Troubleshooting TechDocs

Published on March 7th, 2024

Visual differences in rendered output

Backstage is using MkDocs and python-markdown to render the markdown files for TechDocs.

Each markdown implementation renders HTML differently. e.g. markdown files as displayed in GitHub can often look different within Backstage TechDocs.

Backstage uses an opinionated theme based on material-mkdocs.

NB: Some styles will always be overridden regardless of the mkdocs-material plugin theme settings and this can cause unexpected behavior for those who override the theme setting in a mkdocs.yaml file.

Mermaid diagrams not rendering

Make sure you have added the extension to the root mkdocs.yml file in your repo like so:

  - markdown_inline_mermaid

Plugin not working as expected

Make sure you have added the extension to the root mkdocs.yml file in your repo. Some are added under the plugins key and some under markdown_extensions.

Read the docs for the plugin you are working with to find out which it is.

  - monorepo
  - pymdownx.snippets:
      check_paths: true

Nest Markdown in a collapsable section

If you would like to nest markdown in a collapsable section, you can use the HTML details component and the md_in_html markdown plugin.

First add the md_in_html to the mkdocs.yaml file.

  - md_in_html

Then add the following details section to the markdown file.

<details markdown="1">
<summary>Collabsable Title</summary>

Content of the collapsable and an image below



Nest Image within a list

If you would like to nest an image within a list so that it appears as part of the list item, you will need a line break and spacing before the image. e.g.

- Item 1

  Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.


- Item 2


Slow TechDocs builds

Larger TechDocs repositories can take some time to build when being updated or viewed for the first time.

There are two ways around this currently:

  1. Make sure your entity with the relevant TechDocs annotation is listed in the root catalog-info.yaml file of your repo and the docs are in a root docs/ folder. If this is the case AND your admins have set up the correct autodiscovery in Roadie for Github based repositories, changes to your docs should be built when they are merged to the default repository branch, so you won’t have to wait for docs to build when viewing them.

  2. Your organisation can start building and publishing TechDocs via your own CI pipelines so that the latest version is always ready to view in Roadie.