Creating a docs site with Bulma Clean Theme

Published: May 8, 2020 by C.S. Rhymes

I created Bulma Clean Theme as a theme for my own website and decided to open source it so others could use it as well. One of the key things I wanted to do was to create a theme that worked with GitHub Pages, which also means that you can also use it as a docs site for your project.

GitHub Pages Configuration

GitHub pages allows you to create a website for your project with free hosting. Go to your repo on GitHub, then click Settings, then scroll down to the GitHub Pages section. You have the option to create a site from the root of your master branch of from the /docs directory in your master branch. For this example, we are going to use the /docs directory.

Don’t change this setting just yet as if you don’t have a docs directory there will be nothing there to publish.

Creating the docs directory

Clone your git repo to a local directory, let’s say ~/code/my-project for this example. The below assumes you don’t yet have a docs directory and you have jekyll installed. If you do already have a docs directory you will have to rename it to something else.

Create a new jekyll installation in the docs directory, ensuring you replace your username and project name in the below example.

git clone ~/code/my-project
cd ~/code/my-project
jekyll new docs

You should now have a base install of Jekyll in your freshly created docs directory.

Configuring the theme

  1. Replace everything in the Gemfile with the following
    source ''
    gem "bulma-clean-theme",  '0.7.2'
    gem 'github-pages', group: :jekyll_plugins
  2. Open the _config.yml and comment out or delete the line theme: minima and replace it with remote_theme: chrisrhymes/bulma-clean-theme, then add github-pages to the list of plugins. Update the baseurl to your GitHub repo name, in this example we are using my-project as the repo name
    #theme: minima
    remote_theme: chrisrhymes/bulma-clean-theme
    baseurl: "/my-project"
    - github-pages
  3. Open the file and update the front matter so the layout is page and then add a title
    layout: page
    title: Docs for My Project
  4. Run bundle install and then bundle exec jekyll serve

  5. Visit http://localhost:4000/my-project/ to view your new docs page.

To create a menu on the left on your docs page you need to create a new yaml file in _data directory, such as menu.yaml and then use the below format, where the label will be the menu title and the items are the menu items. Each menu item can have a list of sub menu items if needed.

- label: Example Menu
    - name: Menu item
      link: /link/
        - name: Sub menu item 
          link: /sub-menu-item/

Table of contents

If you would like auto generated table of contents for your docs page then add toc: true to the page’s front matter. The table of contents works for markdown pages and loops through the heading 2s and heading 3s in the markdown and then auto generates the contents.

GitHub Sponsors

If you want to link to your GitHub sponsors profile then add gh_sponsor with your username to the _config.yml file.

gh_sponsor: chrisrhymes

Making the docs page live

Once you have finished creating your docs page you can commit your changes and push everything up to GitHub. Go back to the GitHub settings page and scroll back down to the GitHub Pages section. Now we can update the setting to use the Master branch /docs folder and then GitHub will build your new docs page.

Want to see an example?

I recently updated one of my own packages to use Bulma Clean Theme to power the docs page. Check out the docs for Bulma Block List as an example.

bulma-clean-theme jekyll docs


Key Dates

  • Paper & Demo Submissions: January 15, 2021 AoE
  • Acceptance Notifications: February 15, 2021
  • Camera-Ready Submissions: March 12, 2021
  • Workshop Date: April 13, 2021