Javascript Documentation

 15 Feb 2016

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Recently I started a (low-key) open source project to take javascript projects and build documentation homepages out of them.

This started due to me not being happy with the current solutions. I’m using groc for Core the Loot Hound and RDoc for By Fire Be Purged and both provide very different things.

Groc was based on Docco and I think the idea is excellent. Browse your code with the comments side by side. I really like this idea and wanted to include this style of documentation in my project.

RDoc on the other hand is much more like Javadoc and provides API docs for programming libraries. It’s not easy or intuitive how to theme the resulting site, or add static guide pages to the site. These tools also only really work for the languages they were meant for.

I also looked at static site generators that are just meant to take markdown files and turn them into sites. Great for writing guides, (like github’s README.md file) but not good for a programming referrence or code learning tool.

My plan is to combine all three. I want to provide a tool that in the beginning does simple things:

  1. Displays the README.md and other md files as guides.
  2. Provides code browsing for the full project with comments side by side allowing you to learn about the code.
  3. Provide easy way to link from guides to code, and from code to guides.

After this initial version I would like to add the ability to do slight language parsing (with plugins for different languages) so we can add API style documentation to this site that we’re generating. At this point this plugin becomes more like Maven Site than anything else!

This is just a tiny pet project. I want to become better at writing parsers in general, and while this is nothing compared to anything real it gives me some tiny experience that I can apply. It also is something I would like to use on tools as soon as I get it to a point that it can give Groc a run for it’s money.