documenting a TLB file

Subject: documenting a TLB file
From: "Colleen Strahs" <colleen -dot- strahs -at- divine -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 17:58:03 -0400


Hello Tech Writers:

I am about to begin documenting a type library. It's a TLB file that our
programmers have generated, to be used to create custom ActiveX objects
that work with our product. Customers may write their ActiveX objects in
Visual Basic or Delphi.

I'm an experienced API tech writer but I have dealt exclusively with
Java until now. I would like to create an online reference for the API
contained in the file, similar to Javadoc output. My understanding from
my developers is that the TLB file is created automatically. I don't
have access to a source file, like I do with our Java APIs. And there is
apparently no way to embed code comments (ala Javadoc) into the TLB
file, which is binary. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

An online search located one tool (Document! X:
http://www.vbhtmlhelp.co.uk/products/documentx.asp) that seems to do
pretty much what I want. But alas, we have literally no money to buy
tools right now. I do have a copy of doxygen, but I'm not sure if it
will do what I want. If I don't have specific source files that I can
enter comments in, should I just write up my documentation in a text
file and process it through doxygen?

What about facilitating context-sensitive help from within the IDE? Does
anyone do that? How? (such that when you select a method and hit F1, you
get help about the method)

Am I missing something big here? Note that this API is fairly small.
Doing the API reference by hand won't kill me, but I was trying to find
a way to neatly generate some kind of standard output, automate the
cross-references, facilitate maintenance, etc.

Thanks!
--Colleen Strahs

(PS-- I'm on digest; please CC: me on your reply)



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