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Writing docs for man pages

Any commands or file paths in this document assume that you are inside the bundler/ directory of the rubygems/rubygems repository.

A primary source of help for Bundler users are the man pages: the output printed when you run bundle help (or bundler help). These pages can be a little tricky to format and preview, but are pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.

Note: bundler and bundle may be used interchangeably in the CLI. This guide uses bundle because it’s cuter.

What goes in man pages?

We use man pages for Bundler commands used in the CLI (command line interface). They can vary in length from large (see bundle install) to very short (see bundle clean).

To see a list of commands available in the Bundler CLI, type:

  $ bundle help

Our goal is to have a man page for every command.

Don’t see a man page for a command? Make a new page and send us a PR! We also welcome edits to existing pages.

Creating a new man page

To create a new man page, simply create a new .ronn file in the lib/bundler/man/ directory.

For example: to create a man page for the command bundle cookies (not a real command, sadly), I would create a file lib/bundler/man/bundle-cookies.1.ronn and add my documentation there.


Our man pages use ronn formatting, a combination of Markdown and standard man page conventions. It can be a little weird getting used to it at first, especially if you’ve used Markdown a lot.

The ronn guide formatting guide provides a good overview of the common types of formatting.

In general, make your page look like the other pages: utilize sections like ##OPTIONS and formatting like code blocks and definition lists where appropriate.

If you’re not sure if the formatting looks right, that’s ok! Make a pull request with what you’ve got and we’ll take a peek.


To preview your changes as they will print out for Bundler users, you’ll need to run a series of commands:

$ rake spec:deps $ rake man:build $ man ./lib/bundler/man/bundle-cookies.1

If you make more changes to bundle-cookies.1.ronn, you’ll need to run the rake man:build again before previewing.


We have tests for our documentation! The most important test file to run before you make your pull request is the one for the help command and another for documentation quality.

$ bin/rspec ./spec/commands/help_spec.rb $ bin/rspec ./spec/quality_spec.rb

Writing docs for the Bundler documentation site

If you’d like to submit a pull request for any of the primary commands or utilities on the Bundler documentation site, please follow the instructions above for writing documentation for man pages from the rubygems/rubygems repository. They are the same in each case.

Note: Editing .ronn files from the rubygems/rubygems repository for the primary commands and utilities documentation is all you need 🎉. There is no need to manually change anything in the rubygems/bundler-site repository, because the man pages and the docs for primary commands and utilities on the Bundler documentation site are one in the same. They are generated automatically from the rubygems/rubygems repository’s .ronn files from the rake man:build command.

Additionally, if you’d like to add a guide or tutorial: in the rubygems/bundler-site repository, go to /bundler-site/source/current_version_of_bundler/guides and add a new Markdown file (with an extension ending in .md). Be sure to correctly format the title of your new guide, like so: --- title: SSL/TLS Troubleshooting Guide ---

Edit this document on GitHub if you caught an error or noticed something was missing.