Static documentation

This doc page is specific to Scala 3, and may cover new concepts not available in Scala 2.

Scaladoc can generate static sites, known from Jekyll or Docusaurus. Having a combined tool allows providing interaction between static documentation and API, thus allowing the two to blend naturally.

Creating a site is just as simple as in Jekyll. The site root contains the the layout of the site and all files placed there will be either considered static, or processed for template expansion.

The files that are considered for template expansion must end in *.{html,md} and will from here on be referred to as “template files” or “templates”.

A simple “hello world” site could look something like this:

└── <site-root>/
    └── _docs/
        ├── index.html
        └── getting-started.html

This will give you a site with the following files in generated documentation:


Scaladoc can transform both files and directories (to organize your documentation into a tree-like structure). By default, directories have a title based on the file name and have empty content. It is possible to provide index pages for each section by creating index.html or (not both) in the dedicated directory.

Keep in mind that viewing your site locally with all the features it offers, like search or snippets, require a local server. For example if your output directory was output you could use a python server to view everything by doing the following and opening localhost:8080:

cd output
python3 -m http.server 8080


Scaladoc uses the Liquid templating engine and provides several custom filters and tags specific to Scala documentation.

In Scaladoc, all templates can contain YAML front-matter. The front-matter is parsed and put into the page variable available in templates via Liquid.

Example front-matter

title: My custom title

Scaladoc uses some predefined properties to controls some aspects of page.

Predefined properties:

  • title provide page title that will be used in navigation and HTML metadata.
  • extraCss additional .css files that will be included in this page. Paths should be relative to the documentation root. This setting is not exported to the template engine.
  • extraJs additional .js files that will be included in this page. Paths should be relative to the documentation root. This setting is not exported to the template engine.
  • hasFrame when set to false page will not include default layout (navigation, breadcrumbs, etc.) but only token HTML wrapper to provide metadata and resources (js and css files). This setting is not exported to the template engine.
  • layout - predefined layout to use, see below. This setting is not exported to the template engine.

Using existing Templates and Layouts

To perform template expansion, Dottydoc looks at the layout field in the front-matter. Here’s a simple example of the templating system in action, index.html:

layout: main

<h1>Hello world!</h1>

With a simple main template like this:

        <title>Hello, world!</title>
        {{ content }}

Would result in {{ content }} being replaced by <h1>Hello world!</h1> from the index.html file.

Layouts must be placed in a _layouts directory in the site root:

├── _layouts
│   └── main.html
└── _docs
    └── index.html


In order to render assets along with static site, they need to be placed in the _assets directory in the site root:

├── _assets
│   └── images
│        └── myimage.png
└── _docs

To reference the asset on a page, one needs to create a link relative to the _assets directory

Take a look at the following image: [My image](images/myimage.png)

By default, Scaladoc reflects the directory structure from _docs directory in the rendered site. There is also the ability to override it by providing a sidebar.yml file in the site root directory. The YAML configuration file describes the structure of the rendered static site and the table of content:

index: index.html
    - title: Usage
      index: usage/index.html
      directory: usage
        - title: Dottydoc
          page: usage/dottydoc.html
          hidden: false
        - title: sbt-projects
          page: usage/sbt-projects.html
          hidden: false

The root element needs to be a subsection. Nesting subsections will result in a tree-like structure of navigation.

subsection properties are:

  • title - Optional string - A default title of the subsection. Front-matter titles have higher priorities.
  • index - Optional string - A path to index page of a subsection. The path is relative to the _docs directory.
  • directory - Optional string - A name of the directory that will contain the subsection in the generated site. By default, the directory name is the subsection name converted to kebab case.
  • subsection - Array of subsection or page.

Either index or subsection must be defined. The subsection defined with index and without subsection will contain pages and directories loaded recursively from the directory of the index page.

page properties are:

  • title - Optional string - A default title of the page. Front-matter titles have higher priorities.
  • page - String - A path to the page, relative to the _docs directory.
  • hidden - Optional boolean - A flag that indicates whether the page should be visible in the navigation sidebar. By default, it is set to false.

Note: All the paths in the YAML configuration file are relative to <static-root>/_docs.

Hierarchy of title

If the title is specified multiple times, the priority is as follows (from highest to lowest priority):


  1. title from the front-matter of the markdown/html file
  2. title property from the sidebar.yml property
  3. filename


  1. title from the front-matter of the markdown/html index file
  2. title property from the sidebar.yml property
  3. filename

Note that if you skip the index file in your tree structure or you don’t specify the title in the frontmatter, there will be given a generic name index. The same applies when using sidebar.yml but not specifying title nor index, just a subsection. Again, a generic index name will appear.


Blog feature is described in a separate document

Advanced configuration

Full structure of site root

└── <site-root>/
    ├── _layouts/
    │   └── ...
    ├── _docs/
    │   └── ...
    ├── _blog/
    │   ├──
    │   └── _posts/
    │       └── ...
    └── _assets/
        ├── js/
        │   └── ...
        ├── img/
        │   └── ...
        └── ...

It results in a static site containing documents as well as a blog. It also contains custom layouts and assets. The structure of the rendered documentation can be based on the file system but it can also be overridden by YAML configuration.

Mapping directory structure

Using the YAML configuration file, we can define how the source directory structure should be transformed into an outputs directory structure.

Take a look at the following subsection definition:

- title: Some other subsection
  index: abc/index.html
  directory: custom-directory
    - page: abc2/
    - page: foo/

This subsection shows the ability of YAML configuration to map the directory structure. Even though the index page and all defined children are in different directories, they will be rendered in custom-directory. The source page abc/index.html will generate a page custom-directory/index.html, the source page abc2/ will generate a page custom-directory/page1.html, and the source page foo/ will generate a page custom-directory/page2.html.

Contributors to this page: