In-line editable documentation


I read a conversation which discusses the advantages of Google Docs over traditional markup documentation because it lets users provide corrections and feedback inline. One notable section:

it’s a dynamic and collaborative experience. It’s a living process. It makes it trivially easy for anyone, with or without an account, with or without programming skills, to update the content and collaborate with me on it, in-context. To pop in a correction for a wrong number (so many corrections so far!). To reword a phrase poorly constructed (thank you readers!). The experience is substantially distinct and better than a wiki as well, especially if you have non-technical readers. Comments and suggestions are treated differently than content, and integrated with a notification system via email. There’s no awkward syntax to learn. Even technical users have a difficult time keeping wikis up-to-date! I’m witnessing it daily, both in the OSS world and in the commercial sphere. Maintaining up-to-date docs is REALLY difficult for engineers. Here … well you just make the edit right there in front of your eyes as you notice something that needs a change and an email is automatically sent to the author.

These sound like important benefits of using Google Docs. But I want to write my docs in a markup language because it’s much more flexible. So my ideal documentation system would have several features:

  • Maintainers can write docs in a powerful markup language.
  • Users can edit the docs in-line as they’re reading, without needing to log in or know reStructuredText.
  • Users can comment on the docs with points of clarification. (sphinxcontrib-disqus provides a comments section at the bottom of the page, but no in-line comments. This is still a missing piece.)

This library demos no-login editing capability for Sphinx docs.

Live demo

Try out a live demo here.


Install this package:

pip install sphinxcontrib-editable

And in docs/conf.py add

extensions = ['sphinxcontrib.editable']


Come to the issue tracker on GitHub.