[petsc-dev] Still unable to provide link from manual page into users manual after Sphinx

Barry Smith bsmith at petsc.dev
Sun Aug 21 14:56:40 CDT 2022

  To me, one of the best arguments to move to Sphinx was so that manual pages could have links directly into locations in the Users manual. Not possible in practice with a .pdf users manual.

  With the manual in .rst and manual pages generated into .md this still appear to be impossible.
    1) when Sphinx is processing .md pages it appears to not know about labels defined in .rst files so  [matrix layout](sec_mat_something) doesn't work
    2) Raw, cruder things like [matrix layout](../../manual/mat.html#matrix-and-vector-layouts-and-storage-locations) don't work because it doesn't realize what is inside is a raw URL. I am guessing it needs the http:// at the beginning to realize it is a HTPP url and not a markdown thing.
    3) [matrix layout](https://petsc.org/main/docs/manual/mat/#matrix-and-vector-layouts-and-storage-locations) works 
but hardwiring it this way is horrible. Could be release, could be (would be most of the time) a strange URL when running inside the CI. Is there a way to start with https::// but be a relative link?
figuring the anchor that Sphinx creates from a label (#matrix-and-vector-layouts-and-storage-locations) is super cumbersome.  

  Is the only good solution to somehow generate .rst files with sowing? How come that wasn't done initially and instead .md files were generated? It seems insanely bad to have this mixture of .md and .rst for a website.

  This is frustrating, to be sold on a technology  (Sphinx) for a particular goal when that technology cannot even satisfy that goal. (Yes the web pages look much nicer, but aside from the search, the functionality of the website is no better than before!).


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