NDoc 2.0 Alpha

NDoc is an extensible code documentation generation tool for .NET developers. The program was originally created by Don Kackman and Kevin Downs. Lately, Kevin has been the sole maintainer. You can find more details about the project on the official website. The associated SourceForge page hosts the last official releases, mailing lists, and discussion forums.

Attention: NDoc Is Obsolete

What follows below is a historical account of how NDoc ended up on my website. What you should know, however, is that NDoc is unfinished, will never be finished, and is long obsolete. You should use Sandcastle Help File Builder instead which is also free, supports recent .NET versions, and even has a nice GUI. Everything below this line is obsolete. Please use Sandcastle instead of NDoc.

The Situation

So what’s that got to do with me? Well, the problem is that NDoc was never officially updated for the .NET Framework 2.0. Alpha test versions have been released regularly to a private mailing list, but a final release version was never created due to the sheer complexity of the task, combined with a lack of financial support by the user community, and other unrelated issues intruding upon the development process.

In June 2006 the matter was further complicated by Microsoft’s informal announcement of the “Sandcastle” documentation generator. A beta version is supposed to ship before the end of July, and coming from Microsoft this tool will likely become the de-facto standard for .NET documentation generation. Needless to say, this announcement greatly discouraged Kevin from putting any further effort into a final release of NDoc 2.0.

However, “Sandcastle” is unlikely to support all those extra tags and features that NDoc users know and love, and while “Sandcastle” is pending release online forums are still flooded with requests for a .NET 2.0 documentation generator. Since the last NDoc alpha version that Kevin sent out to testers actually works quite nicely – and contains a truly stupendous amount of enhancements over the old 1.3.1 release – I’ve decided to offer this version as an “unofficial” download so that his hard work won’t disappear without a trace.

The Download

The most recent (fairly stable) alpha version of NDoc 2.0 is NDoc2-Alpha3u.zip (950 KB, ZIP archive). Just extract everything into a directory of your choice, then execute either NDocConsole.exe or NDocGui.exe. Make sure to read the enclosed ReadMe file for an overview of the numerous changes compared to the last official NDoc release!

The archive does not contain any other documentation. If you don’t know how NDoc works you’ll have to visit the official website and/or get an official release, and figure it out from there. Also, this download does not include any source code, and may not run on Mono. I don’t have the current source code and can’t help you obtain it – sorry.

Important: The new NDoc project file format is incompatible with NDoc 1.3.1, so you must use NDocGui.exe to manually recreate all your project files. Also, please note that this download is offered with no warranty whatsoever – use at your own risk!

One Bugfix

Bruno Braga informed me that Firefox would show empty pages when opening NDoc-generated HTML pages. He also found a very simple fix: in the JavaScript file ndoc.js (also generated by NDoc), move the statement document.body.style.display = ""; from line 72 to line 37.

Franz Alex Gaisie-Essilfie was kind enough to decompile NDoc using Reflector, apply this fix, and recompile the whole package into NDoc2-Alpha3u-fix.zip (732 KB). This download is smaller than the original package because it was compiled in release mode and lacks PDB files, which you shouldn’t need anyway.