Synapse Doc Mastering

Documentation for creation and generation of documentation for Synapse.

Generating Docs Locally

API documentation is automatically generated from docstrings, and additional docs may also be added to Synapse as well for more detailed discussions of Synapse subsystems. This is currently done via readthedocs.

In order to do local doc generation you can do the following steps:

  1. Install the following packages (preferably in a virtualenv):

    # cd to your synapse checkout
    cd synapse
    # Install additional packages - this assumes the environment already has
    # any additional packages required for executing synapse code in it.
    python -m pip install -U -r requirements_doc.txt
    # Alternativly, you can install synapse directly in develop mode with pip
    # python -m pip install .[docs]
    # Install pandoc package, required for building HTML.
    # This may require sudo access depending on your environment.
    apt install pandoc
  2. Build the docs using sphinx. A makefile is provided which makes this easy.

    # Go to your synapse repo
    cd synapse
    # Go to the docs folder
    cd docs
    # Use the make command to build the HTML docs
    make html
  3. Now you can open the HTML docs for browsing them.

    xdg-open _build/html/index.html
  4. To rebuild documentation from scratch you can delete the _build directory and the api directories. Deleting the api directory will cause the automatic Synapse API documentation to be rebuilt.

    # Delete the _build directory
    make clean
    # Remove all old files and remove the autodocs directory
    rm -rf synapse/autodocs

Mastering Docs

Synapse documents are mastered using either raw ReStructuredText (.rst) files or as Jupyter Notebooks (.ipynb). Notebooks should be used for documenting anything which may include Storm or code examples, so that the examples can be written in a manner that can be asserted, so the documentation can be tested in the CI pipeline. Notebooks are also executed during sphinx document build steps, so any output is current as of document build time. Text in Notebooks should be mastered as RST using raw NbConvert cells.

In general, docs for Synapse fall into two categories: User guides and devops guides. User guides should be mastered in ./docs/synapse/userguides and devops guides should be mastered in ./docs/synapse/devops. Additional top level sections may be added over time.

In order to master Notebooks, you will need to setup the hide_code extension for Jupyter. That is used to selectively hide code and output blocks as needed. For example, this allows use to hide the code used to run a Storm command and show the output.

The following steps are a high level overview of the process to setup Jupyter and add or edit notebooks for documentation purposes.

  • Setup the hide_code extension:

    # Then install & enable the Jupyter hide-code extension
    # This only has to be run once.
    jupyter nbextension install --py --user hide_code
    jupyter nbextension enable --py --user hide_code
    jupyter serverextension enable --py --user hide_code
  • Launch Jupyter to run a local notebook server:

    # Go to your synapse repo
    cd synapse
    # Launch the notebook server
    jupyter notebook
  • Navigate to the docs directory in Jupyter. Create a new notebook or open an existing notebook as needed. This will likely be located under the docs/synapse/userguides or docs/synapse/devops directories.

  • For Storm CLI integration, you can add the following code block into the first code cell in order to get some Synapse Jupyter helpers:

import os, sys
    from synapse.lib.jupyter import *
except ImportError as e:
    # Insert the root path of the repository to sys.path.
    # This assumes the notebook is located three directories away
    # From the root synapse directory. It may need to be varied
    synroot = os.path.abspath('../../../')
    sys.path.insert(0, synroot)
    from synapse.lib.jupyter import *
  • You can use helpers to execute storm commands in the following fashion to get a CoreCmdr object, execute a storm query printing the CLI ouput to screen, while asserting the number of nodes returned, and then closing the object.

# Get a CoreCmdr object
corecmdr = await getTempCoreCmdr()
# Execute the query and get the packed nodes.
podes = await corecmdr.eval('[inet:ipv4=]',
                            num=1, cmdr=True)
Detected 143 deprecated properties unlocked and not in use, recommend locking (
cli> storm [inet:ipv4=]
Executing query at 2023/12/08 18:58:10.570
        .created = 2023/12/08 18:58:12.740
        :type = unicast
complete. 1 nodes in 2170 ms (0/sec).
  • We have a helper function available from the synapse.lib.jupyter imported earlier called getDocData(fn). It will look for a given filename in the docs/docdata directory; and get its data. If the file ends with .json, .jsonl, .yaml, or .mpk we will return the decoded data, otherwise we will return the raw bytes. This uses a function called getDocPath(fn) which will find and return a file under the docs\docdata directory.

    There is an example below showing the use of this to load a json file located at docs/docdata/mastering_example_ingest.json, and adding the data to the Cortex via the addFeedData() function.

fn = 'mastering_example_ingest.json'
data = getDocData(fn)
await corecmdr.addFeedData('syn.nodes', data)
podes = await corecmdr.eval('#example', num=2, cmdr=True)
cli> storm #example
Executing query at 2023/12/08 18:58:12.787
        .created = 2023/12/08 18:58:12.768
        :type = private
        .created = 2023/12/08 18:58:12.769
        :domain = com
        :host = woot
        :issuffix = false
        :iszone = true
        :zone =
complete. 2 nodes in 17 ms (117/sec).
  • Since the Code cells are persistent, you can reuse the objects from earlier cells until a resource has been closed (.fini()’d). The following example shows using the corecmdr object from the above code section to lift a node and print it to the screen.

from pprint import pprint # We want to make our nodes pretty
podes = await(corecmdr.eval('inet:ipv4'))
for pode in podes:
(('inet:ipv4', 1),
 {'iden': '2f70f448adcc6e9b9846aecfd034efc4f9d583e614f1b3489d1cf1d32fb64667',
  'nodedata': {},
  'path': {},
  'props': {'.created': 1702061892768, 'type': 'private'},
  'tagprops': {},
  'tags': {'example': (None, None)}})
(('inet:ipv4', 16909060),
 {'iden': '20153b758f9d5eaaa38e4f4a65c36da797c3e59e549620fa7c4895e1a920991f',
  'nodedata': {},
  'path': {},
  'props': {'.created': 1702061892740, 'type': 'unicast'},
  'tagprops': {},
  'tags': {}})
  • We can also execute a line of text in the CLI directly with the runCmdLine() function. For example, we can use this to execute the help command and see all available commands to the raw CLI object. This will always print the CLI output to the Jupyter cell output.

# Run the help command.
text = 'help'
await corecmdr.runCmdLine(text)
cli> help
help  - List commands and display help output.
hive  - Manipulates values in a cell's Hive.
kill  - Kill a running task/query within the cortex.
locs  - List the current locals for a given CLI object.
log   - Add a storm log to the local command session.
ps    - List running tasks in the cortex.
quit  - Quit the current command line interpreter.
storm - Execute a storm query.
  • In the above example, there is some Python syntax highlighting occuring. This may not be desired. In order to disable that, add the following to the first line of the RST body of a document:

    .. highlight:: none

    This will disable all code highlighting in a given document, until another highlight directive is encountered.

  • The following code and output will have their highlighting disabled, via the use of a pair of highlight directives before and after the code cell. The first directive disabled highlighting, and the subsequent directive re-enabled it for python3 highlighting.

    Read the Sphinx Literal documentation for additional information about highlighting controls.

# Run the help command again.
text = 'help'
await corecmdr.runCmdLine(text)
cli> help
help  - List commands and display help output.
hive  - Manipulates values in a cell's Hive.
kill  - Kill a running task/query within the cortex.
locs  - List the current locals for a given CLI object.
log   - Add a storm log to the local command session.
ps    - List running tasks in the cortex.
quit  - Quit the current command line interpreter.
storm - Execute a storm query.
  • When we are done with the CoreCmdr object, we should fini() is to remove any resources it may have created. This is done below.

# Close the object.
_ = await corecmdr.fini()
  • You can enable the hide_code options by selecting the “View -> Cell Toolbar -> Hide code” option. This will allow you to optionally hide code or output blocks.

  • After adding text and code to a notebook, ensure that it runs properly and any produces the expected outputs. You can then mark any code cells for hiding as necessary; then save your notebook. You can then follow the earlier instructions for how to build and view the docs locally.

  • Once new documents are made, they will needto be added to the appropriate toctree directive. There are three index documents:

    • index.rst - This controls top-level documentation ordering. It generally should not need to be edited unless adding a new top level document or adding an additional section to the second level Synapse directory.

    • synapse/userguide.rst - This controls the TOC ordering for user guides.

    • synapse/devops.rst - The controls the TOC ordering for devops guides.

  • Add notebooks to the repository using git add ..path/to/notebook.ipynb. You can then commit the notebook using git commit. If you have the git pre-commit hook from scripts/githooks/pre-commit, this will strip any output from the notebook upon commit time. This will result in cleaner git diff views over time. See Git Hook & Syntax Checking

Under the hood

Docs are built from Notebooks using a custom file which executes the notebooks, converting them to RST and using a custom template which looks for flags set by the hide_code extension in order to hide the blocks as needed.