Fusion TOC Plugin

Basic Infomation


This plugin was built specificly to support fusion TOC feature for Azure.


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We model fusion TOC with 3 seperated TOC files:

  • ConceptualTOC: the TOC of the conceptual topics
  • TopLevelTOC: the high level structure of the "Reference" TOC, often maitained manually
  • ReferenceTOC: auto-generated reference TOC, normally exists as a forest of small TOC trees. For example for .Net or Java, each small TOC tree is a namespace.

How it works

The plugin works in 3 phases:

  1. Joining TOCs - join the TopLevelTOC with ReferenceTOC to produce one big TOC for reference content.

    The plugin will do a DFS (depth-first-search) in TopLevelTOC, for each TOC node:

    • if it has has children metadata:
      • Use it as a list of wildcard name pattern, to find match in ReferenceTOC root nodes
      • Matched subtrees will be inserted into this node’s items property, and children will be deleted
    • if it has both an uid, and href/topicHref that points to .md file:
      • Insert this uid to the .md file’s yaml header
      • Delete href/topicHref, use only uid to refer to this topic

    In the end: if there’re remaining nodes in ReferenceTOC, they will be added to the end. One big joint TOC is now formed, and it will overwrite ReferenceTOC file on the disk.

  2. Generating Landing Pages

    2nd round of DFS will traverse in this one big joint TOC:

    • Cut off any empty nodes if HideEmptyNode=true is defined in configuration
    • If a node has landingPageType and uid, and its items is not empty:
      • Generate a yml file for it, with type=container
      • Yml MIME can be set in config (optional, ManagedReferece by default)
  3. Metadata Setting - As described in the spec, this plugin will help set below metadata:

    • if both ReferenceTOCUrl and ConceptualTOC exist in configuration, the value of ReferenceTOCUrl will be set as universal_ref_toc metadata in ConceptualTOC file
    • if both ConceptualTOCUrl and ReferenceTOC exist in configuration, the value of ConceptualTOCUrl will be set as universal_conceptual_toc metadata in ReferenceTOC file

TopLevelTOC Examples

TopLevelTOC is essentially a toc.yml file with a few enhancements for fusionTOC. These enhancements can sometimes be confusing, so here's a few examples for some typical cases that cannot be done in normal TOC.yml:

  1. Auto-generated service page node

    This is the most common case for Azure fusion TOC. In below image, all three nodes, "Batch", "Management" and "Client", are auto-generated pages. They have a landingPageType metadata, so the plugin knows that they need their pages generated.

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    For "Management" and "Client", the plugin will replace their children property with matched items, and then generate page. For "Batch", its page will show two chilren: "Management" and "Client".

  2. Service page that points to conceptual topic

    In this case, the page already exists as conceptual .md file, it does not need auto-generation, so landingPageType should not appear. However a service page still need to be included in its parent's (Reference node) page, so it still needs an uid. This uid will be inserted to the .md file's Yaml header, as described in How it works phase 1.

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Repo Configuration

Please refer to repo configuration in Azure .Net repo as an full example of how to enable this plugin. Some key points are described below:

  1. Import the nuget package:

     "dependent_packages": [
         "id": "Microsoft.OpenPublishing.CommonPlugins",
         "nuget_feed": "https://www.myget.org/F/op/api/v2",
         "path_to_root": "_dependentPackages/CommonPlugins",
         "target_framework": "net45",
         "version": "latest"
  2. Configure the entry point:

     "customized_tasks": {
       "docset_prebuild": [
  3. Setup plugin configuration (all the path and url below are only FYI, they should be different in every repo):

     "JoinTOCPlugin": [
         "TopLevelTOC": "docs-ref-toc/top_level_toc.yml",
         "ReferenceTOC": "api/toc.yml",
         "ConceptualTOC": "docs-ref-conceptual/toc.yml",
         "ReferenceTOCUrl": "/dotnet/api/azure_ref_toc/toc.json",
         "ConceptualTOCUrl": "/dotnet/azure/toc.json",
         "HideEmptyNode": true,
         "OutputFolder": "api/overview/azure",
         "ContainerPageMetadata": {
           "langs": [
    • OutputFolder: If set, landing pages will be saved to this folder. If not set, the folder of ReferenceTOC will be used.
    • ContainerPageMetadata: metadata from here will be carried over to generated landing pages.
  4. [Optional] Since a lot of modifications to the content (like landing pages, conceptual pages and TOC metadata setting, etc) happen at build time, there's no trace of it in the change list, so to support incremental build, please use DiffFolder plugin to track those build time changes.