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Avrodoc is a documentation tool for Avro schemas. It reads schemas in Avro's JSON schema format -- *.avsc files -- and renders them nicely in a web browser.

Take a look at the example, which is generated from this schema.

Why? Because your data type definitions are your most important API... and you would never make an API without good documentation, would you?

How to use

You need node.js installed.

Avrodoc can be used in two modes of operation:

  • As a command-line tool, taking one or more Avro schema files, and generating a self-contained HTML file that you can put on a web server, send by email, check into your repository, etc.
  • As a Node.js web app, serving documentation for any Avro schema files you put in in the server's schemata directory.

To run as a command-line tool:

$ npm install avrodoc -g
$ avrodoc [my-schema.avsc [another-schema.avsc...]] [-o=my-documentation.html] [> my-documentation.html] [-- my-schema.avsc [another-schema.avsc]]
# open my-documentation.html in a web browser

To run as a web app:

$ git clone git://
$ cd avrodoc
# put your schema files in the schemata/ directory
$ npm update
$ node app
# open http://localhost:8124/ in a web browser

If you want to change the schema file directory, set the SCHEMA_DIR environment variable. If you want to use a port other than 8124, set the PORT environment variable. The app is ready to deploy to Heroku: add your schema files to the schemata directory, commit, then run heroku create && git push heroku master.


  • Excellent for getting an overview of a complex schema with many nested records
  • Support for Markdown in doc strings, so you can add links, emphasis etc.
  • Detects duplicate definitions of types across schema files, and does the right thing
  • Fully compatible with Avro IDL 1.7.3


To run the browser tests locally on your machine:

  1. Download the ChromeDriver server for your OS, and put it in your $PATH.
  2. Download the standalone Selenium server.
  3. Run Selenium server: java -jar selenium-server-standalone-$VERSION.jar
  4. Run the Avrodoc web app: node app
  5. Run the tests: grunt selenium

To run the browser tests remotely in the cloud:

  1. Sign up for a free account at Sauce Labs.
  2. Download Sauce Connect.
  3. Run Sauce Connect, providing the username and API key of your account: java -jar Sauce-Connect.jar -P 4444 $USERNAME $API_KEY.
  4. Run the Avrodoc web app: node app
  5. Run the tests: grunt selenium


Copyright 2012 Martin Kleppmann. Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE for details. Thanks to contributors:

Pull requests welcome.


Documentation tool for Avro schemas







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