Natural Docs
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About Natural Docs

Natural Docs is an open-source documentation generator for multiple programming languages.  You document your code in a natural syntax that reads like plain English.  Natural Docs then scans your code and builds high-quality HTML documentation from it.

Philosophy

These are the overarching goals for Natural Docs:

Comments should remain as readable and natural as possible

Hence the name, Natural Docs.  It was designed to have as little visible syntax as possible.  I specifically didn’t want tags littered everywhere, like =head1 for POD or @param for Javadoc.  While it is structured, it’s minimal and mostly transparent.  The comments in the source files read just as easily as the generated documentation.

The program should be as automated and out of the way as possible

A barrier to using these types of programs is the added hassle.  While you do have to document your code for it, especially if you don’t have full language support, it tries to do away with as much hand-holding as possible.  Configuration files are intelligent; if you change certain settings the documentation will be rebuilt or secondary settings will be applied automatically.

Generated documentation should be professional quality

The generated output from most of these programs tends to be, um, utilitarian.  Natural Docs was originally designed to generate an API reference for distribution, so its documentation is high quality right out of the box.  It also has a powerful CSS structure so you can customize it however you want.

Developers

The creator and primary developer of Natural Docs is Greg Valure (gregv.nosp@m.alure@natural.nosp@m.docs.org)

Natural Docs is free.  However, if you find it useful and have some money to spare, donations are much appreciated.

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Who’s Using It

You can see some of them on our users page, but those are only the people who make their documentation publicly available.

Almost half of my announcement list has visibly foreign e-mail addresses, so I used it to figure out this list of countries Natural Docs being used in, with a couple being filled in by web sites or correspondence:

Americas: The United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile.

Europe: The UK, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Romania.

Asia Pacific: China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand.

I have users in educational institutions, government, companies (some well-known) as well as individuals who just want to use it for their own projects.

However, easily the coolest place it was ever used was in the development of a spacecraft.  You can’t top that!

Copyright © 2003-2011 Greg Valure