Doxygen is an open-source tool for Windows, Linux, and MacOS, it is used widely as a documentation generation tool to simplify the process of creating and maintaining documentation for software projects. It is trendy in programming, where it helps developers generate clear and comprehensive documentation for their codebases.
The key task of Doxygen is to transform human-readable comments within source code into well-structured, cross-referenced, and easily navigable documentation. Such documentation can include information about functions, classes, variables, modules, and more, making it invaluable for understanding, maintaining, and collaborating on software projects.
Doxygen supports various programming languages, including C++, C, Java, Python, and more, making it a versatile tool for various development environments.
Key Features of Doxygen
Doxygen offers several key features that contribute to its popularity and effectiveness as a documentation tool:
- Automatic Documentation Generation
- Rich Documentation Output
- Cross-Referencing feature that generates hyperlinks between various parts of the documentation.
- In-Code Documentation.
- Structured Documentation:
- Code Visualization:
- Support for Different Languages
- Developers can customize the appearance and content of the generated documentation by configuring settings in a Doxygen configuration file.
Step 1: Download Doxgen
We can install Doxygen directly using PowerShell, however, the version available through the Microsoft package manager would not be the latest one. Therefore, here we are directly downloading Doxygen’s Windows executable file from its website, visit the link.
Step 2: Install DoXygen on Windows 11 or 10
Once you have the setup of Doxgen downloaded on your system, just double-click and follow the installation wizard. In a few seconds, it will be on your Windows system.
Step 3: Run the DoxyWizard
As you are done with the installation, to access the GUI fronted of Doxygen, go to your Windows search box or click on the Start button and type – DoxyWizard. As its icon appears, click to run the same.
The GUI of the software:
Step 3: Edit the system environment variables (optional)
Well, Doxygen comes with a graphical user interface, however, those who want to use it from the command terminal, need to add its executable to their system’s path.
Go to Search and type – Edit the System environment variables
Open it when appears in the search result.
From the System Properties, click on the Environment Variables… button.
Select Path and then click on the Edit button.
Click on the Browse button. From the explorer, go to This PC -> Program Files and select Bin folder. After that press the OK button and again the same to finally add Doxygen executable to your system path.
Step 4: Access it from the Command
Open your PowerShell or Command prompt and then type the given command to check the version of the install DoXygen on your system.
Whereas, for help:
To generate the Doxygen template configuration file:
doxygen -g my-first-project
Replace the my-first-project with whatever name you want to give your project.
To edit the file you can use:
Add your source code path and other information then save the file.
Once you’ve configured your Doxygen settings, you can generate the documentation by running Doxygen with your configuration file as follows:
The output file will be saved in the same directory where you have created the project in the HTML or any other format you want.
You can refer to the official Doxygen documentation for a complete list of commands and tags available in Doxygen.
Who is the owner of Doxygen?
Doxygen is an open-source project therefore there’s no single owner of the software in the traditional sense. Instead, it is developed and maintained by a community of developers around the world. Whereas, the project’s development is coordinated by Dimitri van Heesch, who is the original creator of Doxygen and continues to play a significant role in its development.
Also, Doxygen is distributed under an open-source license (the GNU General Public License) and is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and contribute to.
What is the use of Doxygen in C++?
Doxygen is not only used for C++ to generate documentation but even for other various programming languages. The key goal of using this software is to create not only comprehensive but also well-structured documentation for your C++codebase.
Other reasons to use it are:
- Automated Documentation Generation:
- It provides an organized and structured way for developers
- Doxygen generates API documentation,
- Can generate hyperlinked documentation
- supports multiple output formats, including HTML, LaTeX, PDF, and XML.
- Supports visual representations
- Can be integrated into your build process, ensuring that documentation is automatically generated
- Allow teams to collaborate
What language is doxygen written in?
Doxygen is written in C++ because it allows for efficient manipulation and analysis of code, which is essential for its functionality, therefore, it is a C++ program that parses and analyzes source code to generate documentation in various output formats.