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docutils extension which converts react-docgen output to restructured text

Project description


docutils extension for documenting React modules. Requires react-docgen


Here is the restructured text to display all of the React modules in static/js/lib/my. Source links to each module are relative to the src option:

My JS/React Library

.. contents:: Table of Contents

.. reactdocgen:: static/js/lib/my


From PyPi

$ pip install docutils-react-docgen

From source

$ hg clone ssh://
$ pip install -e docutils_react_docgen/

The installation is successful if you can import docutils_react_docgen. The following command must produce no errors:

$ python -c 'import docutils_react_docgen'


In your you must import docutils_react_docgen:

import docutils_react_docgen

In your restructured text document(s) include the reactdocgen directive, and the react-docgen command on the same line, followed by zero or more option lines, followed by a blank line:

.. reactdocgen::  /path/to/your/react/modules/ [react-docgen options]
    :option: value

This will convert the output of:

react-docgen /path/to/your/react/modules/ [react-docgen options]

into restructured text and insert it in place of the directive.

react-docgen lets you filter which modules to extract meta data from. See:

react-docgen --help

for an explanation of the react-docgen command line options.

Each module is displayed with a heading showing the module name (which can appear in the table of contents), optionally followed by a link to its source code, followed by its description, followed by its properties shown alphabetically in a definition list.


Each option is shown with its default value.



Use this option to filter which modules appear in the output.

If provided, this regular expression is compiled into a pattern using python’s re module. Then if the pattern is found in a module’s description (using, the module is excluded from the output.



Use this option to filter which modules appear in the output.

If provided, this regular expression is compiled into a pattern using python’s re module. Then a module is included in the output only if the pattern is found in the module’s description (using


default: Module doc string is missing!

The string to display whenever a module’s ‘description’ key value is empty.


default: Property doc string is missing!

The string to display whenever a property’s ‘description’ key value is empty.


default: -

The underline character for the module heading.


default: 0

The index to the path argument.

This index is the number of arguments which preceed the path argument in the argument string passed to the directive.

When the project_base setting is used, the directive uses path_index to identify the path argument from the list of arguments it was called with. The default index of 0, means the path argument is the first in the list.

Change this option if you want to pass additional arguments to react-docgen which preceed the path argument.


default: False

If True, display the property type name.



If empty, no link is displayed for each module.

If not empty, it is the prefix used when linking to the source code. The url is the prefix followed by ‘/’ followed by the module filename.


default: 4

The number of space characters to replace each tab character with.


default: True

If True, a search for the CommonJS package proceeds recursively starting with the given directory and working up the directory tree towards the root.

If False, or (if True and) no bower.json or package.json can be found, the module name will appear as its filename instead of its CommonJS Module name.

Changing Default Options

The default values of all the options may be changed directly. For example:

import docutils_react_docgen
docutils_react_docgen.DEFAULT_OPTIONS['module_description_missing'] = ''



default: react-docgen

The react-docgen command to run.

Use this setting to provide a path to the react-docgen executable. The default assumes that react-docgen is in the PATH.

This setting can contain spaces so it is possible to invoke an alternate implementation of react-docgen with some leading options.


default: None

The base address of the project at run-time.

Use this setting in dynamic build environments, to establish the absolute address of the project.

Ordinarily, you would cd to the base of your project (where is) and run:

python build_sphinx

However, some build environments are created dynamically. In some cases it is not possible to know in advance either the current directory or your project’s relation to it. In these cases the directive is unable to find your React files to process unless you tell it how.

As long as you know where is in relation to the project’s base, you can set project_base in by virtue of Python’s built-in __file__ attribute and os.path methods.

When this setting is not None (note that “” is not None), and the path argument to the directive is a relative address, then the directive will construct an absolute path by prepending the project base:

path = os.path.abspath(os.path.join(

default: None (no separate output file)

The full path of a separate output file to hold only the rst generated by the directive.

When not None, the output file is created each time the directive is executed.

When there are rst errors in the JavaScript source sphinx reports the offending line numbers. Using this option you can locate the errors at the given line numbers in the separate output file.

Changing Settings

The values of all the settings may be changed directly. For example to set the path to react-docgen:

import docutils_react_docgen
react_docgen = './static/js/node_modules/react-docgen/bin/react-docgen.js'
docutils_react_docgen.SETTINGS['react_docgen'] = react_docgen

To make the project base absolute, let’s suppose is in doc/ relative to the project’s base, and the React modules are in static/js/lib/

Then in your

import docutils_react_docgen
import os
docutils_react_docgen.SETTINGS['project_base'] = os.path.join(

And in your .rst file:

.. react-docgen:: static/js/lib

Providing a Custom Formatter

Proceed by creating a module, sub-classing both Formatter and ReactDocgen, and registering your directive:

import docutils_react_docgen
from docutils.parsers import rst

class MyFormatter(docutils_react_docgen.Formatter):
    ... overwrite methods as necessary

class MyDirective(docutils_react_docgen.ReactDocgen):
    formatter_class = MyFormatter

rst.directives.register_directive('mydirective', MyDirective)

The formatter_class will be invoked as follows:

rst = self.formatter_class(options, dirname).run(doc_dict)

A dict of the directive options.


The path to search for the CommonJS package.


A dict of module metadata loaded from the JSON blob returned by react-docgen. The keys are the module file names, and the values are dicts of React module metadata.

The run() method must return a string containing the desired restructured text.

Finally, insure that the module containing your directive is imported by

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