Differences between revisions 35 and 36
Revision 35 as of 2015-01-09 11:06:39
Size: 5166
Comment: updated link to what used to be Gouda, now is Rippledoc
Revision 36 as of 2015-01-10 12:37:34
Size: 5125
Comment: internal link to reStructuredText
Deletions are marked like this. Additions are marked like this.
Line 14: Line 14:
[[http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html|reStructuredText]] (reST, the markup used for writing the official Python documentation) or [[reStructuredText]] (reST, the markup used for writing the official Python documentation) or

This page is primarily about tools that help, specifically, in generating documentation for software written in Python, i.e., tools that can use language-specific features to automate at least a part of the code documentation work for you. The last section also lists general documentation tools with no specific support for Python (though some of them are themselves written in Python).

Tools that support auto-documentation of code can be broadly classified into tools that:

  • import the code to generate documentation based on runtime introspection
  • parse and analyze the code statically (without running it)

See here for a longer explanation of the two concepts.

Tools that generate documentation from user-provided input typically use plain text markup formats such as reStructuredText (reST, the markup used for writing the official Python documentation) or Markdown.

Python docstrings

Python modules are usually documented using docstrings. You can read a module's docstrings from the Python interactive prompt with the help() function. For example:

import distutils

The help() function uses Python's standard pydoc module, as does the pydoc command that comes with Python.

Automatic Python API documentation generation tools

  • autosummary, an extension for the Sphinx documentation tool: http://sphinx.pocoo.org/ext/autosummary.html

  • autodoc, a Sphinx-based processor that processes/allows reST doc strings,

  • pdoc, a simple command line tool and library to auto generate API documentation for Python modules. Designed to replace epydoc and works on both Python 2 and 3. Includes support for cross-linking across modules, documentation for variables and namedtuples, and a built-in HTTP server to view documentation of local packages.

  • PyDoc, http://pydoc.org/ documentation browser (in HTML) and/or an off-line reference manual. Also in the standard library as pydoc

  • pydoctor, https://launchpad.net/pydoctor replacement for now inactive Epydoc, pydoctor was born for the needs of Twisted project

  • Doxygen < http://www.doxygen.org > can create documentation in various formats (HTML, LaTeX, PDF, ...) and you can include formulas in your documentation (great for technical/mathematical software). Together with Graphviz < http://www.research.att.com/sw/tools/graphviz/ > it can create diagrams of your code (inhertance diagram, call graph, ...). Another benefit is that it handles not only Python, but also several other programming languages like C, C++, Java, etc.

No longer under development

Documentation processing tools

Other projects that can be used to produce API documentation

  • XIST - an XML based extensible HTML generator written in Python.

  • HtmlGen - a Python library for generating HTML documents.

Other documentation processing tools

  • Pandoc -- written in Haskell, this tool can read and write a number of formats (including reST).

  • Rippledoc (formerly known as Gouda) -- a command-line tool written in Clojure (using Pandoc under the hood) to generate multi-chapter html documents from Markdown text files.


DocumentationTools (last edited 2023-02-04 13:42:35 by GilOliveira)

Unable to edit the page? See the FrontPage for instructions.