markdownlint documentation tests

markdownlint checks that Markdown syntax follows certain rules, and is used by the docs-lint test.

Our Documentation Style Guide and Markdown Guide elaborate on which choices must be made when selecting Markdown syntax for GitLab documentation. This tool helps catch deviations from those guidelines.

markdownlint configuration is found in the following projects:

This configuration is also used in build pipelines.

You can use markdownlint:

Install markdownlint

You can install either markdownlint-cli or markdownlint-cli2 to run markdownlint.

To install markdownlint-cli, run:

yarn global add markdownlint-cli

To install markdownlint-cli2, run:

yarn global add markdownlint-cli2

You should install the version of markdownlint-cli or markdownlint-cli2 used (see variables: section) when building the image:docs-lint-markdown.

Configure markdownlint in your editor

Using markdownlint in your editor is more convenient than having to run the commands from the command line.

To configure markdownlint in your editor, install one of the following as appropriate:

  • Visual Studio Code DavidAnson.vscode-markdownlint extension.
  • Sublime Text SublimeLinter-contrib-markdownlint package. This package uses markdownlint-cli by default, but can be configured to use markdownlint-cli2 with this SublimeLinter configuration:

    "markdownlint": {
      "executable": [ "markdownlint-cli2" ]
  • Vim ALE plugin.
  • Emacs Flycheck extension. Flycheck supports markdownlint-cli out of the box, but you must add a .dir-locals.el file to point it to the .markdownlint.yml at the base of the project directory:

    ;; Place this code in a file called `.dir-locals.el` at the root of the gitlab project.
    ((markdown-mode . ((flycheck-markdown-markdownlint-cli-config . ".markdownlint.yml"))))

Run markdownlint-cli2 locally

You can run markdownlint-cli2 from anywhere in your repository. From the root of your repository, you don’t need to specify the location of the configuration file. If you run it from elsewhere in your repository, you must specify the configuration file’s location. In these commands, replace doc/**/*.md with the path to the Markdown files in your repository:

# From the root directory, you don't need to specify the configuration file
$ markdownlint-cli2 'doc/**/*.md'

# From elsewhere in the repository, specify the configuration file
$ markdownlint-cli2 --config .markdownlint-cli2.yaml 'doc/**/*.md'

For a full list of command-line options, see Command Line in the markdownlint-cli2 documentation.

Disable markdownlint tests

To disable all markdownlint rules, add a <!-- markdownlint-disable --> tag before the text, and a <!-- markdownlint-enable --> tag after the text.

To disable only a specific rule, add the rule number to the tag, for example <!-- markdownlint-disable MD044 --> and <!-- markdownlint-enable MD044 -->.

Whenever possible, exclude only the problematic lines.


Markdown rule MD044/proper-names (capitalization)

A rule that can cause confusion is MD044/proper-names. The failure, or how to correct it, might not be immediately clear. This rule checks a list of known words, listed in the .markdownlint.yml file in each project, to verify proper use of capitalization and backticks. Words in backticks are ignored by markdownlint.

In general, product names should follow the exact capitalization of the official names of the products, protocols, and so on.

Some examples fail if incorrect capitalization is used:

  • MinIO (needs capital IO)
  • NGINX (needs all capitals)
  • runit (needs lowercase r)

Additionally, commands, parameters, values, filenames, and so on must be included in backticks. For example:

  • “Change the needs keyword in your .gitlab-ci.yml…”
    • needs is a parameter, and .gitlab-ci.yml is a file, so both need backticks. Additionally, .gitlab-ci.yml without backticks fails markdownlint because it does not have capital G or L.
  • “Run git clone to clone a Git repository…”
    • git clone is a command, so it must be lowercase, while Git is the product, so it must have a capital G.