Instructions on how to generate docsets and docset feeds (for Dash) are found below. There is no method that is best for every case, so you’ll have to consider all and decide which is the best for you. When your docset is ready, please contribute it to Dash.

Generate a docset from:

AppleDoc can be used to generate docsets from Objective-C source files. Please note that if you are trying to generate a docset for an Objective-C framework, it's very likely that a docset for that framework is already available at CocoaDocs.org.

Here's an example of how to use AppleDoc:

appledoc --project-name "Cocos2D" --project-company "Kapeli" --company-id com.kapeli --ignore ".m" --explicit-crossref --keep-undocumented-objects --keep-undocumented-members --no-repeat-first-par --no-warn-missing-arg --no-warn-undocumented-object --no-warn-undocumented-member --no-warn-empty-description --docset-bundle-id "cocos2d" --docset-bundle-name "Cocos2D" --keep-intermediate-files --output ~/Desktop/Cocos2D .
When you're done generating your docset, scroll down to the bottom of this page where you'll find some tips on how to improve it.
Use http://pypi.python.org/pypi/doc2dash to generate docsets from Python, Sphinx or PyDoctor-generated documentation. When you're done generating your docset, scroll down to the bottom of this page where you'll find some tips on how to improve it.
Use https://github.com/Kapeli/javadocset to generate docsets from Javadoc-generated documentation. When you're done generating your docset, scroll down to the bottom of this page where you'll find some tips on how to improve it.
You can install docsets for any Ruby Gem from Preferences > Downloads.
Use https://bitbucket.org/inkytonik/mkscaladocset to generate docsets from Scaladoc-generated documentation. When you're done generating your docset, scroll down to the bottom of this page where you'll find some tips on how to improve it.

Doxygen can generate docsets from source files of C, C++, C#, PHP, Objective-C, Java, Python (and some others).

These are the entries you need to add into your Doxygen config file to make it generate a docset (note: the last 3 entries are optional):

GENERATE_DOCSET   = YES
DISABLE_INDEX     = YES 
SEARCHENGINE      = NO
GENERATE_TREEVIEW = NO
When Doxygen is done generating the documentation, run make inside the generated folder. Afterwards, scroll down to the bottom of this page where you'll find some tips on how to improve your docset.

Docsets are essentially just a folder containing the documentation and a SQLite database that indexes the files.

Instructions:

The docset folder structure can be created using this Terminal command:

mkdir -p <docset name>.docset/Contents/Resources/Documents/

You can also manually create the docset structure if you want, they're just folders.
Copy the HTML documentation you already have in the <docset name>.docset/Contents/Resources/Documents/ folder.
Download and edit this sample Info.plist and place it in the <docset name>.docset/Contents/ folder. Editing should be straightforward, just set the values to whatever name you want for your docset.

Create a SQLite database in the file <docset name>.docset/Contents/Resources/docSet.dsidx with the following query:

CREATE TABLE searchIndex(id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, name TEXT, type TEXT, path TEXT);

Recommended: you can easily prevent adding duplicate entries in the index by also using this query:

CREATE UNIQUE INDEX anchor ON searchIndex (name, type, path);

You need to create a script (or application or whatever) that will go through your HTML documentation and add appropriate rows into the SQLite database. Rows can be added using this query:

INSERT OR IGNORE INTO searchIndex(name, type, path) VALUES ('name', 'type', 'path');

The values are:

  • name is the name of the entry. For example, if you are adding a class, it would be the name of the class. This is the column that Dash searches.
  • type is the type of the entry. For example, if you are adding a class, it would be “Class”. For a list of types that Dash recognises, see below.
  • path is the relative path towards the documentation file you want Dash to display for this entry. It can contain an anchor (#). Alternatively, Dash also supports http:// URL entries.
Annotation
Attribute
Binding
Builtin
Callback
Category
Class
Command
Component
Constant
Constructor
Define
Delegate
Diagram
Directive
Element
Entry
Enum
Environment
Error
Event
Exception
Extension
Field
File
Filter
Framework
Function
Global
Guide
Hook
Instance
Instruction
Interface
Keyword
Library
Literal
Macro
Method
Mixin
Modifier
Module
Namespace
Notation
Object
Operator
Option
Package
Parameter
Plugin
Procedure
Property
Protocol
Provider
Provisioner
Query
Record
Resource
Sample
Section
Service
Setting
Shortcut
Statement
Struct
Style
Subroutine
Tag
Test
Trait
Type
Union
Value
Variable
Word

Please contact me if none of the currently supported types are suitable for what you're trying to index.

To allow easy navigation inside a large page, Dash is able to show a table of contents at the bottom left. This feature is described in the user guide.

Please note that adding table of contents support is a bit tricky (and optional).

When Dash displays a documentation page, it also looks for special anchors inside the HTML and generates a table of contents. To add table of contents support, you need to go through all the HTML pages and insert anchors in a format that Dash understands.

The format for the anchors is:

<a name="//apple_ref/cpp/Entry Type/Entry Name" class="dashAnchor"></a>

The only things that you need to change in the format above are:

  • Entry type, which should be one of the supported entry types.
  • Entry name, which is the name that should be shown by Dash in the table of contents. Preferably, this should be percent escaped.

You can see an example of how to insert anchors at https://github.com/jkozera/zeal/blob/master/gendocsets/extjs/parse.py (in Python).

You'll also need to add a entry in the docset's Info.plist:

<key>DashDocSetFamily</key>
<string>dashtoc</string>

Some notes:

  • You should URL encode (percent escape) the "Entry Name" if it contains symbols.
  • After changing the Info.plist, you should remove the docset from Preferences > Docsets and re-add it.
  • Do not hesitate to contact me if you are having problems with this. The process is a bit confusing.

Generation script examples:


When your docset is ready, you can:

Dash displays an index page when you highlight a docset in the documentation browser. If Dash can’t find a suitable index page automatically, you can specify it inside the Info.plist by adding the following entry:

<key>dashIndexFilePath</key>
<string>index.html</string>

The path can also be a http:// URL.

After adding the index, remove and re-add the docset in Dash’s Preferences.

To set a custom icon for your docset, simply add a "icon.png" file directly inside the docset bundle. For example, the file path would be <docset name>.docset/icon.png. The size of the icon should be 16x16. For Retina-display support, use a multi-resolution TIFF (with the sizes 16x16 and 32x32), or a 32x32 PNG. Please note that icons of any size will also work, but it's highly recommended that you provide the exact size (16x16 and 32x32), as otherwise searching the docset in Dash might be slowed down because the icons have to be resized.

After adding the icon, remove and re-add the docset in Dash’s Preferences.

By default, Dash does not allow external .js scripts. You can enable them by adding this entry to the docset’s Info.plist:

<key>isJavaScriptEnabled</key><true/>
After adding this entry, remove and re-add the docset in Dash’s Preferences.

Important: It is highly recommended that you contribute your docset to Dash instead of setting up a docset feed. Docset feeds should only be used for docsets which only you, your team or very few users find useful.

Documentation feeds allow Dash users to conveniently install and update docsets. If you want to distribute a docset you should set up a feed for it, so that you'll be able to update it in the future.

Dash documentation feeds are very simple, check one out at http://kapeli.com/NodeJS_Sample.xml.

It’s a XML file that contains the following:

  • A root <entry> element
    • A <version> element. You can use any versioning system you want. Dash will use string comparison to determine whether or not to download an update.
    • One or several <url> elements. These point to the URL of the archived docset.

To archive your docset, use the following command:

tar --exclude='.DS_Store' -cvzf <docset name>.tgz <docset name>.docset
Currently only one docset per feed is supported (only one <entry>).

You can share docset feeds using a custom URL scheme, which will allow Dash to subscribe to that feed with a single click.

dash-feed://<URL encoded feed URL>

By URL encoded, I mean percent-encoding (e.g. what you’d get by clicking the encode button here).

Examples: