What is sdoc?

SDoc is an HTML template built on top of the RDoc documentation generator for Ruby code.

Provided are two command-line tools you get when you installing the gem:

  • sdoc - command line tool to run rdoc with generator=shtml (searchable HTML)
  • sdoc-merge - command line tool to merge multiple sdoc folders into a single documentation site

Getting Started

# Install the gem
gem install sdoc

# Generate documentation for 'projectdir'
sdoc projectdir


sdoc is simply a wrapper for the rdoc command line tool. See sdoc --help for more details.

When using the sdoc command, --fmt is set to shtml by default. The default template (or -T option) is set to shtml, but you can also use the direct template when generating documentation.


sdoc -o doc/rails -T direct rails


sdoc-merge is useful tool for combining multiple projects documentation into one HTML website. See sdoc-merge --help for more details.

Usage: sdoc-merge [options] directories
    -n, --names [NAMES]              Names of merged repositories. Comma separated
    -o, --op [DIRECTORY]             Set the output directory
    -t, --title [TITLE]              Set the title of merged file


sdoc-merge --title "Ruby v1.9, Rails v2.3.2.1" --op merged --names "Ruby,Rails" ruby-v1.9 rails-v2.3.2.1

Rake Task

If you want, you can setup a task in your Rakefile for generating your project's documentation via the rake rdoc command.

# Rakefile
require 'sdoc' # and use your RDoc task the same way you used it before
require 'rdoc/task' # ensure this file is also required in order to use `RDoc::Task` do |rdoc|
  rdoc.rdoc_dir = 'doc/rdoc'      # name of output directory
  rdoc.options << '--format=sdoc' # explictly set the sdoc generator
  rdoc.template = 'rails'         # template used on

NOTE: If you don't set template the default "sdoc" template is chosen, with a lighter color scheme.

Now you can execute this command with rake rdoc, to compile the documentation for the current project directory.

Alternatively you can pass this command a path to the project you wish to compile: rake rdoc path/to/project.


As mentioned before, SDoc is built on top of the RDoc project.

If you notice any bugs in the output of your documentation, it may be RDoc's fault and should be reported upstream.

An example of an SDoc bug would be:

  • Exception is raised when merging project documentation (ala sdoc-merge)
  • Error or warning in JavaScript or HTML found in your browser
  • Generation fails with some exception (likely due to incompatibility with RDoc)

Please feel free to still report issues here for both projects, especially if you aren't sure.

As maintainer of both projects, I'll see if I can identify the root of the cause :bow: :bow: :bow:


If you'd like to contribute you can generate the Rails main branch documentation by running:

rake test:rails

You can generate the Ruby default branch documentation by running:

rake test:ruby

You can generate merged Rails and Ruby documentation by running:

rake test:merged

The generated documentation will be put into doc/public directory. To view the just generated documentation start up a rack application by running:


Then open http://localhost:9292 in the browser to view the documentation.