[Python-Dev] Why is documentation not inline?

Demian Brecht demianbrecht at gmail.com
Mon May 20 00:47:18 CEST 2013

@benjamin: Ah, i see. I wasn't around pre-Sphinx. However, unless
there's some custom build steps that I'm unaware of that may prevent
it, it should still be relatively easy to maintain the desired
narrative structure as long as the inline API docs are kept terse.

@antoine: Sorry, I may not have been clear. I wasn't advocating the
inclusion of the /entire/ doc pages inline. I'm advocating terse
documentation for the stdlib APIs and parameters. Narrative
documentation can (and should be) maintained externally, but could use
autodoc to include the terse references when desired. This would
ensure that the same docs are available (and consistent) when reading
the documentation as well as when neck-deep in code.

On Sun, May 19, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:
> On Sun, 19 May 2013 15:29:37 -0700
> Demian Brecht <demianbrecht at gmail.com> wrote:
>> This is more out of curiosity than to spark change (although I
>> wouldn't argue against it): Does anyone know why it was decided to
>> document external to source files rather than inline?
>> When rapidly digging through source, it would be much more helpful to
>> see parameter docs than to either have to find source lines (that can
>> easily be missed) to figure out the intention. Case in point, I've
>> been digging through cookiejar.py and request.py to figure out their
>> interactions. When reading through build_opener, it took me a few
>> minutes to figure out that each element of *handlers can be either an
>> instance /or/ a class definition (I was looking at how to define a
>> custom cookiejar for an HTTPCookieProcessor). Yes, I'm (now) aware
>> that there's some documentation at the top of request.py, but it would
>> have been helpful to have it right in the definition of build_opener.
>> It seems like external docs is standard throughout the stdlib. Is
>> there an actual reason for this?
> Have you seen the length of the documentation pages? Putting them
> inline in the stdlib module would make the code much harder to skim
> through.
> Regards
> Antoine.
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Demian Brecht

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