In the past days I have worked on auto generated code documentations for some of my projects. Luckily, all of these project types are written in C#, therefore I needed to find only one proper tool that would fit all my projects. So it was time to find an up-to-date framework to help me out.

Here is a shortcut to the result of my Sin.Net API Documentation.

But first things first: It is typical for C# to write XML comments above your classes, members and properties like seen below. Visual Studio generates them by typing ///.

/// <summary>
/// The method description goes here.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="bar">The input parameter.</param>
/// <returns>Just returns bar.</returns>
public int Foo(int bar)
{
    return bar;
}

These comments can now be used to generate an API documentation with different tools. I know some of them, but I wanted to give DocFX a chance. It generates a static website with a low complexity and allows to add additional pages and apply different themes. DocFX is also maintained by Microsoft and having everything out of one box seems to be a good idea so far.

Getting started was quite easy:

  1. I added a .NET Standard project have removed the existing C# file.
  2. Then I added the NuGet package docfx.console to this project. Thereby you don’t affect the rest of your solution with this dependency. You can read more about the package here.
  3. I created the source files by running the docfx init -q command in the packet manger console.
  4. In the next step, I moved all generated files into the empty docu-project. I recommend to disable the build processes for Debug and Release mode for this docu-project.
  5. Lastly, I adjusted the docfx.json to my needs and here we are.
  • You can find the docfx source files also in the Sin.Net repository.
  • The output gets created below the root folder under /docs so that GitHub serves it automatically as a GitHub Page.

So now I only need to find the time to fill the empty holes in my docu, to apply a nice theme and to provide some useful static pages.

Conclusion

I strongly recommend that you as a programmer keep your code documentation up-to-date wheather you serve it to the outer world or not. Try it at least .

The reason should be obvoius, but to be clear: It is one of the more important duties as developer to have a consistent documentation, especially when you write code for professional apps. And your team members will thank you!


Writing this post was supported with music from Frog Leap Studios - Hurt (cover by Leo Moracchioli).
Have a nice day!
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