How to use Doxygen to generate documentation for our code

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This How To introduces the Doxygen documentation system and gives some guidelines to use it to document Kratos code


What is Doxygen?

Doxygen is system that can be used to produce documentation for our code. It reads our source code looking for comments that follow a special format, and uses that information to generate our documentation.

To document our work, all that is required is to follow some basic guidelines while writing our code. Every time we release a new Kratos version, we will run Doxygen using our source and post the result in the Doxygen Documentation page. An alternate possibility is to run Doxygen periodically on the latest svn revision and upload the result.

Basic instructions to document C++ code

There are many different Doxygen commands, which can be consulted in its reference manual. We will review here the ones that are most commonly used in the Kratos source.

Class documentation: Short description and long description

The class description is a special C++ comment placed just before the class declaration. Its contents will be used to generate the documentation. Note how the comment is identified as input for Doxygen by adding a third slash (/) character

 /// The Example class does nothing.
 class Example

The text after the /// will be used to describe the Example class in the documentation. In addition to the short description, we can add a detailed description with more information about the class

 /// The Example class does nothing.
 /** This class was implemented to introduce the reader to Doxygen documentation.
     Note how this detailed detailed description is just a regular C++ multiline
     comment, but starts with an extra '*'.
 class Example

The class description will be more helpful if its author explains what the class does and how to use it. In the case of scientific code such as Kratos, the class description is a good place to briefly describe the theory behind the implementation, and possibly even include bibliographic references.

Function documentation

Other useful commands

Grouping into modules

See also

The todo list

Documenting Kratos classes

Using the header templates

What to document?

Our aim for Kratos would be, at least, having a complete documentation for all classes and public methods. An important detail is ensuring

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