ANN: HappyDoc 0.6

Doug Hellmann
Sun, 3 Sep 2000 16:52:51 -0400

Announcing HappyDoc, a Python documentation extraction tool.

  HappyDoc is a tool for extracting documentation from Python source
  code.  It differs from other such applications by the fact that it
  uses the parse tree for a module to derive the information used in
  its output, rather that importing the module directly.  This allows
  the user to generate documentation for modules which need special
  context to be imported.

Version 0.6

  Version 0.6 is the first public release.  It is described completely
  on the home page (see just below).  It isn't ready for a 1.0 release
  number yet because I want to add a few more core features before
  getting to that point.  It is stable, however, and is somewhere
  between a beta and full-release level.


  Download the latest version of HappyDoc from the home page on

Doc-string Format

  How does an author write documentation so that it will be marked up
  and look fancy?  This is a perennial question for Python, and seems
  to have introduced a roadblock into the development of more robust
  and useful documentation tools.  By separating the formatter classes
  from the docset classes, HappyDoc allows a user to create their own
  formatter to interpret comments in any way they see fit.

  The default for the HTMLTableFormatter (the default formatter for
  HappyDoc) is to treat __doc__ strings as StructuredText.  Don't like
  StructuredText?  Write your own formatter that does something
  different and drop it into place.

Documentation not in Doc-strings

  It is not always desirable to put all documentation in __doc__
  strings.  Sometime, notably when working with Zope, special meaning
  is attached to the presence of __doc__ strings.  For this reason,
  and to support existing code which might not have __doc__ strings,
  HappyDoc will find and extract documentation in Python comments.

  Comment documentation can contain all of the same formatting as
  __doc__ strings.  The preceding comment marker will be stripped off
  and the lines will be assembled and treated as a block of

  To use this feature, it is important to place the comments
  **before** the named object which they describe.  In this example:

      # Class documentation goes here
      class ClassWithNoDocStrings:
         "Using __doc__ strings overrides comment documentation."

         def method1(self, params):
             "This method uses a __doc__ string."

         # Method2 does not use a __doc__ string.
         def method2(self):

  The output would include the __doc__ strings for the class and for
  method1.  It would also make it appear that method2 had a __doc__
  string with the contents "Method2 does not use a __doc__ string."

Feedback on HappyDoc is welcome to

Doug Hellmann