Building the OpenCue Python APIs reference docs

Build the OpenCue Python APIs reference docs using Sphinx

This guide explains how to set up your development environment to build the HTML reference docs for the various Python packages and modules in OpenCue. OpenCue is configured to generate Python API reference docs using Sphinx. The project is also working on publishing the generated API reference docs on, but in the meantime you can build the reference HTML locally. This guide is also useful if you want to build the HTML reference during development.

Currently, OpenCue supports building HTML reference docs for the FileSequence, opencue, and outline packages. The outline package is the primary package for submitting and managing jobs in OpenCue.

Before you begin

You must have the following software installed on your machine:

  • Python version 2.7 or greater
  • The Python pip command
  • The Python virtualenv tool

If you don’t already have a recent local copy of the OpenCue source code, you must do one of the following:

  1. Download and unzip the OpenCue source code ZIP file.

  2. If you have the git command installed on your machine, you can clone the repository:

    git clone

Building and view the reference docs

To build and view the HTML reference docs:

  1. Create a Python virtual environment:

    virtualenv venv
    source venv/bin/activate
  2. Install dependencies for building the docs, along with OpenCue’s other standard dependencies:

    pip install -r docs/requirements.txt -r requirements.txt -r requirements_gui.txt
  3. Compile the OpenCue Cuebot protos, as these are dependencies for the Python packages:

    cd proto
    python -m grpc_tools.protoc -I=. --python_out=../pycue/opencue/compiled_proto --grpc_python_out=../pycue/opencue/compiled_proto ./*.proto
    cd ..
    2to3 -wn -f import pycue/opencue/compiled_proto/*_pb2*.py
  4. Change to the docs directory:

    cd docs
  5. Build the docs:

    make html

    The command produces output similar to the following:

    $ make html
    Running Sphinx v1.8.5
    making output directory...
    loading intersphinx inventory from
    intersphinx inventory has moved: ->
    building [mo]: targets for 0 po files that are out of date
    building [html]: targets for 11 source files that are out of date
    updating environment: 11 added, 0 changed, 0 removed
    reading sources... [100%] modules/outline.versions                                                                            
    looking for now-outdated files... none found
    pickling environment... done
    checking consistency... done
    preparing documents... done
    writing output... [100%] modules/outline.versions                                                                             
    generating indices... genindex py-modindex
    writing additional pages... search
    copying static files... done
    copying extra files... done
    dumping search index in English (code: en) ... done
    dumping object inventory... done
    build succeeded.

The HTML pages are in the docs/_build/html directory.

  1. To view the HTML output from Sphinx, open the following HTML file in a browser:


Customizing the theme

To customize the theme for the generated docs:

  1. Open docs/ for editing.

  2. Comment the following line:

    html_theme = 'alabaster'
  3. Add the followin code, replacing ‘’ with a theme:

    html_theme = '<name-of-the-theme>'
    import sphinx_theme
    html_theme_path = [sphinx_theme.get_html_theme_path()]
  4. Rebuild the docs:

    make clean
    make html

Submitting changes to the docs

Before you commit and submit changes as a pull request, remove any generated HTML output:

make clean

Note about configuring PyCharm

For anyone using PyCharm, they can set docstring format to reStructuredText by following this:

Tools > Python Integrated Tools > Docstrings > Docstring format to  "reStructuredText".

This will let you use standard PyCharm tools for generating docstrings in this format.