command line (emacs) interface into devhelp
Python Emacs Lisp
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Some useful API documentation is not available as man pages but in some other format:

  • GTK stack, including related libraries like Cairo, uses gtk-doc;
  • the excellent C++ reference available at is HTML.

If they were man pages they'd integrate well into emacs (where M-x man shows the man page of the word under the cursor). But both are available Devhelp data files, which are for a Windows help–like system. Devhelp's GUI provides lists of functions, keywords, etc.

The Python scripts in this repository index the Devhelp data file to generate a plain text file mapping keywords to docs. The elisp code then provides a M-x devhelp command which behaves like man, except that it opens the result in a browser.


For gtk-doc based packages like Cairo, apt-get install libcairo2-doc. For the C++ reference, install from the PPA.

Now run ./ It will crawl those documentation directories and create an index in ~/.cache.

Finally, symlink into your PATH somewhere. You can now call it:

$ devhelp-query equal_range

In Emacs, install devhelp.el and call it via M-x devhelp. (If you install the appropriate Emacs packages, (setq browse-url-browser-function 'w3m-browse-url) will make Emacs use the w3m browser within an Emacs buffer, bringing back the man experience.)