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Generating Docs

First steps#

After you've documented your API, you can generate the docs using the scribe:generate Artisan command.

php artisan scribe:generate

This will:

  • extract information about your API and endpoints
  • transform the extracted information into a HTML docs webpage (+ Postman collection and OpenAPI spec, if enabled)
  • store the extracted API details in some YAML files (in .scribe/endpoints), so you can manually edit them later

If you're using static type, your docs (index.html, CSS and JS files) will be generated to the public/docs folder.

If you're using laravel type:

  • the Blade view will be at resources/views/scribe/index.blade.php
  • the CSS and JS assets will be in public/vendor/scribe
  • the Postman collection and OpenAPI spec will be in storage/app/scribe/.
note

If you're using laravel type, you may need to exclude storage/app/scribe/ from the gitignore (storage/app/.gitignore), as it is ignored by default (meaning your Postman/OpenAPI docs won't be committed). You can add this line to your .gitignore to achieve that:

!scribe/

For more details on what happens when you run generate, see How Scribe Works.

Viewing the generated docs#

To access your generated docs, start your Laravel app (php artisan serve on local), then visit /docs. This works for both types of docs.

tip

If you're using static type, you can also open the public/docs/index.html locally in your browser.

You can change the default docs paths with the config items static.output_path and laravel.docs_url.

The .scribe folder#

After you generate your docs, you should also have a .scribe folder. This folder is the "intermediate" output; it holds information about your API that Scribe has extracted, allowing you to overwrite some things before Scribe converts to HTML. See How Scribe works for details.

You can choose to commit this folder, or not. If you commit this folder, you can make edits to the info Scribe has extracted, and Scribe will respect them when generating your docs on any machine, local or server.

If you don't commit, you can't make any edits to what Scribe has extracted, so generating on a different machine might give different results. Of course, you can still use annotations and other strategies to customise the information that gets passed to Scribe.

note

If you commit the folder, and you generate docs on your server. and your deployment process involves a git pull, you might get warnings from Git about your local changes being overwritten. In that case, you should use git restore . before git pull and scribe:generate.

Modifying the docs after generating#

The .scribe folder holds Scribe's intermediate output, allowing you to modify the data Scribe has extracted before it turns them into HTML. You can:

  • edit the endpoint YAML files (in .scribe/endpoints)
  • add more endpoints, following the example file at .scribe/endpoints/custom.0.yaml
  • edit the introduction and authentication sections (.scribe/intro.md and .scribe/auth.md)
  • append some content to the end of the docs (by adding a .scribe/append.md file)
  • sort endpoints in a group (by reordering them in the appropriate YAMl file)
  • sort groups (by renaming the group files)

See sorting endpoints and groups.

Discarding your changes#

On future runs, Scribe will respect your changes and try to merge them into any information it extracts. If you'd like to discard your changes and have Scribe extract afresh, you can pass the --force flag.

php artisan scribe:generate --force

Skipping the extraction phase#

You can also use the --no-extraction flag. With this, Scribe will skip extracting data about your API and use the data already present in the .scribe folder.

php artisan scribe:generate --no-extraction

This allows you to quickly edit the extracted YAML and view your changes without having to extract from all your endpoints again.

Sorting endpoints and groups#

By default, endpoint groups will be ordered alphabetically in the docs, but you can customise override this by editing the files in .scribe/endpoints/. Groups are ordered by file name, so you can reorder groups by renaming the files. For instance, the group in 0.yaml will always be shown before the one in 1.yaml, and so on, so you can swap those two filenames if you want the order reversed.

Endpoints in a group are listed within one file, so to sort endpoints in a group, rearrange the items in the endpoints array of the group YAML file.

.scribe/endpoints/0.yaml
name: Endpoints
description: ''
endpoints:
# This endpoint will be shown first
- httpMethods: [ "GET" ]
uri: api/healthcheck
# ...
# This endpoint will be shown next
- httpMethods: [ "GET" ]
# ...

Try It Out#

By default, your generated docs will include an API tester that lets users test your endpoints in their browser. You can set the URL that requests will be sent to with the try_it_out.base_url config item, or turn it off with try_it_out.enabled.

For Try It Out to work, you'll need to make sure CORS is enabled on your endpoints. An easy package for this is fruitcake/laravel-cors.

If you're using Laravel Sanctum, or another token-based SPA authentication system on your API, you'll need to set try_it_out.use_csrf to true. Scribe will then visit the try_it_out.csrf_url before each request, retrieve the CSRF token from the XSRF-TOKEN cookie, and add it as an X-XSRF-TOKEN header to the request.

Postman collection and OpenAPI spec#

By default, Scribe will also generate a Postman collection and OpenAPI spec which you can import into API clients like Postman or Insomnia. Scribe will include the links to them in the menu of your docs.

You can configure these in the postman and openapi sections of your scribe.php file.

config/scribe.php
'postman' => [
'enabled' => true,
'overrides' => [
// 'info.version' => '2.0.0',
],
],
'openapi' => [
'enabled' => true,
'overrides' => [
// 'info.version' => '2.0.0',
],
],

Each section has two options:

  • enabled: Set it to false to if you don't want the collection/spec to be generated.

  • overrides: Fields to merge with the collection/spec after generating. For instance, if you set postman.overrides to ['info.version' => '2.0.0'], then the version key in the info object of your Postman collection will always be set to "2.0.0".

Customising the environment#

You can pass the --env option to run this command with a specific env file. For instance, if you have a .env.docs file, running scribe:generate --env docs will make Laravel use the .env.docs file.

This is a handy way to customise the behaviour of your app for documentation purposes—for example, you can disable things like notifications when response calls are running.

Running on CI/CD#

You might want to generate your docs as part of your deployment process. Here are a few things to note:

If you're using response calls, you should see the recommended setup, to avoid any unintended side effects and get the best possible responses.

You'll also want to set your URLs:

  • the base URL, which will be displayed in the docs and examples. You can set this with the config item base_url. You'll probably want to set this to your production URL.
  • the Try It Out URL, which is the URL where the in-browser API tester's requests will go to. You can set this with the config item try_it_out.base_url. You could set this to your production or staging server.