RE: Source code documentation systems?

Subject: RE: Source code documentation systems?
From: "Geoff Lane" <geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 14:22:08 -0000

Geoff Hart wrote:
> Michael Collier reports <<... systems, marketed to developers, which
> typically claim to find objects and comments in source
> code (Java, C, C++), create some kind of documentation based
> on these and
> output to RTF, HTML, HTML help. >>
> Never worked with such a system, but it seems to me to be a
> classic example
> of the garbage in, garbage out rule: if the developers insert
> well-written,
> consistent, helpful comments, you'll get something you can at
> least build
> on. Anyone want to bet on whether that's reliably going to be
> the case? If
> nothing else, I imagine that such tools would be a great way
> for building
> functional specifications on the fly, and if you work for a
> company where
> such docs are never created, it might be worth your while to
> invest in one,
> purely in self defence.

In Feb 1999, I needed to document an API and sought a commercial tool for
this. Although I received some recommendations, the suggested applications
were not up to the task. Here's an extract from my summary of 12 Feb 1999:
Thanks to Geoff Hart, who suggested that the developer was the best tool for
the job<g>. To some extent, I've implemented his suggestion<bg>.

During my search, I discovered the following:
DocJet ( (C, C++, VB)
API2Help (Microsoft Visual Studio add-in) (C++)
AutoDuck (Microsoft) (VB)
DocumentVB ( (VB)
JavaDoc ( (Java)

Hopefully these will suit your needs better than mine<g>. For my solution, I
wrote a (project-specific) Word application that scanned the source files to
extract specific comments. This still produces the in-house API
documentation and (thanks to a development manager who understands the need
for good docs) requires little rework for an external audience.


Geoff Lane
Cornwall, UK
geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk

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