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NDoc project stalled, no version for 2.0. What is Microsoft doing?

NDoc is a very useful open source project that generates reference documentation from .NET assemblies and the XML documentation files generated by the C# compiler (or an add-on tool for VB.NET). NDoc generates documentation in several different formats, including the MSDN-style HTML Help format (.chm), the Visual Studio .NET Help format (HTML Help 2), and MSDN-online style web pages, which is much better than just the XML file we get from the compiler...

Unfortunately, NDoc has not been ported to .NET 2.0 yet. There are some commercial tools available - not even sure they offer support for .NET 2.0 - but I think support for generating and integrating documentation should be built in Visual Studio. Josh Ledgard (lead program manager at Microsoft's developer division) writes about this problem, and asks how Microsoft could lend a hand to NDoc and other non-MS developer tools. This is an interesting question. Make sure to read the discussion in the comments.

To get back to NDoc, if ever someone could help Jonas Lagerblad make progress...

Update: Kevin Downs - main developer of NDoc 1.3 and the titular admin of the project - writes in a comment that he is working on NDoc 2.0 and has an alpha version available for testers.
Update: NDoc 2 development stopped. Microsoft releases Sandcastle. 


Roger Helliwell said:

I agree. NDoc is an extremely useful tool. It's too bad that development has stalled -- especially since there is such a demand for such a tool. We use it on our .NET 2.0 app using the quick fix that is mentioned on the NDoc site, and so far no major problems.
# February 16, 2006 12:11 PM

Frans Bouma said:

Looking at the ndoc page at sourceforge, I don't see a 'we give up' message, for example a newsitem on january 30th states they're still developing new code for .NET 2.0.

So before everyone starts to burst into tears, it's perhaps a good idea to focus on what's already there and help out if possible. It's undoable to restart from scratch, but it's IMHO quite possible to add code to ndoc at the moment to get .net 2.0 support, especially if they're already busy adding support for that. Apparently they're not that busy with the project at the moment, but perhaps others can step in and take over some tasks. After all, it's GPL-ed open sourcecode so it shouldn't be that hard.
# February 16, 2006 12:15 PM

Frans Bouma said:

WAAHHH. I didn't look closer... its 30 january 2005, not 2006. Sorry, my bad... indeed, that sounds like a dead project.

Nevertheless, the code that's there is massive, support for .net 2.0 features shouldn't be a tremendous amount of work, as the framework's already tehre.
# February 16, 2006 12:17 PM

Fabrice said:

Too bad, Frans. It would have been nicer if you were right about the date ;-)
About stepping in and help with the support for .NET 2.0, no doubt it can be done. But who has the time?

Roger, I haven't managed to use NDoc on my .NET 2.0 assemblies. Maybe if I try harder... I must admit that I haven't tried to understand what the problem was.
# February 16, 2006 12:32 PM

Fabrice said:

Todd, correct me if I am wrong, but GhostDoc doesn't generate HTML Help files, but just helps working with the XML comments in the code.
# February 16, 2006 12:35 PM

todd brooks said:


You are right...I jumped the gun. GhostDoc is not the same type of application as nDoc. my bad
# February 16, 2006 12:38 PM

Fabrice said:

Albert, this is the version I linked to.
But I will give it another try.
# February 16, 2006 1:11 PM

Albert Weinert said:

You're right ... the Version from Jonas Works for me ...
# February 16, 2006 1:16 PM

Ryan Anderson said:

I'm curious.
What do the all the MS heads use in-house for code level documentation? I mean the MSDN white papers have been around for a long time, I can't see it being accomplished by NDoc...? Maybe? Are you Microsoft Cats holding out on us?? ;)
# February 16, 2006 2:01 PM

James Newton-King said:

I totally agree with you Fabrice. There are tons of applications for licensing dlls and obfuscating dlls but practically nothing for documenting them in .NET 2.0. It is quite frustrating.

I read that the person who has done most of the work on NDoc was sick, which is why it hasn't been updated. I think if he can no longer work on NDoc he should say so and step down rather than hang on and do nothing. Hopefully that might motivate some other (generous) person to take over responsibility for the project.
# February 17, 2006 5:27 AM

Fabrice said:

Hello Kevin,

Thanks for sharing this information.
I hope you are getting better. Congratulations for the baby!

Thank you for your much appreciated work on NDoc. This is a really useful tool!

# February 23, 2006 9:13 AM

calli said:


anything new about ndoc 2.0??

# March 7, 2006 9:28 AM

Fabrice said:

You can get in touch with Kevin.
# March 7, 2006 10:07 AM

Anon said:

Hi Kevin,
As everybody else, I am awaiting NDoc 2.0.
I think that if you put a post in the NDoc 2.0 explaining the progress, people won't think this project is dead.
# March 8, 2006 4:18 AM

redsolo said:

Stop complaining and do it yourself. Since NDoc is open source anyone can take the flag and continue to carry it. But nobody wants to, and just complains. Its sad that the community is riddled with leechers who only wants something done and are to lazy to do it themselves. I udnerstand that it stopped developing it as nobody seemed to helped him.

If you need it, build it and they will come (back).

# April 11, 2007 3:40 AM

Melle said:

Ndoc 2005 is working beautifull with just a minor change for the source

# November 22, 2007 8:50 AM