Contributing Documentation

The Community is encouraged to contribute documentation back to the project as they work through use cases the developers may not have considered or documented. By contributing documentation back, the community can learn from each other and build up a more extensive knowledge base.

VOLTTRON™ documentation utilizes ReadTheDocs: and is built using the Sphinx Python library with static content in Restructured Text.

Building the Documentation

Static documentation can be found in the docs/source directory. Edit or create new .rst files to add new content using the Restructured Text format. To see the results of your changes the documentation can be built locally through the command line using the following instructions:

If you’ve already bootstrapped VOLTTRON™, do the following while activated. If not, this will also pull down the necessary VOLTTRON™ libraries.

python --documentation
cd docs
make html

Then, open your browser to the created local files:


When complete, changes can be contributed back using the same process as code contributions by creating a pull request. When the changes are accepted and merged, they will be reflected in the ReadTheDocs site.

Documentation Styleguide

Naming Conventions

  • File names and directories should be all lower-case and use only dashes/minus signs (-) as word separators

├── first-document.rst
├── more-documents
│   ├──second-document.rst
  • Reference Labels should be Capitalized and dash/minus separated:

.. _Reference-Label:
  • Headings and Sub-headings should be written like book titles:

The Page Title


Each page should have a main title:

This is the Main Title of the Page

It can be useful to include reference labels throughout the document to use to refer back to that section of documentation. Include reference labels above titles and important headings:

.. _Main-Title:

This is the main title of the page

Heading Levels

  • Page titles and documentation parts should use over-line and underline hashes:

  • Chapter headings should be over-lined and underlined with asterisks

  • For sections, subsections, sub-subsections, etc. underline the heading with the following:

    • =, for sections

    • -, for subsections

    • ^, for sub-subsections

    • “, for paragraphs

In addition to following guidelines for styling, please separate headers from previous content by two newlines.




Example Code Blocks

Use bash for commands or user actions:

ls -al

Use this for the results of a command:

total 5277200
drwxr-xr-x 22 volttron volttron       4096 Oct 20 09:44 .
drwxr-xr-x 23 volttron volttron       4096 Oct 19 18:39 ..
-rwxr-xr-x  1 volttron volttron        164 Sep 29 17:08
drwxr-xr-x  3 volttron volttron       4096 Sep 29 17:13 applications

Use this when Python source code is displayed

def status_agents(self):
    return self._aip.status_agents()



Something very bad!


This is something good to know

Some other directives

“attention”, “caution”, “danger”, “error”, “hint”, “important”, “note”, “tip”, “warning”, “admonition”


You can reference other sections of documentation using the ref directive:

This will reference the :ref:`platform installation <Platform-Installation>`

Other resources