A simple command line tool and library to auto generate API documentation for Python libraries.
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README.md

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pdoc is a library and a command line program to discover the public interface of a Python module or package. The pdoc script can be used to generate plain text or HTML of a module's public interface, or it can be used to run an HTTP server that serves generated HTML for installed modules.

Installation

pip install pdoc

Features

  • Support for documenting data representation by traversing the abstract syntax to find docstrings for module, class and instance variables.
  • For cases where docstrings aren't appropriate (like a namedtuple), the special variable __pdoc__ can be used in your module to document any identifier in your public interface.
  • Usage is simple. Just write your documentation as Markdown. There are no added special syntax rules.
  • pdoc respects your __all__ variable when present.
  • pdoc will automatically link identifiers in your docstrings to its corresponding documentation.
  • When pdoc is run as an HTTP server, external linking is supported between packages.
  • The pdoc HTTP server will cache generated documentation and automatically regenerate it if the source code has been updated.
  • When available, source code for modules, functions and classes can be viewed in the HTML documentation.
  • Inheritance is used when possible to infer docstrings for class members.

The above features are explained in more detail in pdoc's documentation.

pdoc is compatible with Python 3.5 and newer.

Example usage

pdoc will accept a Python module file, package directory or an import path. For example, to view the documentation for the csv module in the console:

pdoc csv

Or, you could view it by pointing at the file directly:

pdoc /usr/lib/python3.7/csv.py

Submodules are fine too:

pdoc multiprocessing.pool

You can also filter the documentation with a keyword:

pdoc csv reader

Generate HTML with the --html switch:

pdoc --html csv

A file called csv.m.html will be written to the current directory.

Or start an HTTP server that shows documentation for any installed module:

pdoc --http

Then open your web browser to http://localhost:8080.

There are many other options to explore. You can see them all by running:

pdoc --help

Submodule loading

pdoc uses idiomatic Python when loading your modules. Therefore, for pdoc to find any submodules of the input module you specify on the command line, those modules must be available through Python's ordinary module loading process.

This is not a problem for globally installed modules like sys, but can be a problem for your own sub-modules depending on how you have installed them.

To ensure that pdoc can load any submodules imported by the modules you are generating documentation for, you should add the appropriate directories to your PYTHONPATH environment variable.

For example, if a local module a.py imports b.py that is installed as /home/jsmith/pylib/b.py, then you should make sure that your PYTHONPATH includes /home/jsmith/pylib.

If pdoc cannot load any modules imported by the input module, it will exit with an error message indicating which module could not be loaded.