Wiki Notes and Documentation

There are two components to this wiki:

  • mkdocs
  • s3

I also use the aws command line tools to push the files from my local machine to s3. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just use the console.

Mkdocs is a package that is installable via python pip. Personally, I like to install things like this in a venv, which creates an isolated python environment. This allows you to keep the set of dependencies separate and isolated from each other, and keeps your local system nice and clean.

At some point, I will add some basic venv documentation. Today is not that day.


Mkdocs is a very simple, markdown-based static website generator.

Setting up mkdocs is pretty simple, if you're using Linux or OS X. If you're using Windows, sorry, I can't help you.

To install mkdocs, execute the following command:

pip install mkdocs

If you aren't using a venv, you'll probably have to sudo that. After installing, create a directory for your mkdocs projects:

mkdir projects

Cd into that directory, and create your first mkdocs project!

mkdocs new project

This creates a directory that will contain the files for your mkdocs project. The initial directory contains a yaml document, a directory, and a markdown file inside of the directory:

├── docs
│   └──
└── mkdocs.yml

The mkdocs.yml file is essentially the project index (not to be confused with the index.html page), in which the site name, project structure and theme are defined. The files contained in the docs directory are the files that the static html files will be created from. If you were to write "Hello World" in the, and then execute the following command:

mkdocs build

you would find a new directory, called site, inside your project directory. This would contain html, css, javascript, and whatever else is necessary for your website.

To preview your site, there is a built in webserver, that auto-updates as you work on your site. To launch this, run the mkdocs serve command:

$ mkdocs serve
Running at:

That's a very basic overview of how to get started with mkdocs - for full documentation visit


  • mkdocs new [dir-name] - Create a new project.
  • mkdocs serve - Start the live-reloading docs server.
  • mkdocs build - Build the documentation site.
  • mkdocs help - Print this help message.

Project layout

mkdocs.yml    # The configuration file.
docs/  # The documentation homepage.
    ...       # Other markdown pages, images and other files.


Come on. You know what s3 is.

Set up an s3 bucket with publicly viewable permissions

By default, s3 buckets are private, so to make your static website viewable to the world, you have to create a bucket policy that grants everyone s3:GetObject permissions. To do so, in the s3 console of your AWS account, select the bucket that you will be using, click on Properties, select Permissions, select Edit bucket policy, and drop the following bucket policy into the text field:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Sid": "PublicReadForGetBucketObjects",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": "*",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [

Don't forget to change "example-bucket" to your bucket name.

Set up an s3 bucket as a static website

To enable your bucket as a static website, as above, select your bucket in the s3 console, select Properties, and then select Static Website Hosting. Check Enable website hosting, and select the document that will serve as your index document (if you don't know what that means, start googling - I'm not covering that here). By default, mkdocs creates an index.html file which will serve as the index document, so simply type index.html in the text field for Index Document. Click save, and you will be provided with an endpoint, which is the URL you will hit to see your wiki. You can also set up a custom domain name, if you like. Assuming that you already have a domain name to use with your s3 bucket, you will name your s3 bucket the same as the domain name.

For example, I own, and I wanted this wiki to be accessible via the url So very simple - I created a bucket called using the following s3 command:

aws s3 --profile rog mb s3://

After this, I went into Route 53, and pointed at the endpoint given to me when I set up the static website (this is a little out of order at this point, I know), setting it up as a cname.

That's it, done. Simpler than setting up a vhost in nginx.


The basic workflow is as follows:

  1. Create and/or edit a page
  2. Run mkdocs serve to preview what's being worked on
  3. Once I'm happy, kill the server and run mkdocs build --clean to build the site - the --clean flag gets rid of any files that are no longer needed
  4. Push the contents of the site directory to s3, using aws cli (the command I use is aws s3 --profile rog sync . s3://mybucketname)
  5. Commit and push the changes to git (put the site dir in the .gitignore)