Hi Timothy,

This is not something I'm very familiar with, but maybe I can still add a little to the discussion by answering both of your messages together.


On 21/2/2019 10:18 PM, Timothy Wrona wrote:
Perhaps there is a standard location to "install" the documentation when running the install command for a project?

Either way having it as an "index.html" file somewhere on the hard-disk is not very intuitive. It would make much more sense for it to be on a web server where you can access it with a sensible URL.


You're right that it isn't intuitive, but then you're assuming that users will all install a (Apache, etc.) web server. And many users do not.

If you're doing cross-platform development, then I am fairly sure that most of the people I know who use Microsoft Windows do not install a web server.

On my Ubuntu-based computer, I have installed a local version of the Boost library. The HTML documentation is installed in: $BOOST_ROOT/doc/html/ . In my case, $BOOST_ROOT is /usr/local/boost_<version>/, but some people might install it in /opt, for example.

As for your 3 questions, I don't know the definitive answer but my gut feeling is:


     >   1.
     >
     >   Is there a standard location to put the
    documentation once it is built
     >   where it makes it very clear to the users of a
    library that documentation
     >   is available for a library?


For packages installed using Ubuntu's package management system, documentation tends to go to /usr/share/doc/ or /usr/share/man/. But I'm sure the path is different for CentOS, RedHat, etc.

If you're not installing software through a package manager, then the documentation probably goes into /usr/local or /opt (See: https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/11544/what-is-the-difference-between-opt-and-usr-local).

For software that I've developed myself, I've placed the documentation together with the software, similar to the Boost library. That is, within the root directory, I threw it into a directory called doc/. If sysadmin access is required and it goes into /usr/local/<software>/, then like Boost, it would go inside that directory.

With other people's programs that I've downloaded myself, I normally look in the root directory (of that program) for a doc/ directory too. So, perhaps the answer to your question about "standard location" is to just ask yourself if your role was reversed -- i.e., you're just a user -- where would you look for documentation?


     >   2.
     >
     >   How can I ensure that every time my library is
    built, the documentation
     >   will be *automatically *updated and placed in this
    standard location?


Since this is your software and you wrote the CMake file, as long as you've defined and then fixed the installation target from version to version, then it should be ok.

I don't know what kind of automation you were looking for. Someone still has to do a "cmake ..; make; make install" or something like that. You're not talking about automation along the lines of some cron job, are you?


     >   3.
     >
     >   Is there any standard way to keep past versions of
    documentation for
     >   reference in case someone is using an earlier
    version of the library?


I think when you've asked "standard way", it sounds like you're looking for Doxygen and/or CMake having standardized the location. But, based on my examples above, it seems it is OS dependent.

And it depends whether you're distributing the source files or the binaries only (i.e., like an Ubuntu/Debian .deb package). In the case of the former, you've defined it using your CMake file. In the latter case, you've compiled it and then wrote some instructions for Debian's package management software so that the documentation goes into /usr/share/doc, /usr/share/man/, etc.

Just my 2 cents...I'm happy to hear what others think.

Ray


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