Timescale documentation is hosted in a GitHub repository and is open for contribution from all community members. If you find errors or would like to add content to our docs, you can create a pull request using GitHub for review by our documentation team. This document contains everything you need to know about our writing style and standards, but don't worry too much if you aren't sure what to write. Our documentation team helps you craft the perfect words when you have a PR ready. We also have some automation on our repository to help you.
If you want to make minor changes to docs, such as fixing a typo, you can make corrections and submit pull requests on the GitHub website. Go to the file you want to correct and click the 'pencil' icon to edit. Make the corrections, and use the options at the bottom of the page to submit a pull request.
To make larger changes to the documentation, follow the instructions in our Contributors' Guide.
For technical details about the repository, including understanding how the repository is organized, and the various markup and formatting conventions, see the README.
Before we accept any contributions, Timescale contributors need to sign the Contributor License Agreement (CLA). By signing a CLA, we can ensure that the community is free and confident in its ability to use your contributions. You are prompted to sign the CLA during the pull request process.
When making style decisions, consult resources in this order:
- This guide: always check this guide first, it contains project-specific guidance, and in some cases differs from the other resources listed here.
- The Google Developer Documentation Style Guide: for most general style guidance, we rely on the style defined here.
- The Chicago Manual of Style: we use this guide for some formatting decisions that are not covered in other resources
- Merriam-Webster: Timescale documentation is written in US English, for spelling and definitions, consult the dictionary.
We use standard US English, with an emphasis on plain (or classical) language, in simple present tense, using the second person singular ("you"). We prefer the active voice, but do not be afraid to use the passive voice if it serves a purpose. Always choose the simplest and clearest language, regardless of whether it's passive or active voice.
For example, here are three ways of writing one sentence:
- Natural English: In order to perform X installation process, please ensure that all of the following steps are done ...
- Tech writer's English: To perform the X installation process, verify you have done the subsequent steps ...
- Plain English: To install X, do these steps ...
Remember that the order of words is important in English. Put the most important part of a sentence first, this is usually the actor or the action. Use the second part of the sentence to give it a focus: what else should the reader notice?
Readers are often in an agitated state by the time they get to our documentation. Stressed readers jump around in the text, skip words, steps, or paragraphs, and can quickly give up if things seem too complex. To mitigate this, use short sentences, plain language, and a minimum number of eye-catching details such as admonitions.
Never assume that because you've explained something earlier in a document, readers know it later in the document. You can use cross-references to help guide readers to further information if they need it.
Grammar rules are tacit evolving conventions. They have no implicit value by themselves, they only gain value because everyone is doing it.
There are no hard and fast rules about dangling participles, split infinitives, or ending sentences with prepositions. Obeying these rules can often make language clearer but, in some cases, they make language more complicated. In that case, feel free to ignore them.
All headings should be written in sentence case: capitalize only the first word in the heading, and proper nouns.
For top-level page headings, and most section headings, use the simplest noun phrase possible. For example, instead of "Using hypertables", call the page "Hypertables".
For level two sections that contain one or more procedures, use a simple verb phrase. For example, "Install Timescale". For the associated procedures, use a level three heading, with the gerund form of the same heading. For example, "Installing Timescale".
You can use bulleted or numbered lists to present information. If you are unsure whether to use bullets or numbers, apply the test, "is the order important?" If the order is important, use numbers. If the list items can be read in any order, use bullets.
Always start each list item with a capital letter. If the list items are short, incomplete sentences, do not end each item with punctuation. However, if any of the list items are a longer phrase with more than one full sentence, finish all list items with a period.
1. Use numbers1. If the order of the steps1. Is important* Otherwise* Use* Bullets
We use processes and procedures to provide readers with numbered steps to achieve a specific goal.
Processes contain procedures. If the task you are describing is very lengthy, or has a series of distinct components, break it up into a series of procedures within a process.
Procedures contain these elements:
- Level two section title in simple verb form
- Short introduction
- Level three procedure title in gerund verb form
- Numbered steps
## Install TimescaleThis section describes how to install Timescale on premise.<Procedure>### Installing Timescale1. Start each step with a verb, or a location.1. For example, "Run the `example` command", or "At the command prompt, open the`example` file."<Add screenshot here></Procedure>
In general, do not use result statements. However, if you feel it is absolutely necessary, include it immediately before the closing procedure tag, and do not put it as a step.
Offset code blocks from the surrounding text by using three backticks and
declaring the language in use in the block. Usually, this is either
bash, for commands given at the command prompt. For a full list of
available languages see the prismjs site.
Make sure that the code block is indented at the same level as the surrounding text.
When writing commands in a code block, do not use
$, or any other prompt.
Additionally, for Linux commands, do not use
sudo, instead, use the stem
sentence to indicate that the command must be run as the root user.
For example, a bash command:
At the command prompt, as root, use this command:```bashapt install postgresql```
For example, an SQL query:
At the `psql` prompt, use this query:```sqlSELECT * FROM table LIMIT 5;```
Clicka button in a graphical user interface using a mouse. Do not
Pressa key or key combination on a keyboard.
Typewords or numbers using a keyboard.
deselectan item in a menu.
Navigateto a page or location in a graphical user interface.
Above : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.
Adverbs : Do not use.
❌ Simply install Timescale.
👍 Install Timescale.
AWS : Amazon Web Services. No need to expand this acronym.
And/Or : Do not use. You can usually pick one. If you're not sure, pick "and."
❌ I like apples and/or oranges.
👍 I like apples and oranges.
Appears : Do not use.
Bare metal : Noun.
❌ "Perform a bare metal installation."
👍 "Install Timescale on bare metal."
Bare-metal : Adjective.
❌ "Install Timescale on bare-metal."
👍 "Perform a bare-metal installation."
Backend : One word.
Below : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.
Contractions : Absolutely fine to use, but try not to overdo it.
Cybersecurity : One word.
Dataset : One word.
❌ "Ingest the example data set."
👍 "Ingest the example dataset."
Fail over : Use as a verb
Failover : Use as a noun or adjective.
File system : Two words.
Frontend : One word.
GCP : Google Cloud Platform. No need to expand this acronym.
Hypershift : One word, always capitalized. Check the spelling of this word carefully before publishing.
Latin abbreviations : Do not use.
👍 For example
👍 That is,
Log in : Verb.
❌ "Enter your log in information."
👍 "Log in to Timescale."
Login : Adjective or noun.
❌ "Login to Timescale."
👍 "Enter your login information."
Managed Service for TimescaleDB : The name of the product. Always capitalize the initial letters. Do not abbreviate.
❌ "I am using Managed Service for Timescale to manage my time-series data."
❌ "I am using Managed Service to manage my time-series data."
👍 "I am using Managed Service for TimescaleDB to manage my time-series data."
Master/Slave : Do not use. Use "Primary" and "Secondary" instead.
MST : Do not use. Use "Managed Service for TimescaleDB" instead.
Next : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.
Once : Do not use. Use "when" instead.
❌ "Once you have finished the installation, you can..."
👍 "When you have finished the installation, you can."
Postgres : Do not use. Use "PostgreSQL" instead.
❌ "Run the Postgres query"
👍 "Run the PostgreSQL query."
PostgreSQL : Always refer to PostgreSQL by its full name and with correct capitalization, as shown.
Previous : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.
Simply : Don't use.
❌ Simply install Timescale.
👍 Install Timescale.
Superuser : One word.
Thus : Do not use.
Timescale : The name of the company, and the name of the product in a general sense. Do not use camel case.
👍 Timescale is hosting a virtual event.
👍 I have installed Timescale to manage my time-series data.
Timescale : The name of the product. Always capitalize the initial letters.
❌ "I am using timescale to manage my time-series data."
❌ "I am using Timescale Cloud to manage my time-series data."
👍 "I am using Timescale to manage my time-series data."
TimescaleDB : The name of the PostgreSQL extension. Always capitalize the initial letter and the DB at the end if using in prose. If referring directly to the name of the extension, use all lowercase.
❌ "I installed timescaleDB to manage my time-series data."
👍 "I installed the
timescaledb extension to manage my time-series data."
👍 "I installed TimescaleDB to manage my time-series data."
tobs : The observability suite. Do not use capitalization, even when it begins a sentence. If possible, rewrite the sentence to avoid this.
❌ "Tobs can be used to install."
👍 "Install using tobs"
TSDB : Do not use. Use "Timescale database" instead.
Update : An update is a small or minor improvement, often delivered in a patch. Updates are done frequently, and require little or no downtime.
👍 Install the security update to patch this version.
Upgrade : An upgrade is a large or major improvement, and usually requires a new version. Upgrades are done less frequently, and could require planning, prepatory backups, and planned downtime.
👍 Upgrade from TimescaleDB 1 to TimescaleDB 2.
👍 Upgrade from TimescaleDB 2.3 to TimescaleDB 2.4.
Utilize : Do not use. Use "use" instead.
Vanilla PostgreSQL : Do not use. If you want to differentiate between regular PostgreSQL tables, and tables that contain time-series, use "standard PostgreSQL".
❌ "You can also create services that run vanilla PostgreSQL."
👍 "You can also create services that run standard PostgreSQL."
Via : Do not use. There is usually a more accurate English word, like "through," "with," or "using."
Will : Do not use. It usually indicates that you are writing in future tense. Always write in simple present tense.
❌ After installation, you will see a message.
👍 After installation, you see a message.
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