Comparison of documentation generators

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The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of documentation generators. Please see the individual products' articles for further information. Unless otherwise specified in footnotes, comparisons are based on the stable versions without any add-ons, extensions or external programs. Note that many of the generators listed are no longer maintained.

General information[edit]

Basic general information about the generators, including: creator or company, license, and price.

Name Creator Input format Languages (alphabet order) OS support First public release date Latest stable version Software license
Ddoc Walter Bright Text D Windows, OS X, Linux and BSD 2005/09/19 DMD 2.078.3 Boost
Document! X Innovasys Text, Binary C++/CLI only, C#, IDL, Java, VB, VBScript, PL/SQL Windows only 1998 2014.1 Proprietary
Doxygen Dimitri van Heesch Text C/C++, C#, D, IDL, Fortran, Java, PHP, Python Any 1997/10/26 1.9.1 GPL
Epydoc Edward Loper Text Python Any 2002/01/— 3.0 (2008) MIT
fpdoc (Free Pascal Documentation Generator) Sebastian Guenther Text Pascal [verification needed] 2005? 2.6.4 GPL
Godoc Google Text Golang Any 2022 0.1.12 (2022) BSD
Haddock Simon Marlow Text Haskell Any 2002 2.15.0 (2014) BSD
HeaderDoc Apple Inc. Text AppleScript, Bash, Csh, C, C++, Delphi, IDL, Java, JavaScript, MIG, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Tcl Any Unix-like 2000/09/— 8.9.28 (2013) APSL
Imagix 4D Imagix Corp. Text C, C++, Java Windows, Linux, Unix 1995 7.3 Proprietary
Javadoc Sun Microsystems Text Java Any 1995 1.6 GPL
JSDoc Michael Mathews Text JavaScript Any 2001/07/— 1.10.2 GPL
JsDoc Toolkit Michael Mathews Text JavaScript Any 2007? 2.0.0 MIT
mkd Jean-Paul Louyot Text Any with comments Unix, Linux, Windows 1989 2015 EUPL GPL
Natural Docs Greg Valure Text Any with comments Any 2003/05/26 2.0.2 GPL
NDoc Jason Diamond, Jean-Claude Manoli, Kral Ferch Binary C# Windows only 2003/07/27 1.3.1 GPL
pdoc Andrew Gallant Text Python Any 2013 1.0.1 (2021) Unlicense
perldoc Larry Wall Text Perl Any 1994 5.16.3 Artistic, GPL
phpDocumentor Joshua Eichorn Text PHP Any 2000 3.0.0 LGPL for 1.x, MIT for 2+
pydoc Ka-Ping Yee[1] Text Python Any 2000 in Python core Python
RDoc Dave Thomas Text C, C++, Ruby Any 2001/12/14 in Ruby core Ruby
ROBODoc Frans Slothouber Text Any with comments Any 1995/01/19 4.99.36 (2015) GPL
Sandcastle Microsoft Text .NET Windows only 2008/05/— 2.4.10520 (2016) Ms-PL
Sphinx Georg Brandl Text Ada, C, C++, Fortran, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby Any 2008/03/21 3.5.4 BSD
Visual Expert Novalys Text, Binary C#, PL/SQL, Transact-SQL, PowerBuilder Windows only 1995 2017 Proprietary
VSdocman Helixoft Text VB, VBScript, C# Windows only 2003 Oct 2 9.0 Proprietary
YARD Loren Segal Text Ruby Any 2007/02/24 0.7.3 MIT
Name Creator Input format Languages (alphabet order) OS support First public release date Latest stable version Software license

Supported formats[edit]

The output formats the generators can write.

HTML CHM RTF PDF LaTeX PostScript man pages DocBook XML ePub
Ddoc Yes Yes[a] No Yes[a] Yes[a] Yes[a] Yes[a] No Yes[a]
Document! X Yes Yes No No No No No No No
Doxygen Yes Yes Yes Indirectly[b] Yes Indirectly[b] Yes Yes Yes No
Epydoc Yes No No Yes Indirectly[c] Indirectly[c] No No No
Haddock Yes Yes No No No No No Partial No
HeaderDoc Yes No No No No No Yes No Yes
Imagix 4D Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Javadoc Yes Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d] Indirectly[d]
JSDoc Yes No No No No No No No No
JsDoc Toolkit Yes No No No No No No No Yes+JSON
Natural Docs Yes No No No No No No No No
NDoc Yes Yes No No No No No No No
pdoc Yes No No No No No No No No No
phpDocumentor Yes Yes (1.x only) No Yes (1.x only) No No No Yes (1.x only) Yes (1.x only)
pydoc Yes No No No No No No No No No
RDoc Yes Yes[e] No No No No Indirectly[f] No Yes[e]
ROBODoc Yes Indirectly Yes Indirectly[c] Yes Indirectly[c] Yes Yes No
Sandcastle Yes Yes No No No No No No No
Sphinx Yes Yes Indirectly[g] Yes Yes Yes
Visual Expert Yes No No No No No No No No
VSdocman Yes Yes No Yes No No No No Yes
YARD Yes No No No No No No No No
HTML CHM RTF PDF LaTeX PostScript man pages DocBook XML ePub

Other features[edit]

possibility of extended customization generated diagrams highlighting and linking of generated doc parameter types extracted
Ddoc with macros
Document! X customizable HTML based templates, custom comment tags linked graphical object relationship diagrams internal links and links to .NET framework documentation types extracted and linked
Doxygen with XSLT caller and callee graphs, dependency graphs, inheritance diagrams, collaboration diagrams
Haddock Yes Yes
HeaderDoc Custom headers, footers, code coloring, and other CSS styles in individual pages. Project-wide TOC is generated from a user-defined template. Configurable syntax highlighting/coloring with automatic linking to symbols in declaration, ability to manually link to symbols in discussion, etc. Provides warnings if tagged parameters do not match code, parsed parameters included in XML output and Doxygen-style tagfile (-D flag in 8.7). Partial C preprocessor support with -p flag. Support for #if/#ifdef control over documentation inclusion using the -D and -U command-line flags.
Imagix 4D customizable through style sheets and CSS linked hierarchy and dependency graphs for function calls, variable sets and reads, class inheritance and interface, and file includes and interface, intra-function flow charts fully cross-linked project-wide, including all hierarchy and dependency graphs, metrics tables, source code snippets, and source files full semantic analysis of source code, including parameter types, conditional compilation directives, macro expansions
JSDoc Yes
JsDoc Toolkit Yes
mkd Customisable for all type of comments 'as-is' in comments all general documentation; references, manual, organigrams, ... Including the binary codes included in the comments. all coded comments
Natural Docs
perldoc Extend the generator classes through Perl programming. Only linking
pdoc overridable Jinja2 templates source code syntax highlighting, automatic cross-linking to symbol declarations Yes
phpDocumentor Smarty-based templates (1.x), Twig-based templates (2+) class inheritance diagrams cross reference to generated documentation, and to function reference Yes
Sphinx 10 themes; Jinja2 templating; Python plugins several in sphinx-contrib, e.g. using aafigure, actdiag, Google Chart, or gnuplot Table of Contents, Index; cross referencing; syntax highlighting with Pygments custom objects (such as functions and classes)
Visual Expert documentation content and styles customizable Class inheritance, call trees, dependencies (impact analysis) internal links between classes, methods, variables, tables, columns... all types extracted
VSdocman full customization for all output formats, templates for MSDN-like output, custom XML comment tags linked graphical class diagrams, class inheritance tree internal links and links to .NET framework documentation types extracted and linked
YARD customizable Ruby templates class diagrams with extra tool internal classes/modules cross-referenced and Ruby source highlighted

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ddoc has a macro system which can be customized to output any desired format. CHM, groff (manpages), XHTML, XML, and LaTeX (so PostScript and PDF) were tested. They are not currently included in the standard distribution. Standard HTML output also is generated using macros and can be redefined.
  2. ^ a b Generated from the LaTeX output only.[2]
  3. ^ a b c d Though not officially supported as an output format, Epydoc uses LaTeX and PostScript as intermediate steps to produce the final PDF documentation.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Via Doclets from Third Parties.
  5. ^ a b RDoc currently only provides generators for CHM and XML documents in the RDoc version provided as part of the Ruby 1.9 Core.
  6. ^ RDoc generates documentation for RI, which is Ruby's version of the Unix man pages.
  7. ^ Generated from the LaTeX output only


  1. ^ "PEP 256 -- Docstring Processing System Framework |".
  2. ^ "Doxygen Manual: Output Formats". Archived from the original on 2013-01-06.