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TEv1: Terminology & Glossary plugin

This document describes the workings of the custom Docusaurus 2 plugin, that has been developed by GRNET and that we call Terminolovy Engine v1 (or TEv1). TEv1 has been developed for the purpose of enhancing this website contents, by enabling terms to be (a) highlighted, (b) featuring a popup (tooltip) that shows their definitions when the user hovers over the term, and (c) navigating to the page that defines the term when the user clicks on the term.

The reader of this document is assumed to have a basic understanding/experience with Git and Docusaurus 2.

How it works

TEv1 parses docs in two ways:

  1. TEv1 parses all *.md and *.mdx files under /docs/ and /docs/terms/. It replaces specific syntax-patterns with a dynamical element, i.e. a React component supporting a tooltip functionality (see below).
  2. TEv1 also generates a glossary with all terms corresponding to the *.md files under /docs/terms/.

Replacing syntax-patterns with dynamical elements

When writing a doc, you may want to use a term or phrase that refers to a concept as described in /docs/terms/. Here's the syntax:

%%term text|term-name%%


  • term text: The term or phrase you want to be visible in the documentation page. It may consist of any character except | (AND perhaps some other that the author of this documentation wasn't aware of).
  • term-name: The filename of the term file, which resides under /docs/terms/ directory. Example: %%actions|action%% will highlight actions for the reader, and refer it to the page /docs/terms/

This syntax can be used in *.mdx and *.md files that reside in the /docs/ or the /docs/terms/ directory.

To replace these syntax patterns with dynamical React components, you must run a script (as explained below). This will render term text as a link to the corresponding term page, which is in turn generated from the term-name attribute; furthermore, hovering over term text displays a term summary, as extracted from the corresponding term page.


This syntax ONLY works in the body of a file. It doesn't work in the header/front matter. You can use a modified syntax in the glossaryText field of the header/front matter, which consists of replacing the |-character with the ^-character. the example would then look like %%term text^term-name%%.

Example usage

Say you want to reference a term that exists under the /docs/terms/ directory, e.g. /docs/terms/ You can use the following syntax to reference this term in your documentation page:

Some content that wants to make a statement about %%parties|party%% or other terms.

When the script runs, this will be replaced as follows:

Some content that wants to make a statement about <Term reference="party" popup="Popup text">parties</Term> or other terms.

which supports the functionality explained above.

How to correctly write a term file

This plugin assumes that you follow the structure, as explained below:

Each term should have its own .md file, inside the ./docs/terms directory, and it needs to consist of the following structure:

id: term
title: Title of the term page
type: concept
typeid: term
stage: draft
hoverText: "This hover text will appear in the documentation page that you reference this term."
glossaryText: "This text appears as the %%glossary^glossary%% entry of the term."
date: 20210601

### Short Description

content here


  • id (required) specifies the term that is used to refer to this document. It MUST NOT contain spaces. If you would need whitespace, use a single - instead. It MUST be identical to the filename (without the extension).
  • title (required) typically is the same as id, but it would typically start with an UPPERCASE character, and it may contain spaces.
  • typeid (required) is an element of the set {concept,pattern,term}, depending on the class of which the id is an instance. This field is used to determine what goes in the glossary, and may be used for other things in future. For every typeid there is a template file.
  • stage (optional) is reserved for future use, when terms will be managed with a lifecycle. Then, this field will state the phase in the lifecycle that the document is in.
  • hoverText (required) is a string that will show as a popup when the term is highlighted and a user hoves over it with the mouse. The hoverText attribute MUST NOT contain %%-syntax.
  • glossaryText (optional) is a string that is put in the glossary as the description of the term. If %%-syntax is used in a glossaryText string, the | character must be replaced with the ^-character. Example: %%actors|actor%% is NOT allowed in the glossaryText. It should be %%actors^actor%%.
  • additional fields that you MAY use are specified as Docusaurus markdown front matter.

Running the script

When you are finished referencing terms and have written corresponding term-pages,you can test this locally by running the following command:

$ yarn parse
yarn run v1.22.5
docusaurus parse
Replacing patterns with <Term />
Done in 1.41s.

This will replace all %%term text|term-name%% occurrences with the React component supporting the required functionality.

Here's an example where the terms have been replaced. When the project is up and running, you can visit the test example on the /docs/replacement-test page:


Generate the glossary page

If everything works well with the above procedure, you can then generate a glossary page, by running the following command:

$ yarn glossary
yarn run v1.22.5
docusaurus glossary
Alphabetical list of terms
Done in 1.53s.

This will generate a file in ./docs/ where every term that has been mentioned above, will be populated in the page.

When the project is up and running, you can visit the glossary on the /docs/essifLab-glossary page.