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Documenting Drupal Websites

With any sizeable project maintaining good documentation is a challenge - it’s all to easy to skimp on documentation, or to start with good intentions but allow the documentation to get out of date.

The Drupal API project allows you to set up a documentation website for your project like api.drupal.org that covers all your code.
The way this works is that you add doc comments to your code, and the Drupal API module extracts these to create the searchable and cross-referenced documentation.

Because doc comments are in the code it is easier to remember to update the documentation when you make a change. To install the API module:

  • Install Drupal
  • add the api module
  • configure the api module
    • short name is used in urls
    • Long name is displayed as the title
    • Directory is the absolute path to the code you want indexed
  • Add the special doc comment @mainpage {title} somewhere appropriate, this can either be a dediciated documentation page (with nothing but doc comments) or a doc comment in a logical place within your code.

    The key thing is that the {title} must be the same as the "long name" you chose earlier.

  • go to the administer blocks page
  • enable the API search and API navigation blocks
  • run cron a few times to get some pages indexed (by default only 10 pages are indexed at a time)
  • That should be it

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