Readme File Syntax

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Readme file syntax example
  1. How To Make A Readme File
  2. Git Readme Syntax

How To Make A Readme File

File

Markdownish syntax for generating flowcharts, sequence diagrams, class diagrams, gantt charts and git graphs. Format file syntax for View custom command. This section includes the following topics.

Writing the ever-popular README file isn't as straightforward as you might think. This guide makes it easy.

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Readme File Syntax

The README file is one you normally see when you've downloaded source code in order to compile and install it on your system. It (hopefully) is a guide that helps you understand, install, and set up your new application with ease. Though that is the intention of the file, there are no real established standards for what to include in it. In this article, I'll offer my opinion on and preferences for ideal README file contents, plus I'll give you two templates that you can use to create your own.

I'm not a hardcore coder, but for script groups or web applications that I might write in PHP, Perl, or shell scripts, I always supply a README file so that anyone who uses or supports my application will be able to better understand it and its function.

You may write your README in plain text, markdown, or any other text style that you choose. I prefer markdown, plain text, and HTML, in that order. I like markdown because it's easy to use, and you can make a nice-looking document with minimal coding weirdness and without a fancy editor.

Project title

From a marketing point-of-view, your project titles should be plain and clearly communicate its function with no extraneous descriptors or wordplay. If it's a text editor, call it that—at least after a colon.

For example, if I create a web application project to help capacity and performance engineers manage hundreds of servers, then a good title for it might be 'CapPlanMan: The Capacity Planning Management Tool' rather than something like 'Glass Half Full: The Capacity Planner.' I won't delve deeply into the psychology of naming, but I think you can see the idea here.

Description

The Description section describes the project, program, or application in 30 words or less. It is a summary of what the application does for the user, the technology it employs, and the purpose behind the project. Here is an example:

CapPlanMan is a web-based application using standard LAMP technology to help capacity planning engineers and performance engineers better manage their system's capacity and performance measurements. The application has an at-a-glance dashboard as well as drill-down capability for examining individual systems and clusters.

This description is basically your 'elevator pitch' for the project. It's a short summary of what your project is and does without any fluff or propaganda.

Prerequisites

If your project requires any applications or special configurations, you will place them in this section. Not a lot of explanation is needed here. List any requirements, packages, configurations, and disk space considerations.

This project requires the LAMP stack, SSL, and a normal user service account with no login shell.

Also, add in any special requirements for file system permissions, database permissions, and so on.

Installation

This section describes the installation of your project files. You can optionally create an INSTALL.md file and refer to it here if the instructions are more than a few paragraphs long. But if you can keep it concise, include it here.

Run the install.sh script as root to install the files, set permissions on web directories, import the CapPlanMan.SQL file, and clean up unnecessary installation files. Read INSTALL.md for a listing of all the changes made by the install.sh script.

Be sure to include all steps here or in the INSTALL.md file. There's nothing more frustrating than spending hours troubleshooting someone else's install script, so save your users the hassle.

Usage

Include any usage notes here. Provide generic syntax and examples.

$ ./install.sh -uroot [email protected]$$w0rd

This entry can be as simple as the one above, or you can provide multiple scenario examples that describe the different options that are available.

Contributing

The Contributing section gives potential contributors a way to contact the author(s) and to submit errata or enhancements to the project.

If you'd like to contribute to this project or submit errata, please read CONTRIBUTING.md.

This is a necessary part of any community project. Everyone feels empowered if they can participate in the development of a project. It also adds value to have other people to contribute because it means that the project has value outside of your original scope.

Authors

Include all authors of a project. Optionally include an email address.

Git Readme Syntax

Kenneth Hess (2020)

License

Specifying a license is standard practice. There are many from which you can choose. If you need help deciding, this tool may give you some guidance. If you're creating code for work, be sure to check with your legal department for their feedback and approval.

CapPlanMan is licensed under GPL 3.0.

Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments are 'thank yous' to people who have provided resources to your project. Be sure to mention them here.

Thanks to the Enable Sysadmin team at Red Hat.

Wrap up

If you write and make software projects public, you should include a README document to accompany it. Don't leave your potential users adrift to figure out how to install and use your software. Make it concise. Use some sort of standard formatting so that readers understand what they're looking at. Below are two template links for you. Feel free to use them, my examples, or use the guidelines above to create one of your own.

—A README.md template on GitHub from Purple Booth

—README 101 from makeareadme.com

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Related Content

Bitbucket lets you seta repository's description but you may want to provide detailedinformation or instructions about your repository. You do this in aREADME file that is at the root of your repository's code base.There are several formats you can use to create a README. The stepsbelow guide you through creating a plain text README in your localrepository, adding the file to tracking, committing your changelocally, and pushing the file up to the remote Bitbucketserver.

  • Go to your terminal window and navigate to the top level ofyour local repository.
  • Using your favorite editor, create a README filewith the following content:
  • Save the README file in yourbb101repo-practice directory.
  • When you are done, list the contents of your local repository.

    You should see something similar to the following:

  • Go ahead and get the status of your local repository.
    The <ahref='//atlassian.com/git/tutorial/git-basics#!status'>gitstatus</a> command tells you about how your project isprogressing in comparison to your Bitbucket repository. You shouldsee something like this:

    You can see that Git is aware that you created a file in yourlocal repository. The status output also shows you the next step,the add.

  • Tell git to track your new README file using the<ahref='//atlassian.com/git/tutorial/git-basics#!add'>gitadd</a> command.

    You must perform this step before you can commit a file. Whathappens if you run the status command now? Git seesthat you have a new file in your local repository and that you canpotentially commit it.

  • Commit all the changes you added.
    Right now, the only change pending in your local repository is thenew README. When you issue the <ahref='//atlassian.com/git/tutorial/git-basics#!commit'>commit</a>command you see this:

    Up until this point, everything you have done is local - that ison your local system. It is not visible in your Bitbucketrepository until you put it there with the pushcommand. You can test this to see if it is true by opening theBitbucket bb101repo Overview page inyour browser. You should see that the Overviewlooks exactly as it did when you started.

  • Go back to your local terminal window and push your committedchanges using the <ahref='//atlassian.com/git/tutorial/remote-repositories#!push'>gitpush</a> command.
    You should see something similar to the following:
  • Go to your Bitbucket bb101repo repository inyour browser and click the Commits item on themenu bar.

    You should see a single commit on your repository.

Remember how the Overview page looked when youfirst created your repo? Take some time and explore a little. Clickon buttons and travel down some links.