since that will keep you from building the project due to this bug.

Building documentation locally

Building the documentation site on your own computer is fairly simple. All you need is the following:

  1. A working Flutter installation, accessible from the command line;

  2. A Python environment, with python version 3.8+ or higher;

    • You can verify this by running python --version from the command line;

    • Having a dedicated python virtual environment is recommended but not required;

  3. A set of python modules listed in the doc/_sphinx/requirements.txt file;

    • The easiest way to install these is to run

      pip install -r doc/_sphinx/requirements.txt
    • Verify that all packages were installed correctly, otherwise, an error may occur.

  4. Melos as per the contributing guide.

Once these prerequisites are met, you can build the documentation by using the built-in Melos target:

melos doc-build

The melos doc-build command here renders the documentation site into HTML. This command needs to be re-run every time you make changes to any of the documents. Luckily, it is smart enough to only rebuild the documents that have changed since the previous run, so usually, a rebuild takes only a second or two.

If you want to automatically recompile the docs every time there is a change to one of the files you can use the the built-in Melos target below, which will also serve and open your default browser with the docs.

melos doc-serve

When using the melos doc-serve command, the melos doc-build is only needed when there are changes to the sphinx theme. This is because the serve command both automatically compiles the docs on changes and also hosts them locally. The docs are served at http://localhost:8000/ by default.

There are other make commands that you may find occasionally useful too:

  • melos doc-clean removes all cached generated files (in case the system gets stuck in a bad state).

  • melos doc-linkcheck to check whether there are any broken links in the documentation.

The generated html files will be in the doc/_build/html directory, you can view them directly by opening the file doc/_build/html/index.html in your browser. The only drawback is that the browser won’t allow any dynamic content in a file opened from a local drive. The solution to this is to run melos doc-serve.

If you ever run the melos doc-clean command, the server will need to be restarted, because the clean command deletes the entire html directory.


Avoid having spaces in the paths to the docs since that will keep you from building the project due to this bug.