The best JavaScript documentation generator tools and reference builders (Updated Nov 2013)

Never before has JavaScript seen more demand or attention, by both developers and users. JavaScript, besides Lua, are the only two popular prototypal programming languages around, bringing with it, their own set of peculiarities.

Quality code, that is maintainable in a team and can be well tested, is a crucial advantage for larger projects. It goes without saying, and few would argue, that a minimum set of qualitative documentation goes hand in hand with the maintenance of a vast codebase. Unlike its early days, JavaScript now has a great number of established documentation-creation and publishing tools. Find them below, and please share what you, - dear fellow coder-, are currently using.

One obvious caveat: In order for the following lineup of document generators to start parsing and generating documents, they need sourcecode-metainformation, which is usually provided directly in the source-code. One tool to auto-generate code-metainformations in conventional @codecomment Syntax, is SmartComments:

  • SmartComments

    JavaScript based, ad-hoc generation in the website via copy n paste weblet, in-line editing, customizable, HTML5, Sublime Text Plugin, custom parameters, node.js usable, npm, YUIDocs integration

List of Documentation Generators:
comprehensive; conventional style; lean and orthodox docs

lean, mean and clean; fast with node.js; little to no learning curve; several stylish templates; responsive designs; permalinks

comprehensive, powerful; vast codebase; rich templates and designs; HTML5; permalinks

common syntax; comprehensive Design, HTML5; fast; moderate learning curve

common syntax; simple; fast; conservative design

common syntax; comprehensive designs and templates; moderate building time; permalinks; not well known?

common syntax; comprehensive designs and features; HTML5; moderate building time; permalinks;



The article was inspired by this compilation post at google-plus, which is really just a straight summary taken from the stackoverflow community, to which all the credit goes.

If you are interested in my own generator-preference for small projects: it is docco. You can find an example documentation-output of the current docco-version here.


JavaScript JS documentation generator tools 2013 HTML5 docs maker collaboration