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The preferred way of writing API documentation for Qt-based APIs is with the help of the QDoc documentation tool. QDoc usage on Sailfish OS is supported with the Sailfish QDoc template, which comes with essential usage notes. What follows here is a collection of advanced tips, recommendations and API docs writing conventions.

Tips on writing QDoc based documentation

Links to targets under other documentation projects must be realized the same way as internal links. It is not allowed to hardcode a URL to the location where the documentation is supposed to be published.

Bad example:

\l {} {Foo Bar Documentation}

Not only that such links are not relocatable, they do not work with the offline QCH publication format.

The correct approach is to tell QDoc about the external documentation projects it should consider for link resolution. This is done with the depends variable in qdocconf:

depends = foo-bar

After that the link can be realized simply by mentioning the target title as with internal links.

\l {Foo Bar Documentation}

If the title is not unique, it can be qualified by mentioning the other project name in square brackets.

\l [foo-bar] {Foo Bar Documentation}

It is also necessary to establish a build time dependency to the corresponding documentation package. This should go to the RPM .spec file:

BuildRequires:  foo-bar-doc

There is the rpm.install.excludedocs configuration option to libzypp, which is enabled by default on devices and build targets (not enabled on OBS). This means that when a package is built using the SDK with the default configuration, the above mentioned statement is effectively a no-op and QDoc fails to resolve external links. In order to make it more obvious, the option should be checked and warning issued on the RPM ‘.spec’ file level. Add something like this to the %build section of your RPM .spec file:

if grep -q '^\s*rpm.install.excludedocs\s*=\s*yes' /etc/zypp/zypp.conf; then
    echo -e "\nWARNING: rpm.install.excludedocs is set in /etc/zypp/zypp.conf" \
        "- QDoc will not be able to link foo-bar-doc!\n"

Links that appear as list items on the index page are treated by QDoc as items of the table of contents. Therefore you should not list any external links as list items on the index page.

Bad example:

See also the related documentation:

\li \l [foo-bar] {Foo Bar Documentation}

Not only that listing external items in a table of contents makes little sense, there are also technical issues that makes such links unusable under the offline (QCH) documentation viewer, where the table of contents is represented as the clickable navigation tree.

Common issues with the QDoc configuration file (.qdocconf)

The ‘project’ variable should match the ‘SAILFISH_QDOC.project’ variable in the .pro file

The project variable in .qdocconf determines the index file base name. It needs to match the output directory base name, i.e. what is assigned to the SAILFISH_QDOC.project qmake variable in the .pro file. If these two do not match, other projects are not able to refer to it with the depends variable.

Provided that this is in your .pro file:

SAILFISH_QDOC.project = foo-bar

here is a bad example of setting project inside .qdocconf:

project = Foo Bar API Documentation

Good example:

project = foo-bar
The ‘url’ variable should point where the documentation is published

The url variable is meant to point to the location where the documentation is going to be published. It is used as a base to form external links to the documentation module when it is refered by other modules.

Bad example:

url =

Less bad example would use as the URL. This would be already correct location at the time of writing this documentation, but you should also utilize the BASE_URL variable to enable easy relocation of the online documentation.

Good example:

url = $BASE_URL/foo-bar