With the excellent article by David Hecker on documentation running on SitePoint, it seemed timely to introduce an interesting open source documentation tool that bridges across fourteen programming languages.

Natural Docs, found at Sourceforge, includes support for C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, PL/SQL, Visual Basic, Pascal, Tcl, Ada, Ruby, and Assembly.

The goal with this project is to introduce automation tools which enable easy generation of HTML documentation and a resulting easy to read starting point for putting the finishing touch on an overall project’s documentation package.

The roadmap for this project is robust, including enhanced support for the languages noted, the ability to migrate from other documentation platforms (i.e. like JavaDoc), the ability to output into PDF as well as HTML, and finally, to allow users to create custom settings files to control the output of Natural Docs.

The interesting twist on Natural Docs is that it can enable development folk who might be working with Java on Unix (using JavaDoc) and working with Visual Basic or C# on Windows (using a proprietary or other documentaion tool) to standardize on one documentation platform.

I would be interested in hearing what documentation tools SitePoint readers are using.

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