How to add a post to anvio.org

Anyone who is using anvi’o or has something to share with the anvi’o ‘omics community should feel free to add their content to anvio.org. However, the process for doing that can be a bit confusing for newcomers. This tutorial will teach you how to contribute to this website, whether you want to write a blog post, a tutorial, or a technical write-up. It will use this very post that you are reading as an example to show you how. :)

The following are the steps to follow for someone who has the technical skills to send in a PR for new web material. But we don’t want the anvi’o community to suffer from not hearing your voice if you are someone who does not have the technical background to follow this tutorial. In that case, please get in touch with , who can help you with the technical part and turn your content into the necessary format.

If you already wrote a blog post on a different website and you want to add a link to it on anvio.org, you don’t have to go through this whole tutorial. The only section that is really relevant is the one about adding your post to the resources list. You should follow that section to include the external URL to your existing post in the appropriate file within the repository, then send us a pull request.

Step 1) Get the anvio.org GitHub repository on your computer

To add your content, you’ll need to have a local copy of the materials for this website on your computer. The website is hosted on Github in this repository. You should download this repository.

Once you have it, please follow the installation commands for Ruby that are described here. Once you are able to run the following command to run a local copy of the website,

# run this command while inside the anvio.org directory
bundle exec jekyll serve --incremental

you should be good to go and can come back to this page.

Step 2) Make a branch for adding your post

It is best practice to write your post within a branch of the anvio.org repository and then submit a pull request (PR) to add it once it is all done. Make sure to get the latest changes to the website by running git pull first. Here is an example set of commands to start a branch for your post:

cd anvio.org
git pull
git checkout -b anvio-org-tutorial

Now you can start adding your contributions. From this point forward, we’ll assume that your working directory in the terminal is the anvio.org/ directory and that you are on the branch you created.

Step 3) Some helpful resources

You may want to check out the following webpages if you aren’t familiar with writing in Markdown or how Jekyll websites work:

Our website also includes several fancy syntax features that you can use to do things like making ‘additional info’ boxes, linking to the anvi’o documentation, and adding quotes or images. We highly recommend that you always keep our ‘Web Tips’ page open in a tab of your browser so that you can copy-paste the syntax for adding these features:

Step 4) Create the file for your contribution

You need to write the post in a file. But where do you put that file within the anvio.org repository? It varies according to whether you want to add a blog post or something else (i.e., a tutorial, technical document, etc), so please select the appropriate subsection for your contribution type below.

Option A) A file for blog posts

We store all of our blog post documents within the anvio repository in the _posts directory. You can see examples by running ls _posts/. Each post has to be named according to its date of publication, following the Jekyll post format. If you’re already done writing the post and you want it to appear on the website immediately, you can use the current date. But if you still need some time to make changes, you can choose a future date.

For example, suppose I was writing a blog post on October 18, 2023 but I decided I would need a few days to finish it. This is how I would create the file for my blog post with the intention to publish it on October 20:

touch _posts/2023-10-20-anvio-org-tutorial.md

What comes after the date is up to you, but we recommend giving a short yet descriptive summary of what your blog post is about.

After you edit that file to add content, you should commit your changes to your branch. For example:

git add _posts/2023-10-20-anvio-org-tutorial.md
git commit -m 'add my post to anvio.org'

Every file under the _posts directory is featured both on our ‘Community Blog’ page and within the “Articles, Workflows, Opinions” section on our ‘Learn’ page. Their location in the rendered website will be in the directory called /blog/, as you will see in their website URL. This will become relevant in Step 5.

Option B) A file for other contribution types

If you are not writing a blog post but instead another type of resource, you should organize your files a little bit differently. First, you should generate a subfolder for the post within the appropriate resource directory in the anvio.org repository. These are the current options:

  • tutorials/: for tutorials
  • technical/: for technical write-ups
  • docs/: for developer and contributor resources

If you aren’t sure where yours should go, check out https://anvio.org/learn/ to see the posts in each category.

Name the subfolder for your post using its short yet descriptive summary, and then create the file for your contribution within that directory. The filename should be index.md.

For example, this tutorial falls under the category of “Developer and contributor resources”, which means it should go into the docs/ folder. Here is how I generated the subfolder and file for this tutorial:

mkdir docs/anvio-org-tutorial/
touch docs/anvio-org-tutorial/index.md

Then, you can edit the index.md file to add your content, and commit your changes to your branch. For example:

git add docs/anvio-org-tutorial/index.md
git commit -m 'add my post to anvio.org'

Files that are within these resource-specific directories will be featured within the corresponding section on our ‘Learn’ page.

Step 5) Include the post in the YAML file for its resource type

All of the posts on the website are organized into different resource categories, each described by a YAML file in the directory _data/resources. For instance, here are the current files in that directory:

$ ls _data/resources/
blogs.yaml     docs.yaml      technical.yaml tutorials.yaml

These YAML files control what appears on the ‘Learn’ page of anvio.org. You therefore need to add an entry for your post into one of these YAML files. Hopefully it is pretty self-explanatory – tutorials should be added to tutorials.yaml, technical write-ups should go in tutorials.yaml and blog posts should go in blogs.yaml.

This tutorial falls under “Developer and contributor resources”, so I added it to docs.yaml. Here is the example entry in that file for this post:

- title: "How to add a post to anvio.org"
  type: tutorial
  url: /docs/anvio-org-tutorial/
  authors: [ivagljiva]
  summary: "You want to write a blog post or tutorial? We got you, fam."
  tags: [contributors, technical]

You should fill out these fields to the best of your ability, following the other examples within the YAML file that you are editing. Here is a bit of help for each field:

  • title: the title of your post, in quotation marks. Self-explanatory
  • type: likely either blog post or tutorial (not in quotes)
  • url: the location of the post on the anvio.org website, which will be appended to the base url https://anvio.org/. Each resource category should be located in its own subfolder; i.e., blog posts will have a URL starting with /blog/, tutorial URLs will start with /tutorials/, etc. After this subfolder, you should add your short description of the post content from step 4 (the same one that is in the blog post’s file name, or that is its subfolder name in the case of other resource types). Please note that you can also add links to external websites here; for instance, if you already posted on your own website and want to cross-post it on anvio.org (but in that case, you don’t need to make a file in the anvio.org repository)
  • authors: this should include the GitHub usernames of you and anyone else who helped write the post (comma-separated list within the square brackets)
  • summary: a short ‘teaser’ sentence or two that people will see on the insert for the post at https://anvio.org/learn/. Should be in quotes
  • tags: a list of key words describing your posts content, as a comma-separated list within the square brackets

Of these fields, the url is probably the most important because it will ensure the links from the ‘Learn’ page will direct to the correct location of your post. Follow the instructions carefully to make sure the information in the URL matches to the setup of your post file in Step 4.

This warning is only relevant for blog posts. If the date of publication for your post is in the future, you should perhaps wait to complete this step until that date (or, after you are finished writing, change the date to today so that it will be published immediately). Every post with an entry in the blogs.yaml file will be shown on the ‘Learn’ page of anvio.org, but if the blog post is dated in the future, the link to that post will be broken until that date. Perhaps it is not a big deal and you just want to add it so you don’t forget. That’s also fine. But just so you know, in that case you may be dealing with broken links for a bit :)

Step 6) Add front matter to the post

The markdown file of every post has to start with information describing the post, which is known as ‘front matter’. Here is the example for the current tutorial:

---
layout: page
authors: [ivagljiva]
title: "How to add a post to anvio.org"
excerpt: "You want to write a blog post or tutorial? We got you, fam."
date: 2023-10-20
tags: [contributors, technical]
comments: true
---

The front matter must go in between the --- lines. For our website, this stuff is usually pretty easy to fill in by copying and pasting from the entry you just added to the resources YAML file, with a few additions/exceptions:

  • layout: if you are writing a blog post, just write ‘blog’ here (no quotes). if you are writing any other type of contribution, write ‘page’ instead. this field indicates what layout will be used when the page is rendered, but we really only have one layout option on our website, and that is the blog layout
  • excerpt: equivalent to the summary field from the YAML file
  • date: the date you want the post to be published. For blog posts this should come from the file name of the blog post document. For other resource types, this date doesn’t affect rendering of the webpage
  • comments: true or false depending on whether you want people to be allowed to post comments at the bottom of the post’s webpage

Step 7) Write your post (and check your changes)

Now the easy part (lol). Write your post inside the file you created in Step 4, commit your changes, and don’t forget to git push once you are all done.

Rendering your post locally

While you are writing the post, you should regularly check how the webpage will be rendered by running a local copy of the website with this command:

bundle exec jekyll serve --incremental --trace

The --incremental flag ensures that the page will be re-rendered every time Jekyll detects a change in the file, so you can edit and see those changes immediately just by refreshing the webpage. The --trace flag makes sure you will see error tracebacks.

If you post is dated in the future, you will need to tell Jekyll to include it in the local site by including the --future flag (since future posts are not rendered by default):

bundle exec jekyll serve --incremental --trace --future

The Jekyll output should tell you the local URL of anvio.org. For instance, on my machine, it was http://127.0.0.1:4000. You can open that in a web browser and navigate through the website yourself to find your post, or you can append the url you specified earlier (in the YAML file) to the end of that URL and copy-paste that to your web browser to get to the post’s webpage directly. For instance, while writing this post, I viewed it at the local URL http://127.0.0.1:4000/docs/anvio-org-tutorial/.

In addition to checking that your post renders nicely, you should also make sure you can see it featured under the appropriate section on the Learn page. If the link to your post is broken, please make sure that the URLs in the YAML file match to the post’s file organization that you set up in Step 4. If you don’t see the post on that page at all, you should try deleting the existing local copy of the website and re-generating it from scratch, since sometimes Jekyll doesn’t pick up on changes to our resource files.

rm -rf _site/; bundle exec jekyll serve --incremental --trace --future

Every file under the _posts directory, even if it is not a blog post, should appear on our ‘Community Blog’ page (locally rendered at http://127.0.0.1:4000/blog/). In contrast, the ‘Learn’ page (locally rendered at http://127.0.0.1:4000/learn/) can include links to external URLs and organizes the posts by section according to which YAML file they were described in.

Adding images

If your post includes images, you should add those files under the images/ folder of the anvio.org repository. Our convention is to create a folder for images specific to that post within that directory, as in images/anvio-org-tutorial/, and add all associated image files there. Then, see this web tip for instructions on how to include the image(s) within the markdown file for your post. Don’t forget to commit your images to the repository, and ensure that they render properly.

Step 8) Make a PR

Once you are done with your post, you should create a Pull Request (PR) on GitHub. After we review the PR and merge it into the main branch of the anvio.org repository, your content will appear on anvio.org shortly after its publication date. To see an example of a PR for a new post, check out the PR for this tutorial.