Home » Software » Comparison of JavaScript API reference generation tools

Comparison of JavaScript API reference generation tools

Update: This list is now more social, shareable, embeddable, and improved at http://list.ly/list/FAS-auto-generate-javascript-reference-documentation. Vote or tag the existing tools or add the tools missing from this list.

JSDoc is JavaScript documentation–API reference content for your JS APIs. Recently I scanned the landscape of JSDoc generation tools looking for a good tool to generate JS API reference. I shortlisted the following open source software that served my purpose well. See if this information provides a starting point for you. My votes go to JSDuck and YUIDoc, in that order.

JSDoc tool

Salient info


JSDoc 3* Updated version of the old JSDoc Toolkit. http://usejsdoc.org/https://github.com/jsdoc3/jsdoc
YUIDoc Slightly more verbose and generates very neat outputs; syntax similar to tools like Javadoc and Doxygen; provides Live previews; “generated documentation is an attractive, functional web application with real URLs and graceful fallbacks for spiders and other agents” http://yui.github.com/yuidoc/Sample output: http://yuilibrary.com/yui/docs/api/classes/Model.html
Docco “Quick-and-dirty documentation generator”; Produces output with explanation of code alongside the code itself http://jashkenas.github.com/docco/
Natural Docs Very many options and neat outputs; Style of writing is similar to Javadoc http://www.naturaldocs.org/features.html
JSDuck Infers info directly from the code. Big projects are already using it; Supports references to images and videos; Single exe file for setup on Windows with everything bundled. https://github.com/senchalabs/jsduck#readmeSee JSDuck video here.

* A JSDoc 3 output sample, if it is useful: We ended up publishing an Adobe LiveCycle HTML Workspace documentation piece using JSDoc here.


3 thoughts on “Comparison of JavaScript API reference generation tools

    • Hi Steve, I am afraid I do not have the setup or the steps. I remember some manual changes in the default template were done. I would suggest posting this on stackoverflow or some such forum for the community to help you out.

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