API Documentation Contributor Guide

OpenStack API working group has defined a guideline to follow for API documentation when a project provides a REST API service. API documentation information comes from RST source files stored in the project repository, that when built, generate HTML files.

For additional information about the OpenStack guideline, refer to the OpenStack API documentation guide.


StarlingX API reference documentation exists in the following repositories:

  • starlingx/config: StarlingX System Configuration Management

  • starlingx/docs: StarlingX Documentation

    • stx-python-cinderclient // only StarlingX-specific extensions to Cinder API are documented here

    • stx-nova // only StarlingX-specific extensions to Nova API are documented here

    • stx-glance // only StarlingX-specific extensions to Glance API are documented here

    • stx-neutron // only StarlingX-specific extensions to Neutron API are documented here

  • starlingx/distcloud: StarlingX Distributed Cloud

  • starlingx/fault: StarlingX Fault Management, part of StarlingX Flock Services

  • starlingx/ha: StarlingX High Availability/Process Monitoring/Service Management, part of StarlingX Flock Services

  • starlingx/metal: StarlingX Bare Metal and Node Management, Hardware Maintenance, part of StarlingX Flock Services

  • starlingx/nfv: StarlingX NFVI Orchestration, part of StarlingX Flock Services

Directory structures

The directory structure of the API reference documentation under each StarlingX project repository is fixed. This example shows the starlingx/config project:

└── source
    ├── api-ref-sysinv-v1-config.rst
    ├── conf.py
    └── index.rst

The initial modifications and additions to enable the API documentation service in each StarlingX project are as follows:


Modifications to ignore the building directories and HTML files for the API reference.


Modifications to add jobs to build and publish the api-ref document.


Directory created to store your API Reference project directory.


Configuration file to set the HTML theme, Sphinx extensions, and project information.


Source file to create your index RST source file.


Modifications to add the os-api-ref Sphinx extension.


Modifications to add the configuration to build the API reference locally.

See starlingx/config [Doc] OpenStack API Reference Guide as an example of this first commit: https://review.opendev.org/#/c/603258/

Create the RST source file

Once the API documentation service has been enabled, create the RST source files that document the API operations under the same API reference documentation project directory. The following example shows the RST source file for the starlingx/config StarlingX System Configuration Management Configuration API v1:

└── source
        └── api-ref-sysinv-v1-config.rst

Create the index file

After providing the RST source file as shown in the previous example, add the index.rst file. This file provides captioning, a brief description of the document, and the Table-of-Contents structure with depth restrictions. The index.rst file is located in the same folder as the RST source file:


The syntax of the index.rst file is fixed. The following example shows the index.rst file used in the starlingx/config:

stx-config API Reference
StarlingX System Configuration Management

.. toctree::
   :maxdepth: 2


The index.rst file contains:

Reference title

Literal title that is used in the rendered document. In this case it is “stx-config API Reference”.

Reference summary

Literal summary of the rendered document. In this case it is “StarlingX System Configuration Management”.

Table-of-Contents tree structure and depth parameters

The directive to create a TOC and to limit the depth of topics to “2”.

RST source file root name

The source file to use as content. In this case, the file reference is api-ref-sys-v1-config. This references the api-ref-sys-v1-config.rst file in the same folder as the index.rst file.

REST method syntax

This section describes the syntax for each REST method in the RST source file (for example api-ref-sys-v1-config.rst).

Modifies attributes of the System object
.. rest_method:: PATCH /v1/isystems

<  TEXT - description of the overall REST API >

**Normal response codes**

< TEXT - list of normal response codes  >

**Error response codes**

< TEXT – list of  error response codes  >

**Request parameters**

.. csv-table::
   :header: "Parameter", "Style", "Type", "Description"
   :widths: 20, 20, 20, 60
   "ihosts (Optional)", "plain", "xsd:list", "Links for retreiving the list of hosts for this system."
   "name (Optional)", "plain", "xsd:string", "A user-specified name of the cloud system. The default value is the system UUID."
   < etc. >
< verbatim list of an example REQUEST body >
       "path": "/name",
       "value": "OTTAWA_LAB_WEST",
       "op": "replace"
       "path": "/description",
       "value": "The Ottawa Cloud Test Lab - West Wing.",
       "op": "replace"
**Response parameters**

.. csv-table::
   :header: "Parameter", "Style", "Type", "Description"
   :widths: 20, 20, 20, 60
   "ihosts (Optional)", "plain", "xsd:list", "Links for retreiving the list of hosts for this system."
   "name (Optional)", "plain", "xsd:string", "A user-specified name of the cloud system. The default value is the system UUID."
   < etc. >
< verbatim list of an example RESPONSE body >
   "isystems": [
            "links": [
                "href": "",
                "rel": "self"
                "href": "",
                "rel": "bookmark"
            "description": "The Ottawa Cloud Test Lab - West Wing.",
            "software_version": "18.03",
            "updated_at": "2017-07-31T17:44:06.051441+00:00",
            "created_at": "2017-07-31T17:35:46.836024+00:00",

Build the reference documentation

To build the API reference documentation locally in HTML format, use the following command:

tox -e api-ref

The resulting directories and HTML files looks like:

├── doctrees
│   ├── api-ref-sysinv-v1-config.doctree
└── html
    ├── api-ref-sysinv-v1-config.html
    ├── index.html
    └── _static

View the rendered reference documentation

To view the rendered HTML API reference document in a browser, open up the index.html file.