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mdoc - Mono documentation management tool


mdoc command [options] [args]


mdoc is an assembly-based documentation management system.

mdoc permits creating and updating documentation stubs based on the contents of an
assembly. It does not rely on documentation found within the source code.

The advantages are:

* Code readability. Good documentation is frequently (a) verbose, and (b) filled
with examples. (For comparison, compare Microsoft .NET Framework documentation,
which is often a page or more of docs for each member, to JavaDoc documentation,
which can often be a sentence for each member.)

Inserting good documentation into the source code can frequently bloat the source
file, as the documentation can be longer than the actual method that is being

* Localization. In-source documentation formats (such as csc /doc) have no support
for multiple human languages. If you need to support more than one human language
for documentation purposes, mdoc is useful as it permits each language's output to
reside in its own directory, and mdoc can add types/members for each separate
documentation directory.

* Administration. It's not unusual to have separate documentation and development
teams. It's also possible that the documentation team will have minimal experience
with the programming language being used. In such circumstances, inline
documentation is not desirable as the documentation team could inadvertantly insert
an error into the source code while updating the documentation. Alternatively, you
may not want the documentation team to have access to the source code for security
reasons. mdoc allows the documentation to be kept completely separate and distinct
from the source code used to create the assembly.

Documentation can be generated using the mdoc update command:

mdoc update -o docs/en ProjectName.dll

Once the documentation stubs have been generated (and hopefully later filled in with
actual documentation), there are three ways to view the documentation:

* To generate a simple directory of HTML pages (one HTML file per type), use mdoc

mdoc export-html -o /srv/www/htdocs/ProjectName docs/en

* To use an ASP.NET webapp to display the sources, see: http://anonsvn.mono-

From a monodoc source checkout, you can do this:

cd engine
make web

This will use xsp(1) to serve the ASP.NET webapp; Visit http://localhost:8080/ to
view the documentation.

* To use the monodoc(1) documentation browser, you must first assemble the

mdoc assemble -o ProjectName docs/en

The above command creates the files ProjectName.tree and ProjectName.zip. An
additional ProjectName.sources file must be provided which describes where in the
help system the documentation should be hooked up; it is a very simple XML file,
like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<source provider="ecma" basefile="ProjectName"
path="various" />

The above configuration file describes that the documentation is in ECMA format,
that the base file name is ProjectName and that it should be hooked up in the
"various" part of the documentation tree. If you want to look at the various nodes
defined in the documentation, you can look at the monodoc.xml file which is
typically installed in /usr/lib/monodoc/monodoc.xml.

Once you have all of the required files (.zip, .tree and .sources) you can install
them into the system with the following command:

cp ProjectName.tree ProjectName.zip ProjectName.source \
`pkg-config monodoc --variable sourcesdir`

The above will copy the files into the directory that Monodoc has registered; you
might need root permissions to do this. The actual directory is returned by the
pkg-config invocation.


mdoc assemble
Compiles documentation for use within the monodoc(1) browser.

See the mdoc-assemble(1) man page for details.

mdoc export-html
Exports documentation into a directory structure of HTML files.

See the mdoc-export-html(1) man page for details.

mdoc export-msxdoc
Exports documentation into the single-file Microsoft XML Documentation format.

See the mdoc-export-msxdoc(1) man page for details.

mdoc help
View internal help for a given command.

mdoc help assemble

is equivalent to:

mdoc assemble --help

Multiple sub-commands may be listed at once:

mdoc help assemble export-html update validate

mdoc update
Updates documentation, adding and removing members based upon a reference assembly.

See the mdoc-update(1) man page for details.

mdoc validate
Validates the documentation against the Mono documentation schema.

See the mdoc-validate(1) man page for details.

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