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Deploy Docz on Gitlab Pages
Date Published: 2020-03-28
6 min read / 1137 words
#docz#gitlab#ci

In this article I will show you how you can deploy a Docz website on Gitlab pages, using .gitlab-ci.yml. Most of this article should be applicable to Github pages as well.

Docz

Docz is a tool powered by Gatsby, it aims to make it easier to document your project. It uses a language called mdx which is like normal markdown with some extra features, i.e. md + jsx. The main advantage of using Docz is you can render components "live", if you put them with the <playground> tags. A basic example may look like this:

---
name: Button
route: /
---

import { Playground, Props } from 'Docz'
import { Button } from './'

# Button

<Props of={Button} />

## Basic usage

<Playground>
  <Button>Click me</Button>
  <Button kind="secondary">Click me</Button>
</Playground>

I chose to use Docz because it was simple to set up and looks very nice. I was already writing my documentation in markdown so it seemed like a perfect fit, even though in my use case I didn't use the playground to render components.

Example

You can find an example project using Docz here. This is one of my projects where I deployed the documentation using Gitlab Pages. You can find it here.

Getting Started

Ok, now let's get into how we can add Docz to an existing project. We also need to have react-dom and react installed.

yarn add Docz

# or

npm install Docz

So our package.json looks like:

{
  "name": "example_app",
  "scripts": {
    "docs-dev": "docz dev",
    "docs-build": "docz build"
  },
  "dependencies": {
    "Docz": "2.2.0",
    "react": "16.9.0",
    "react-dom": "16.8.0"
  }
}

We then need to create our Doczrc.js configuration file, like so:

export default {
  src: "docs",
  description: "Example Documentation",
  menu: ["Introduction", "Contributing"],
  themeConfig: {
    initialColorMode: "dark",
  },
};

We will keep all our .mdx files in a folder called docs hence src: 'docs'. Each file will be shown as a page on our website. The description option will be the name of our website in an open browser tab. The menu option is the order in which our pages will show up in the sidebar (on the left-hand side by default). The names used in this menu option must match the names used in the frontmatter of that file should match the front matter in mdx pages. Finally, I want to use the dark mode by default which is the final option.

---
name: Button
route: /
---

We can view our current docz website by running docs-dev and then go to localhost:3000 on our dev machine.

Adding Pages

Ok, now let's add our actual "pages" to our Docz website. First create a new folder called docs in your project root. Then we will create our first page called Introduction.mdx (this name doesn't matter so much), where the page's contents look something like:

---
name: Introduction
route: /
---

# Example

Welcome to this example app, in this app we will show examples.

Note: The front matter name must match the name we defined in the Doczrc.js menu option.

The route defines the path the user will see, i.e. in the stegappasaurus example this page will be shown on https://stegappasaurus.haseebmajid.dev/.

Next let's create a second page called Contributing.mdx, which looks like:

---
name: Contributing
route: /contributing
---

# Contributing

Three main ways to contribute to this project are;

- **Adding a new feature:** Adding a new feature to the project, such as allow encoding of audio files alongside images
- **Improving a feature:** Extend/improve an existing feature, such as a small UI change
- **Fix an issue:** We have a list of [issues](https://gitlab.com/hmajid2301/stegappasaurus/issues), or you can fix your issue.

This page can be found on /contributing i.e. https://stegappasaurus.haseebmajid.dev/contributing. The page may look something like the image below. The titles are shown as sub-menus.

Example App

Gitlab Pages

Now that we have our Docz website and it is working locally, how can we deploy on Gitlab pages for all the world to see? Well first we need to add a job titled pages to our .gitlab-ci.yml file, then we need to store all of our static assets in a folder called public and make that an artifact of this job. This will tell Gitlab CI, that we want to publish this "website" to Gitlab Pages. Here is an example of what it may look like:

pages:
  only:
    - master
  script:
    - yarn
    - yarn docs-build
    - mv .Docz/dist/* public/
  artifacts:
    paths:
      - public

This will publish our "website" to https://.gitlab.io/<project_name>. So, for example, my username is hmajid2301 and my project name is stegappasaurus hence the website URL is https://hmajid2301.gitlab.io/stegappasaurus.

Custom Domain (Optional)

If you have your own custom domain, you can "host" the page under two URLs. In my case, I own haseebmajid.dev and I wanted to host it under a subdomain within that domain, like so https://stegappasaurus.haseebmajid.dev/. Gitlab makes this surprisingly easy to do:

Note: In this example, I am assuming we are using a subdomain and not the root domain i.e. example_app.haseebmajid.dev not haseebmajid.dev.

  • First go to your project on Gitlab
  • Next Settings (Left sidebar) > Pages > New Domain (Top Righthand Corner)
  • Enter the domain name you'd like to use, i.e. example_app.haseebmajid.dev
  • Press Create New Domain
  • Copy the TXT record to verify ownership.
  • Next go your domain provider, in my case it's Google
  • Go to your DNS settings for that domain

We will now create two DNS records a TXT record which verifies ownership of the domain. Go to settings for "pages" which can be found https://gitlab.com/<username>/<project_name>/pages. Then copy the data next to Verification status into your DNS settings.

Next we will create a CNAME record, a CNAME is used to point one domain record to another, i.e. a user comes to stegappasaurus.haseebmajid.dev CNAME -> hmajid2301.gitlab.io -> Resolve IP Address. Then the browser will take the user to the correct IP address. You can copy the CNAME data next to the DNS field.

After we've added the details it will take a few minutes for verification and for Let's encrypt to create a certificate for our website. Then you should be able to view your Docz website using both domains listed under the page settings of your project, i.e the gitlab.io url and your custom domain.

You can find more information here, with regards to Gitlab pages and custom domains.

Note: .dev domains always needs to be HTTPS encrypted (need a certificate).

Note: For Google Domains this data must be added in the DNS > Custom resource records.

pages

That's it. We have deployed a docz website using Gitlab CI onto Gitlab Pages and even added our custom domain to it.

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