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Marc Garcia Torrent
Marc Garcia Torrent

Posted on • Originally published at

How to Use AI for Code Documentation - A DocuWriter Tutorial

Many programmers agree that maintaining up-to-date code documentation is both challenging and extremely boring to create. However, a lack of code documentation can lead to all manner of situations that waste both time and money.

The situation is especially bad in the case of API documentation. Publicly available APIs that lack proper code documentation mean plenty of emails from developers asking for product support.

AI can solve many of the problems with code documentation. However, just throwing some code at ChatGPT and hoping it spews out properly written Swagger API documentation or UML documentation isn’t going to cut it.

That’s why we created, an AI code generation tool that generates precisely the type of documentation you need, following all industry best practices.

How AI fixes the problem with existing code documentation tools AI code documentation AI code documentation tool.

Although various tools have been created to make code documentation easier, these tools work predominantly on extensive code comments that programmers must maintain while they’re coding, which slows down productivity. When the code changes, a programmer must remember to update the comments, too.

The documentation generated from comments also isn’t very reader-friendly. It’s written “for programmers,” which can feel laborious to read.

Ideally, you’d write code documentation newly every time your code changed, analyzing what the new code does and looking for changes. In reality, however, such an approach has been totally unfeasible—until now.

Using AI, you can let programmers do what they do best—write code. Programmers can change code, fix errors, modify method signatures, and do whatever is necessary to improve the codebase without having to stop and think about the documentation—or update it.

The challenges of AI code documentation—and how overcomes them

Several challenges exist when using AI to generate code documentation, such as:

  • Generative AI hallucination.

  • The need to prompt the AI precisely each time it generates code documentation so that it outputs documentation as close to industry standards as possible.

  • User-friendliness.

We’ve integrated generative AI features seamlessly into Docuwriter to overcome each of these failings.

Docuwriter generates highly specific code documentation through an intuitive user, without you needing to prompt it with custom instructions each time. You simply upload a code file and tell the tool what type of code documentation you want to generate.

The best way to learn about something is to see it in action. So, instead of writing a long explanation, let’s show you how the code generation tool works.

Create a account

To get started, register for a Docuwriter AI Code Documentation Tool Account.

After logging in, you’ll find the different types of AI code documentation features on the dashboard, including:

  • Generating comments for your code using AI—a major timesaver.

  • Create a code test suite using AI.

  • Code refactoring using AI.

  • Code conversion using AI, such as our Python to Java AI code converter.

Docuwriter AI code documentation generator tools.

Docuwriter AI code documentation generator tools.

We also offer a free Visual Studio Code Docuwriter extension so you can use Docuwriter inside VSCode.

Swagger/OpenAPI API Documentation tool powered by AI

The OpenAPI Specification (OAS—previously called Swagger) defines how RESTful APIs should be described. It’s an open standard that allows programmers to describe HTTP APIs in a language-agnostic manner.

For this demo, we downloaded a random API file from GitHub—the Gitlab Issues API—and uploaded it to Docuwriter.

Docuwriter generates the Swagger JSON for the API within seconds, including defining the GET and POST endpoints, who to contact, and a human-readable description of what the API does.

Versatile AI-powered Code documentation generator

If writing technical documentation is challenging, then writing End User Documentation is particularly agonizing because it requires so much explanation. Similarly, a code project might need multiple documentation types added for it, such as documenting the database schema or a deployment strategy. This all adds up to immense amounts of time spent on documentation alone. It also adds up to costly fees when hiring specialist technical writers.

Fortunately, Docuwriter’s AI code documentation tool can generate the following types of code documentation:

  • General Documentation

  • API Documentation

  • Library Documentation

  • Database Documentation

  • End-User Documentation

  • Testing Strategy

  • Deployment Documentation

It can also output documentation in 32 human languages, including:

  • English

  • Greek

  • Norwegian

  • Chinese

  • Korean

  • Vietnamese

  • Hindi

  • Bengali

  • Malay

  • Polish

  • Czech

  • Hungarian

  • Turkish

  • Russian

  • Dutch

The tool generates documentation for any widely used programming language, even more obscure languages such as Perl.

We uploaded one of Google’s sample Python scripts to Docuwriter to test some of the code documentation types, starting with General Documentation:

Docuwriter converts a lengthy code file into readable, user-friendly documentation.

Docuwriter converts a lengthy code file into readable, user-friendly documentation.

We then asked Docuwriter to generate a Testing Strategy document—one of the most time-consuming code documentation tasks for a software engineer.

Docuwriter not only worked out what tests the script needed but also described them in an easy-to-understand and comprehensive testing strategy document ready to be delivered to a project manager.

Docuwriter prepares easy-to-understand testing strategy documentation.

Docuwriter prepares an easy-to-understand testing strategy documentation.

Using only a single click, you can generate crucial documentation for each aspect of your project, including detailed documentation on how to deploy the project.

Docuwriter generates comprehensive deployment documentation

Docuwriter generates comprehensive deployment documentation

AI code comments generator

If you’re already using a traditional code documentation tool that relies on DocBlocks to generate code, you can use Docuwriter to generate the correctly formatted DocBlocks from your code, saving your programmers time while they write their code:

Docuwriter generates DocBlocks using AI

Docuwriter generates DocBlocks using AI.

Other features mean programmers can code more and write less

Using Docuwriter’s AI UML generator, you can prepare UML documents to help visualize your code’s workflow. The tool also refactors and optimizes code, saving programmers hours of time.

Paid version users can generate full tree documentation from their GitHub repos.

You can save your generated code documentation into organized spaces to find it easily in the future and search for code easily in the search box.

Documentation is crucial for long-term projects worked on by large teams, as well as for API consumers. However, maintaining comprehensive documentation can quickly put the brakes on a large development project. Docuwriter’s AI code documentation capabilities mean that programmers can code more while writing less, making it easier to meet deadlines while still maintaining industry-best-practice documentation standards.

To get started, open a DocuWriter account today and get started with 5 trial days free and AI code documentation credits.

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