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Re: [Qemu-devel] Sphinx for QEMU docs? (and a doc-comment format questio

From: Daniel P. Berrange
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] Sphinx for QEMU docs? (and a doc-comment format question)
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2016 13:41:55 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.7.1 (2016-10-04)

On Mon, Nov 07, 2016 at 01:30:45PM +0000, Stefan Hajnoczi wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 05, 2016 at 06:42:23PM +0000, Peter Maydell wrote:
> > In particular I think we could:
> >  * set up a framework for our in-tree docs/ which gives us a
> >    place to put new docs (both for-users and for-developers) --
> >    I think having someplace to put things will reduce the barrier
> >    to people writing useful new docs
> >  * gradually convert the existing docs to rst
> >  * use the sphinx extension features to pull in the doc-comments
> >    we have been fairly consistently writing over the last few years
> >    (for instance a converted version of docs/memory.txt could pull
> >    in doc comments from memory.h; or we can just write simple
> >    wrapper files like a "Bitmap operations" document that
> >    displays the doc comments from bitops.h)
> You are suggesting Sphinx for two different purposes:
> 1. Formatting docs/ in HTML, PDF, etc.
> 2. API documentation from doc comments.
> It's a good idea for #1 since we can then publish automated builds of
> the docs.  They will be easy to view and link to in a web browser.
> I'm not a fan of #2.  QEMU is not a C library that people develop
> against and our APIs are not stable.  There is no incentive for pretty
> doc comments.  It might be cool to set it up once but things will
> deterioate again quickly because we don't actually need external API
> docs.

For shared internal infrastructure code I very much disagree. If I'm
writing something (like a new block driver), I'm relying on a bunch
of existing code that I'm calling. Some of the methods I'm consuming
may be in a library like GLib, other methods may be QEMU internal
infrastructure (like util/*, io/*, cryto/*). Regardless of whether
those methods are internal or from a library, the API docs are very
important / valuable in ensuring I'm understanding the required usage
contract of the method. The lack of API docs for the QEMU block layer
was a major cause of pain for me when writing the LUKS driver.

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