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Aurélien Gâteau: Introducing Doxyqml

Published Jan 14 2013 via RSS

If you are a developer, chances are you have already read a documentation created with Doxygen. Doxygen is a widespread tool to produce documentation from source code. We use it in KDE to document our C++ libraries on api.kde.org.

We use QML more and more within KDE, especially in the Plasma world: on the desktop, where many existing Plasma applets have already been rewritten in QML, and on touch devices with Plasma Active, which is 100% QML. To maintain consistency, we are building a set of reusable QML components, and those components need a good documentation

Unfortunately, Doxygen does not support QML out of the box. That is the reason why I created Doxyqml.

Doxyqml is a QML input filter for Doxygen, it uses Doxygen input filter mechanism to turn QML into code which Doxygen can process.

Doxyqml has been deployed on api.kde.org. It is currently used to document the QML Plasma components which are shipped with kde-runtime.

QML specificities

In the spirit of Doxygen, Doxyqml tries to extract as much as possible from the code itself, to avoid duplication. For example, a property can be documented this way:

Item {
    /// The text color of the element
    property color textColor

Doxyqml will correctly extract the type of the textColor property as color.

But what if the property is an alias? Something like this:

Item {
    /// The text color of the element
    property alias foregroundColor: innerText.color

    Text {
        id: innerText

Doxyqml does not resolve aliases. In this case you need to help it a bit by providing the type. You can do so with a type:<name> annotation:

Item {
    /// type:color The text color of the widget
    property alias foregroundColor: innerText.color

    Text {
        id: innerText

Types annotations are also used to document functions. Arguments and return values of QML functions are untyped, so you must use the type:<name> syntax to document them. Here is an example from the README:

 * Create a user
 * @param type:string firstname User firstname
 * @param type:string lastname User lastname
 * @param type:int User age
 * @return type:User The User object
function createUser(firstname, lastname, age);

Signal parameters, on the other hand, are completely typed. Doxyqml will extract the parameter types for you.

What about QDoc?

Qt QML components are documented with QDoc, a tool similar to Doxygen, created by Qt developers themselves. Using QDoc could have been an option, but doing it so would have forced us to either:

  • Use Doxygen for C++ code and QDoc for QML. But using two different tools makes it difficult to produce a consistent documentation.


  • Migrate our existing C++ documentation to use QDoc. Going that way meant giving up on Doxygen features we use which QDoc lacks, such as source code browsing or class diagrams.

Get it

You can get Doxyqml from its project page.

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