Docset Generation Guide


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 docsets from:

Generation script examples:

Improve your docset:

Docset Sources#


1. AppleDoc (Objective-C Source Files)#


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 in Preferences > Downloads > Cocoa Docsets.

When you're done generating your docset, check out some tips on how to improve it.

2. Python, Sphinx or PyDoctor-Generated Documentation#


Use http://pypi.python.org/pypi/doc2dash to generate docsets from Python, Sphinx or PyDoctor-generated documentation. When you're done generating your docset, check out some tips on how to improve it.

3. Javadoc-Generated Documentation#


Use https://github.com/Kapeli/javadocset to generate docsets from Javadoc-generated documentation. When you're done generating your docset, check out some tips on how to improve it.

You can also install docsets for Java libraries that are on Maven.org from Preferences > Downloads > Java Docsets.

4. RDoc or Yard-Generated Documentation#


You can install docsets for any Ruby Gem from Preferences > Downloads > Ruby Docsets.

5. Scaladoc-Generated Documentation#


Use https://bitbucket.org/inkytonik/mkscaladocset to generate docsets from Scaladoc-generated documentation. When you're done generating your docset, check out some tips on how to improve it.

You can also install docsets for Scala libraries that are on Maven.org from Preferences > Downloads > Scala Docsets.

6. GoDoc-Generated Documentation#


You can install docsets for any Go Package from Preferences > Downloads > Go Docsets.

7. Doxygen (Source Files: C, C++, C#, PHP, Objective-C, Java, Python)#


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, check out some tips on how to improve your docset.

8. Any HTML Documentation#


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

8.1. Create the Docset Folder#


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.

8.2. Copy the HTML Documentation#


Copy the HTML documentation you already have to this folder:

<docset name>.docset/Contents/Resources/Documents/

8.3. Create the Info.plist File#


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.

8.4. Create the SQLite Index#


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 to the index by also using this query:

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

8.5. Populate the SQLite Index#


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.

You can find a few generation script examples here.

8.5.1. Supported Entry Types#

    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.

8.6. Table of Contents Support (optional)#


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 anchors need to be inserted in the HTML pages themselves.

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:

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 this 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#


Improve Your Docset#


2. Set an Index Page#


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.

3. Add an Icon#


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 or 32x32. For Retina display support, you can either use a single 32x32 icon or 2 separate icons: icon.png (16x16) and icon@2x.png (32x32).

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

4. Support Online Redirection#


Starting with version 3.0, Dash users can open the online version of pages inside docsets. To do that, Dash needs to know where to find the online pages for your docset.

You have 2 options to support online redirection:

  • Set the DashDocSetFallbackURL key in your docset's Info.plist. The value should be the base URL of the docs. Example: https://docs.python.org/3/library/
  • Alternatively, add a HTML comment inside each and every HTML file of your docset. The comment needs to be added next to the <html> tag of the pages and should look like this:

    <html><!-- Online page at https://docs.python.org/3/library/intro.html -->

5. Enable JavaScript#


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.

6. Host a Docset Feed#


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: 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>).

7. Share a Docset Feed#


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).

Example: