Generate code documentation xml for ASP.NET 2.0 website

Discussion in 'ASP .Net' started by Carl Johansen, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    I have an ASP.NET 2.0 website in Visual Studio 2005 (ie I open it with File
    | Open Web Site...). I have put XML comments in the source code in the
    App_Code directory (with <summary> tags, etc) and I want to turn these into
    XML files that can then be run through NDoc (along with app_code.dll) to
    produce help files. I've even found an (apparently stable) port of NDoc for
    v2.0 of the framework. So no problem, I'll just go to Project Properties |
    Compile and check the "Generate XML documentation file" box... uh-oh... this
    isn't a project, so there _is_ no Project Properties dialog. Hmmm, maybe
    "aspnet_compiler" has the /doc option... Nope. Wait, I know: I'll add
    "/doc+" to the vbc.rsp file so that it becomes a default compiler option...
    No dice; VS and aspnet_compiler use the /noconfig option, so they ignore the
    defaults. Now what? Does this mean I can't put things in App_Code if I want
    to document them?

    If that's too easy for you, then how about the same question for code-behind
    files? This one was easy in Visual Studio 2003, because these were built
    into one big /bin assembly. But in VS 2005 there seem to be two issues: (1)
    no Project Properties, so no way to set the "generate XML documentation
    file" option, and (2) no obvious assembly containing the code-behind code
    that I can give to NDoc.

    Thanks very much in advance for any ideas you'd care to share.
    Carl Johansen - a blog free zone
    Carl Johansen, Feb 17, 2006
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  2. Carl Johansen

    carlj Guest

    To answer my own question (for VB App_Code directories): I found a
    kludgy workaround. I added a <compilers> section to my web.config (by
    copying what was in my default machine.config). In it I added a
    <compilerOptions> element with "/doc+" as an option. This means that
    when I build the site using VS or aspnet_compiler, a file called
    App_Code.xml is placed in the same random directory under
    C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\Temporary ASP.NET Files
    as App_Code.dll. If you are using aspnet_compiler with an explicit
    target directory, you will find that App_Code.dll gets copied to the
    target directory but App_Code.xml doesn't. I wrote a post-build script
    to search in Temporary ASP.NET Files and copy the latest version of
    App_Code.xml (since the exact location sometimes varies from build to

    I suspect that this trick would not work with a C# site, because in C#
    you don't have the "/doc+" option; you have to specify a filename for
    the xml doc file. Since the VS/aspnet_compiler build processes consist
    of multiple invocations of the compiler, only the last invocation's xml
    file would be available.

    Carl - a blog free zone
    carlj, Feb 26, 2006
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  3. Carl Johansen


    Nov 10, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Can't generate the xml documentation

    In response to your suggested solution with which to get the generation of xml documentation using vb in visual studio 2005, i inserted the following into my web.config:

    Code (Text):
          <compiler language="vb;vbs;visualbasic;_vbscript" extension=".vb" type="Microsoft.VisualBasic.VBCodeProvider, System, Version=1.0.5000.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089" compilerOptions="/doc+"/>
    When i build my app, I still don't get any App_Code.xml file generated. I used a tool i found at your "HOWTO: Generate XML Source Code Comments for Visual Studio 2005 ASP.NET Visual Basic Website App_Code assembly" page which is supposed to search and find the App_Code.xml file and move it to your indicated directory, and it doesn't find anything.
    Is there anything else I need to do?

    I have the comments on my codebefind files - do I need to move these files to the App_Code directory in order to generate the comments?

    I have no idea why I can't generate them, so any help would be great.

    gornhorse, Nov 10, 2008
  4. Carl Johansen


    Jan 15, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I have a similar problem. I have my XML comments in my code-behind files. How do I generate the XML documentation for these?
    Deceth, Jan 15, 2009
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