Re: Software that retrieves developer comments from code

Subject: Re: Software that retrieves developer comments from code
From: Sandy Harris <pashley -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 15:32:47 -0500


Cara O Sullivan wrote:

> Is there a software package out there that can retrieve developer comments
> from code and does it easily and cleanly? Our developers provide in-house
> customizions of Peoplesoft (previously known as Vantive) and IFS vendor
> software.
>
> (Checked the archives and couldn't find anything on this topic.)

There are a lot of papers and some tools around for "literate
programming".
A web search on that phrase should turn up far more than you need. e.g.
http://www.literateprogramming.com/

The phrase was originally the title of an essay of Knuth's.
http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/lp.html
He had tools to build both docs and compilable modules from a common
source
file. I think his were for Pascal and TeX. There have been several
variants
produced since.

There's a current project to document the Linux kernel in this way. They
have tools that extract specially formatted comments plus some critical
data like function declarations, and format the result using the DocBook
(www.docbook.org) DTD. I'm not sure if they currently use SGML or XML.
Anyway, from there standard Linux tools (see www.linuxdoc.org) will get
you to HTML, PDF, ...

For a quick and dirty solution, just adopt some easily searched comment
convention. For example, in C, use:

/*
* This is a comment I want extracted
* It can be spread over as many lines as I like
*/

Then you can extract these with something like:

grep '^.\*' *.h *.c

This finds all lines with '*' in the second position.
(^ is start-of-line, '.' is any character)

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References:
Software that retrieves developer comments from code: From: Cara O Sullivan

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