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Home > Software Documentation Resources > Help with writing high quality software documentation > How to build high quality class documentation

How to build high quality class documentation

Most modern programming languages are class based, that is the code objects are object orientated and arranged into classes, methods and properties.

The nice thing about class based programming languages is that it's really easy to create high quality technical documentation from such languages. The documentation can simply show the hierarchy of classes used in the application, then list the sub-classes of each class. Finally the class's properties and methods can be described.

Modern object orientated (OO) programming languages that support the use of classes include Java and the .NET Framework (both Visual Basic.NET and C# support classes). A number of documentation tools for generating object orientated looking documentation exist for each of these programming languages - use the menu on the left of this page to find examples.

Documentation can normally be generated in a number of different formats. Classed based documentation lends itself well to being displayed online. The hierarchical nature of classes means that documentation in HTML or other hyperlinked format can allow sub-classes and parent classes to be clicked through from the class of interest.

When creating class documentation for your applications it's useful to use a programming language that allows code comments to be added directly to the source code. Java supports JavaDoc standards and the .NET Framework (VB.NET and C#) both support XML comments. These standards both have official methods of documenting classes so that creating the resulting class documentation is incredibly straightforward. In the case of the .NET Framework, Visual Studio's code editor supports the XML comments standards, and will fill in documentation templates for classes, methods and properties.

Related content: class, documentation, object orientated, class

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