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Re: Generate code documentation xml for ASP.NET 2.0 website

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Back in Feb I posted a question about generating the XML file for
source code comments in an ASP.NET website. I then posted a solution
that I found. I have since been asked to provide further details, so I
have written a detailed article (including source code) in . I hope this is
useful to you if you have encountered the same problem that I did.


Here are my original posts:

[ 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
XML files that can then be run through NDoc (along with app_code.dll)
produce help files. I've even found an (apparently stable) port of NDoc
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...
isn't a project, so there _is_ no Project Properties dialog. Hmmm,
"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
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
to document them?

If that's too easy for you, then how about the same question for
files? This one was easy in Visual Studio 2003, because these were
into one big /bin assembly. But in VS 2005 there seem to be two issues:
no Project Properties, so no way to set the "generate XML documentation

file" option, and (2) no obvious assembly containing the code-behind
that I can give to NDoc. ]


[ 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\Temp orary 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. ]

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