Questions tagged [documentation]

Software documentation is written text that accompanies computer software. It explains how the software operates, how to install it, how to use it, and other resources for help.

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4
votes
1answer
84 views

Methodology for exploring APIs in dynamic languages

As a regular user of Standard ML and, to a lesser extent, Haskell, the following pattern is deeply ingrained into my "instinctive" approach to navigating and learning new APIs: Understand the types. ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

Explaining new or uncommon syntax in comments [duplicate]

As per the title, should I be explaining syntax that I use in my code when I have a reasonable expectation that a developer looking at my code in the future will not be familiar with it? Short caveats ...
9
votes
1answer
281 views

How to keep code examples in javadocs up to date

I'm working on a small library that provides implementations of basic, well known string metrics. Mostly for my own education. So development happens whenever I've got a bit of spare time. Because of ...
105
votes
10answers
10k views

How to make a large codebase easier to understand

Suppose that I am developing a relatively large project. I have already documented all my classes and functions with Doxygen, however, I had an idea to put a "programmer's notes" on each source code ...
7
votes
2answers
590 views

Is there something peculiar to Matlab or Mathworks that supports so much “undocumented” code?

I've been drilling into a lot of Matlab recently trying to interface with an in house algorithm engineer's work to modularize it for use in a test bench outside his suite of applications. I've come ...
2
votes
1answer
193 views

How to write proper documentation for references in a docblock? [closed]

I am adding documentation to PHP code using the phpDocs tool: /** * This is a summary * * This is a description * * @use This function is called here and here */ function doSomething(){ } I am ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

What information should go into file-level document block?

I primarily develop for Node.js. I got into a habit of putting a file-level docblock into all of my .js files. It looks something like this: /** * project-name * * Licensed under the BSD-3-Clause ...
5
votes
3answers
149 views

When should “should” be used in documentation? [duplicate]

I was just reading http://lasagne.readthedocs.org/en/latest/modules/layers.html and wondering about some documentation style questions. One of them was the use of the word "should". For example: ...
-1
votes
1answer
229 views

Interactive help in a statically-typed language with overloading

One of the nice features of IPython is that I can inspect a function. In [1]: def inc(x): ...: """Increments a number""" ...: return x+1 ...: In [2]: inc? Type: function ...
5
votes
4answers
258 views

What Type of Report or Documentation to Expect from my Programmers

First, I am not a programmer nor do I have any programming experience. I am an entrepreneur that had a website idea and hired programmers to custom build it. It has been going on for the last one year ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Documenting MVC JSON API

I've got an MVC5 application that we're using an a JSON API for various clients (mobile apps, other web applications, etc.) as well as a traditional web application. Controller actions that return ...
2
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2answers
691 views

Agile Scrum - Importance of requirement gathering and documentation and suggestions to improve

We are using agile scrum methodologies for developing and maintaining a product. Since we are a product company, we do not work with customer directly on day to day basis, but instead communicate with ...
3
votes
2answers
259 views

Should my application's README be for developers or users

My application is meant to be used by regular everyday users, but may also me modified freely by developers. These two audiences (users and developers) require different information. Should my README ...
1
vote
1answer
626 views

How can I find what Resources a Java EE container provides?

How can I find what "Resources" a Java EE container provides? Can I discover this programmatically, or is there documentation I should refer to? (Note that the Java EE tutorial is vague on this ...
1
vote
3answers
13k views

Who should write the Technical Design Document? The BA or the Developer? [closed]

I work as a Snr. BA in a large Manufacturing company and I've just implemented a new Requirements Management Process. We have a large range of internal developers who in the past have never been ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How do tools facilitate writing functional specifications?

C2 wiki on functional specifications suggest that this can be facilitated by tools, how? A Functional Specification is a list of demands and constraints intended to describe a product to be ...
2
votes
3answers
222 views

Documenting intent Vs knowledge

It is said you should document the intent of your function or class which I agree with. However recently this line became a little bit blurred when I was wanting someone to document why this ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

What is the origin of the phrase “extirpated as a potential munition”

I recently came across this statement in the Perl documentation: extirpated as a potential munition derived from the sentence: "Creates a digest string exactly like the crypt(3) function in the C ...
4
votes
3answers
405 views

Should code comments explain the control flow?

Should comments explain how the application control flow works? For example, the relationships between classes, how this function is used by other functions, and what we are trying to do with these ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I write a REStful API's functional specifications?

I've been looking for answers about writing functional specifications for a software for a while now but I can't seem to find an answer to my specific case. I think I understand the difference ...
-2
votes
3answers
185 views

Affecting culture as a newly hired developer [closed]

I've been in my first professional position for about six months now, and so I am hitting what I suppose is the pretty typical moment: Naievely perhaps, I think there's a lot of cultural baggage on ...
14
votes
2answers
10k views

How should I annotate, that a class is immutable in Java?

I recently stumbled upon how useful immutable objects are and that e.g. if you pass elements to a constructor and your class should be immutable, you have to copy these elements if they are not ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

Documentation of interfaces

I know how to document a function: /** * Prints a greet message to the web page */ function greet() { echo "Hi!"; } Or describe the usage of a variable: /** * @type string $name The user's ...
6
votes
2answers
174 views

peer review code documentation [closed]

We all know that code reviews are generally a good practice, but what about reviewing documentation? Many devs that I work with will put up wiki pages, javadocs, etc, but most of the time, unless ...
0
votes
3answers
193 views

Defining resource allocation in method documentation

I want to write a library with "no resource leak guarantee" feature. So I shall know whether each method allocates any resource or not. It may change the code. For example: void foo() { ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Include internal defects into the release notes?

When delivering a product, Release notes clearly contain known issues found by customer in the previous build. But should we include defects that we, as a supplier, found during our testing, those ...
3
votes
3answers
221 views

Is it misleading to label code as a particular design pattern if it only loosely fits the definition?

Background: I have a rough, but working understanding of ~15 design patterns. It's been my experience using design patterns in my own projects that the resulting implementations usually end up as some ...
3
votes
1answer
520 views

Usage of this keyword in constructor chaining?

I am reading msdn documentation for this keyword. They gave three usages for this keyword as follows To qualify members hidden by similar names To pass an object as a parameter to other methods To ...
4
votes
1answer
625 views

How to move php documentation closer to standards?

I have an large php project. I used to document it with NaturalDocs, but I didn't include the documentation generation in the build process for a long time ( years ). I recently started using ...
1
vote
2answers
215 views

The source is the documentation - part 1 [closed]

Searching the specification for the btrfs file system i stumbled once more over the catchphrase: "The code is the documentation". This implies that changing the code changes the specification. Does ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to make Doxygen documentation that helps in understanding the code?

So a few years ago I came across a statement that most of the Doxygen generated documentation out there is quite bad. "Bad" in the sense that defies the purpose of documentation and doesn't help in ...
0
votes
3answers
478 views

Seeking advice writing functional requirements [duplicate]

I inherited a project that I've been maintaining for approximately a year now. The project primarily revolves around performing various financial calculations for the end user. It's roughly 100,000 ...
2
votes
1answer
537 views

Is this synchronization required in service onCreate method?

Below is a sample code i captured from android doc Per service instance onCreate will be called only once. Ref: here and here The synchronization and singleton doesn't make any sense to me in this ...
2
votes
1answer
441 views

Does phpDocumentor tags order matter?

When we document our class, method and/or function with phpDocumentor, is there any specific order I should follow according to the standards? I know it doesn't matter for output the document. Since ...
60
votes
12answers
16k views

Is there any logical reason to auto-generate code documentation? [closed]

Automatic documentation generation can be done with a variety of tools, GhostDoc being one of the more prominent. However, by definition, everything it generates is redundant. It takes a look at ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

When systems get larger and larger, how do you keep a global understanding of your system? [duplicate]

Today I realized painfully that for some decisions you need a good overall understanding of the system. Otherwise, the risk is too high that your assumption turn out to be wrong. Imagine that you are ...
239
votes
16answers
44k views

What's wrong with comments that explain complex code?

A lot of people claim that "comments should explain 'why', but not 'how'". Others say that "code should be self-documenting" and comments should be scarce. Robert C. Martin claims that (rephrased to ...
2
votes
1answer
683 views

Changelog Management [closed]

I'm currently developing a WinForm application. In order to inform the client about the improvements and corrections made during the last version, I would like to manage and display a changelog. I ...
10
votes
1answer
339 views

Implied precision of floating-point functions

While reviewing another programmer's implementation of a function to calculate the normal distribution CDF, I made a suggestion to either replace the entire implementation with Python's built-in ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

When to declare @throws with a Scala annotation - abstract parent or concrete implementation?

In this StackOverflow question I asked about the behavior of the @throws annotation in Scala. Now that I understand how it works I want to ask about best practices with using it. Here's a repost of my ...
95
votes
12answers
7k views

Should the commit history be used to convey critical information to developers?

During a meeting regarding the rollback of a third-party SDK from the latest version it was noted that the our developers already flagged in the commit history that the latest version should not be ...
0
votes
2answers
207 views

Referencing StackOverflow questions in comments [duplicate]

Often when coding I'll get stuck on a particularly tricky problem and will go about searching for a solution. More often than not this leads me to a StackOverflow question that provides a full or ...
72
votes
14answers
9k views

How should I remember what I was doing and why on a project three months back?

I was working on a project three months back, and then suddenly another urgent project appeared and I was asked to shift my attention. Starting tomorrow, I'll be heading back to the old project. I ...
3
votes
2answers
153 views

How specific should be an interface about its implementation details?

Perhaps I should have picked a better title, but anyway... Basically what to do with two or more implementations that have the same public interface, but they are meant for slightly different ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Referencing official documentation in source-code documentation

What are your preferences for referencing official documentation (like a white paper) for an algorithm from comments in the code that implements it? I'm trying to decide between two methods, as ...
26
votes
2answers
47k views

How to do documentation for code and why is software (often) poorly documented?

There are some good examples of well-documented code out there, such as java api. But, a lot of code in public projects such as git and internal projects of companies is poorly documented and not very ...
2
votes
5answers
324 views

How viable is to create a mini documentation inside the source code

So, I work as a developer. We are a small team. The majority of the people (everyone except the project manager and the senior developer) are still in university. We have very flexible work hours, ...
1
vote
1answer
567 views

Your thoughts on Best Practices for Scientific Computing? [closed]

A recent paper by Wilson et al (2014) pointed out 24 Best Practices for scientific programming. It's worth to have a look. I would like to hear opinions about these points from experienced programmers ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

What does backup procedures and troubleshooting guidelines mean for a system

I am writing the documentation for a piece of software which I have made but I don't understand what it means in some aspects. It asks me to write about backup procedures but what exactly does this ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Scala/SBT - Documenting Configuration Change for Releases

I'm trying to collect different ways of managing configuration across multiple environments. I have a requirement to document configuration changes for the deployment plan. Dev values are defaults in ...