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This repository contains the source for the .NET API Reference toolchain (used by

Contribution Guide

You can read the contribution guide for information about coding standards, and (perhaps most importantly), information about writing unit and integration tests.



This repository uses submodules, so firstly, you have several options:

  • You can include all submodules when you initially clone: git clone --recursive
  • If you already have it local, you can use git submodule update --init --recursive
  • If you have all CLI dependencies (see below), you can make prepare

Visual Studio

On windows, you can build and compile apidoctools.sln. And you can run unit tests if you have NUnit installed. If you use Visual Studio for Mac, you can use its built-in support for NUnit tests to also run tests.


If you've got make and mono installed, you can run make prepare all check in a bash prompt to do a release build and run the full test suite (which for mdoc includes more than just the nunit tests). The available targets are:

  • prepare: initializes the submodules, and restores the nuget dependency of NUnit
  • all: compiles everything
  • check: runs unit tests for monodoc and mdoc
  • check-mdoc: runs only mdoc tests
  • check-monodoc: runs only monodoc tests

You can also control some parameters from the command line:

If you want to compile in debug mode: make all CONFIGURATION=Debug

If you are using WSL, use: make all ENVIRONMENT=wsl

Feel free to open a pull request early in order to make it easy to ask questions during development, and for the maintainers to offer feedback.


Forcing Changes

When you make certain kinds of changes, it can confuse Make's dependency ... if you're running the test suite and it doesn't seem to be reflecting your changes, add the -B parameter to the make invocation, and it will force a rebuild of all targets.


Make sure you are at least on 16.04 (Xenial). You can check which version is currently installed by running the command lsb_release -a.

If you are running an older version (for example, if you originally installed WSL before the creator's update) and need to upgrade, you can run the following commands:

  • sudo do-release-upgrade ... this updates the version of Ubuntu. Please note, this will likely disable any external package sources, such as the one added when installing Mono.
  • Once you're done with that, then you just need to update apt-get
  • Steps to set up the local WSL mdoc environment
    • Install make sudo apt-get install make
    • Install mono, Add back Mono's package repository source, as described in the download instructions.
    • Install Nuget sudo apt-get install nuget
    • Install F# Compiler sudo apt-get install mono-complete fsharp

With that run ... you should be able to run the build locally using make prepare all check.


The following script will prepare, clone, and run a full build with tests of mdoc on an unbuntu docker container.

apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys 3FA7E0328081BFF6A14DA29AA6A19B38D3D831EF  
echo "deb trusty main" | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mono-official.list

apt-get update
apt-get install tzdata nuget -y --allow-unauthenticated
apt-get install git make mono-devel mono-vbnc ca-certificates-mono wget fsharp -y

wget -q '' -O "/tmp/certdata.txt" 
mozroots --import --ask-remove --file /tmp/certdata.txt

git clone
cd api-doc-tools
make prepare all check

Please review mono's installation guide if you are using a different flavor of linux.