Projects/Kerberos Documentation

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Revision as of 13:30, 18 January 2011 by TomYu (talk | contribs) (Documenting functions: whitespace)

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This is an early stage project for MIT Kerberos. It is being fleshed out by its proponents. Feel free to help flesh out the details of this project. After the project is ready, it will be presented for review and approval.


The goal of the project is to create an infrastructure and process for the future development of the extensive Kerberos documentation.

The documentation will be built incrementally. We will analyze what works and what doesn't and correct the course of action as needed.

The actualized documentation will be useful for developers and administrators, both for experienced ones and newcomers. It will address the following topics:

  • Complete reference - API, internal functions, data types, macros
  • Tutorial for application developers - description on various tasks such as working with credentials, topics on how to write plugins, etc
  • Cookbook for administrators - Installation, configuration, troubleshooting


Please, follow this link for Kerberos documentation example [1].

Details of source documentation

Documenting functions


The following fields must be included in the function documentation and should reside in the source code  :

  1. Function signature
  2. Brief function description
  3. Arguments - [in/out] with description
  4. Return value description
  5. Detailed description (optional)

One can see that Part_1 contains the information that is the most useful for those who update the code and fix the bugs. To avoid the code overcrowding and make any additions to the function documentation as simple as possible, we suggest to save additional documentation ( see below Part_2) in the separate location - one file per function..


The optional fields may include:

  1. See also section to refer to the related functions,
  2. Note section to highlight the specifics of the behaivor
  3. Examples of the usage
  4. Snap-shot of the real code involving this function
  5. Links to KRB5 Wiki Project page, krbdev discussion, RFC document or its section etc
  6. Version of Kerberos when fuction was introduced or became obsolete

Effectively this means that we expect the Doxygen style comments in the headers in the following format:

 * @brief Some brief description
 * Optional  detailed description 
 * @param[in]  arg1  Description of arg1
 * @return Something useful
krb5_X(type arg1) 

Also, when available, we suggest to have Part_2 information associated with the particular function in ReST format. For example:

* Warnings and suggestions
  Warn about any potential mistakes and misuse.
  Point to other useful routines.
 * Links to RFC, wiki Projects, krbdev discussions
  Or if you want to reffer to the specific section of the RFC use the following notation: :rfc:4120#section-5.2
  Or link to Kerberos Project page, for example, Disable_DES project  <http://k5wiki.kerberos.org/wiki/Projects/Disable_DES>
 * Example
    The place for the function usage examples

Workflow: Putting Part_1 and Part_2 together

  1. Configure Doxygen to generate output both in xml and html formats. Run Doxygen.
  2. For each function and data type generate document in ReST format. It is expected that it contains information from Part_1. For the function krb5_X() lets call it krb5_X_p1.
  3. If the Part_2 documentation for krb5_X() has been already written, there is a file called krb5_X_p2.rst in the designated directory. If not - nothing happens.
  4. Concatenate krb5_X_p1 and krb5_X_p2.rst (if it exists), add the link to Doxygen generated documentation for this function in html format (generated automatically) and save as a file krb5_X.rst.
  5. File krb5_X.rst can be used as input for Sphinx

NOTE: Initially we provide Python script to automate steps 2-4. The whole process will be automated later.

Documenting data types


Documentation for application developers


Generally any topic in the Kerberos documentation can cross-reference with function documentation and each other.

How to contribute

  1. The core team - the administrator - posts the initial list of the tasks (such as API, admin tasks, "How to"-s etc) and further supports it. See Projects/Documentation Tasks for more detailed information.
  2. Community can suggest new tasks
  3. The core team provides templates that, if helpful, may be used by the documentation writers. The most desirable format for the contributed documents is ReST as the easiest to integrate with the mainstream documentation.
  4. Community can provide the feedback on the documented tasks.