Created: 2008-05-02 05:46
Updated: 2019-01-14 01:18
License: mit


Hanna — a better RDoc template

Hanna is an RDoc template that scales. It's implemented in Haml, making the sources clean and readable. It's built with simplicity, beauty and ease of browsing in mind. (See more in the wiki.)

Hanna gem is available from Gemcutter:

gem install hanna

The template was created by Mislav and since then has seen contributions from:

  1. Tony Strauss, who participated from the early start and made tons of fixes and enhancements to the template;
  2. Hongli Lai with the search filter for methods.


There is a command-line tool installed with the Hanna gem:

hanna -h

This is a wrapper over rdoc and it forwards all the parameters to it. Manual usage would require specifying Hanna as a template when invoking RDoc on the command-line:

rdoc -o doc --inline-source --format=html -T hanna lib/*.rb

Hanna requires the --inline-source (or -S) flag.

An alternative is to set the RDOCOPT environment variable:

RDOCOPT="-S -f html -T hanna"

This will make RDoc always use Hanna unless it is explicitly overridden.

Another neat trick is to put the following line in your .gemrc:

rdoc: --inline-source --line-numbers --format=html --template=hanna

This will make RubyGems use Hanna when generating documentation for installed gems.

Rake task

For repeated generation of API docs, it's better to set up a Rake task. If you already have an RDocTask set up in your Rakefile, the only thing you need to change is this:

# replace this:
require 'rake/rdoctask'
# with this:
require 'hanna/rdoctask'

Tip: you can do this in the Rakefile of your Rails project before running rake doc:rails.

Here is an example of a task for the will_paginate library:

# instead of 'rake/rdoctask':
require 'hanna/rdoctask'

desc 'Generate RDoc documentation for the will_paginate plugin.'
Rake::RDocTask.new(:rdoc) do |rdoc|
  rdoc.rdoc_files.include('README.rdoc', 'LICENSE', 'CHANGELOG').
  rdoc.main = "README.rdoc" # page to start on
  rdoc.title = "will_paginate documentation"
  rdoc.rdoc_dir = 'doc' # rdoc output folder
  rdoc.options << '--webcvs=http://github.com/mislav/will_paginate/tree/master/'

Generating documentation for installed gems

You can generate documentation for installed gems, which might be more convenient than the gem rdoc command with the +RDOCOPT+ environment variable set as described. For instance, to generate docs for "actionpack" and "activerecord" type:

[sudo] hanna --gems actionpack activerecord

You can help

Don't like something? Think you can design better? (You probably can.)

I think of Hanna as the first RDoc template that's actually maintainable. First thing I have done is converted the original HTML template to Haml and Sass, cleaning up and removing the (ridiculous amount of) duplication. Also, the template fragments are now in separate files.

Ultimately, I'd like to lose the frameset. Currently that is far from possible because the whole RDoc HTML Generator is built for frames. Still, that is my goal.

This is git. Fork it, hack away, tell me about it!

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies Learn more