Detailed Setup Guide

In this article we will go through the detailed instructions to setup your local copy of this repository in order for you to become a contributor, this article is designed for those who are not familiar with Hugo or Git. If you are familiar with these tools and you just want the quick start setup guide please follow this link Quick Start Guide

Become a Contributor

In order to publish content to you will need to be added as a contributor to this repository as this is the repository which is used to build the website. Please reach out to the owner of this repository to be approved and added as a contributor.

Install Hugo

This site is built using Hugo. Hugo is a static site generator. if you wish to build the site locally for the purposes of testing then you will need to install Hugo locally in order to preview the site before you commit changes back to this repository. Please follow the below steps to do this.

MacOS Hugo Instructions

If you are on macOS and using Homebrew, you can install Hugo with the following one-liner:

brew install hugo

Windows Hugo Instructions

If you are on a Windows machine and use Chocolatey for package management, you can install Hugo with the following one-liner:

choco install hugo -confirm

Install Git

If you do not have git installed locally on your computer, please follow these simple instructions to install the git command line tools

MacOS Git Instructions

brew install git

Windows Git Instructions

On Windows you can download Git and follow the instructions to get up and running

Install Visual Studio Code

There are multiple options for editing the markdown and making site changes, the best option, IMHO, is to use Visual Studio Code This comprehensive Developer text editor has everything you need to be able to contribute to the site as well as a number of extensions which will help with contributing. We will explore some of these extensions once we have installed VS Code.

Install Visual Studio Code (Mac and Windows)

VS code is very straight forward to install, simply navigate to Visual Studio Code and you can download the binaries from the landing page, VS code is available for Mac, Windows and Linux OSs.

Install Visual Studio Code Extensions

VS Code has a number of extensions for working with various different development languages, cloud platforms, automation tools and so on. Here are a few which you may find useful for contributing to this site

Markdown All in One

Dictionary Completion

Code Spell Checker

There are lots of extensions which can be installed for VS Code, these are just a few which you may find useful for Markdown editing

Since we are mainly going to be editing markdown as part of contributing content to this site, it is useful to have access to a Markdown cheat-sheet, especially if you are not editing markdown on a regular basis. Markdown has various syntax requirements which need to be adhered to, the below sites are useful for referencing purposes

Markdown Guide

Daring Fireball

Cloning the repository and getting starting ready to contribute

In order to get started with contributing content to this site, we will first need to clone the repository to our local machine in order to start working on it.

I will be describing this instructions for MacOS

  1. It’s best to create a folder structure and organize your git repositories on your machine, for the purposes of these instructions I will create a folder in my “Documents” folder on my Mac called “Hugo” in here I keep all my Hugo sites which I am working on.

  2. Open VS Code and goto View > Terminal to open the VS code integrated terminal.

  3. Navigate to your parent directory where you plan to clone this repository to, in my case that is the Hugo Directory in the Documents folder

  4. Clone the repository with the below command

    git clone --recurse-submodules --depth 1
  5. Now change into the cloned repository directory

    cd vmc-onboarding
  6. You now have a local copy of everything you need to start editing the site and content in order to contribute to the site

  7. Next we can test our local development environment and make sure that we can build the site locally on your laptop and make changes and add content

  8. Run the below command from your VS Code integrated terminal, assuming you are still in the vmc-onboarding directory. This will use Hugo to interpret the files we have in this directory and build the website locally on your machine. If this goes well, which it should, you will see that the web server is available at http://localhost:1313 open a web browser and navigate to this location and you will be able to browse the whole site locally

    hugo server
  9. Should you want to stop serving the site locally you can use (ctrl+c) to stop Hugo from serving the site

  10. In VS Code you can view the directory tree, you can do this by using the shortcut key combination “Command+Shift+E” and then clicking Open Folder and navigating to the vmc-onboarding folder, which in my case sites in Documents/Hugo/, select the folder and click open.

How to edit content and contribute

Now that we have the site locally on our machine we can get started with contributing. Now you may be looking at the directory structure and it may appear a little bit daunting, especially if you are new to Hugo and new to website development. Fear not, we only need to focus on one top level root folder.


This is the folder which will contain the markdown files which we will edit in order to build the site content

Within the Content directory you will find folders related to language, for the purposes of this tutorial we will focus on the “en” directory for English content.

Here you will find various subfolders for content. The Hugo site we are using is built using a Hugo Theme, the theme we are using is called Docsy this theme is a really good theme for technical documentation which makes it ideal for our purposes. The Docsy theme also has very good documentation, hosted on a docsy themed site, which you can reference below

Docsy Documentation

As a content contributor you will find the below section of the Docsy documentation very useful.

Docsy Documentation - Adding Content

Please review the above documentation links, view the structure of the /content/en/ directory and open a documentation issue for this page if you feel more clarification is needed.

Commit changes and updates to the Repository

As you are making updates to the content on the site you can always keep the site running locally on your machine using the below command which we went through earlier.

    hugo server

As you save the markdown files which you are working on you will see the hugo site will be redeployed and you can see your changes and updates in realtime, this way you can ensure that your content it formatting as you expect it too.

Note: You can also view how your markdown file will look by rendering it in VS Code using the (command+shift+v) shortcut.

When you are ready to commit changes, follow the below steps to upload your changes to the repository

  1. Before we do anything we want to ensure that we have the latest version of the repository, others may have made changes since we last interacted with this repository. VS Code should do this automatically but we can check this manually by using the shortcut (Control+Shift+g) going to the 3 dots to the right of the VMC-ONBOARDING GIT list and selecting Pull this will make sure we have the latest version of the Repository.
  2. Now lets make some changes, for the purposes of this test we will add content to the index page of the contributing section.

  3. In your Explorer pane (shift+command+e) navigate too /content/en/contributing/ and open this file

  4. You will see that this is a basic markdown file, you will also notice that there is some content at the top enclosed in dashes

    title: Contributing
        weight: 40

    This is referred to as Frontmatter and it is the meta data which is used to render the page. If you want to learn more about this Frontmatter in this site you can refer to the Docsy theme documentation on Frontmatter here: Frontmatter Documentation

  5. At the moment this is an empty page with just the front matter, this particular page is just a placeholder for sub-content. Beneath the Frontmatter section just add something, such as your initials. Save the file

  6. Now lets use the (control+shift+g) command to switch over to the Git tracking window in VS Code.

  7. You will notice now that you will have at least one file which says it has changes, select the file and right click it, select the option to Stage Changes your changes are now ready to be committed

  8. Under the VMC-ONBOARDING Git section you will see a place to input a commit message, every commit needs to have a message associated so put something in here such as “My first commit” then click the “tick” commit icon.

  9. Now we have committed a change we will now need to push this change up to the Repository hosted in Github. We can do this now by clicking the 3-dots to the right of VMC-ONBOARDING Git and selecting push

How does the build of the site work

Now that we have pushed the updates to the Github repository, there is some automation which will kick into play and build the site. This takes around 30 seconds to complete. Please refresh your browser after this time and you should see your changes take affect at

We use Netlify as the tool to build and host this Hugo powered site.

Rollback your changes

Please go through and delete the changes which you made to /content/en/contributing/ and then step through the same process to save, commit and push your changes to the Github repository.

Last modified March 19, 2020: commit (e6b63a1)