Building documentation#

Applies to Linux and Windows


6 min read time

You can build our documentation via GitHub (in a pull request) or locally (using the command line or Visual Studio (VS) Code.


If you open a pull request on the develop branch of a ROCm repository and scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a summary panel. Next to the line docs/, there is a Details link. If you click this, it takes you to the Read the Docs build for your pull request.

Screenshot of the GitHub documentation build link

If you don’t see this line, click Show all checks to get an itemized view.

Command line#

You can build our documentation via the command line using Python. We use Python 3.8; other versions may not support the build.

Use the Python Virtual Environment (venv) and run the following commands from the project root:

python3 -mvenv .venv

.venv/bin/python     -m pip install -r docs/sphinx/requirements.txt
.venv/bin/python     -m sphinx -T -E -b html -d _build/doctrees -D language=en docs _build/html

Navigate to _build/html/index.html and open this file in a web browser.

Visual Studio Code#

With the help of a few extensions, you can create a productive environment to author and test documentation locally using Visual Studio (VS) Code. Follow these steps to configure VS Code:

  1. Install the required extensions:

    • Python: (ms-python.python)

    • Live Server: (ritwickdey.LiveServer)

  2. Add the following entries to .vscode/settings.json.

        "liveServer.settings.root": "/.vscode/build/html",
        "liveServer.settings.wait": 1000,
        "python.terminal.activateEnvInCurrentTerminal": true
    • liveServer.settings.root: Sets the root of the output website for live previews. Must be changed alongside the tasks.json command.

    • liveServer.settings.wait: Tells the live server to wait with the update in order to give Sphinx time to regenerate the site contents and not refresh before the build is complete.

    • python.terminal.activateEnvInCurrentTerminal: Activates the automatic virtual environment, so you can build the site from the integrated terminal.

  3. Add the following tasks to .vscode/tasks.json.

        "version": "2.0.0",
        "tasks": [
            "label": "Build Docs",
            "type": "process",
            "windows": {
              "command": "${workspaceFolder}/.venv/Scripts/python.exe"
            "command": "${workspaceFolder}/.venv/bin/python3",
            "args": [
            "problemMatcher": [
                "owner": "sphinx",
                "fileLocation": "absolute",
                "pattern": {
                  "regexp": "^(?:.*\\.{3}\\s+)?(\\/[^:]*|[a-zA-Z]:\\\\[^:]*):(\\d+):\\s+(WARNING|ERROR):\\s+(.*)$",
                  "file": 1,
                  "line": 2,
                  "severity": 3,
                  "message": 4
              "owner": "sphinx",
                "fileLocation": "absolute",
                "pattern": {
                  "regexp": "^(?:.*\\.{3}\\s+)?(\\/[^:]*|[a-zA-Z]:\\\\[^:]*):{1,2}\\s+(WARNING|ERROR):\\s+(.*)$",
                  "file": 1,
                  "severity": 2,
                  "message": 3
            "group": {
              "kind": "build",
              "isDefault": true

    Implementation detail: two problem matchers were needed to be defined, because VS Code doesn’t tolerate some problem information being potentially absent. While a single regex could match all types of errors, if a capture group remains empty (the line number doesn’t show up in all warning/error messages) but the pattern references said empty capture group, VS Code discards the message completely.

  4. Configure the Python virtual environment (venv).

    From the Command Palette, run Python: Create Environment. Select venv environment and docs/sphinx/requirements.txt.

  5. Build the docs.

    Launch the default build task using one of the following options:

    • A hotkey (the default is Ctrl+Shift+B)

    • Issuing the Tasks: Run Build Task from the Command Palette

  6. Open the live preview.

    Navigate to the site output within VS Code: right-click on .vscode/build/html/index.html and select Open with Live Server. The contents should update on every rebuild without having to refresh the browser.