Live Documenter Export goes to Alpha

ExportTo celebrate the release of Live Documenter to alpha testing, we are going to give you a preview of some of the changes and enhancements over the next few weeks. To start, here is a preview of the export functionality.

The Live Documenter has always been about quick and easy and we have been working to make sure you don’t have to suffer another 40 minute export. Quick exports and the ability to see your documentation without waiting for the export to complete make the Live Documenter great.

Output Formats

Currently Live Documenter can export to Web (HTML/XHTML), XML, HTML Help 1, HTML Help 2 and MS Help Viewer. These are based on an XSLT/XML conversion process which allows greater flexibility over the output and styling. The first set of exporters are styled in the lightweight MSDN website style.

The web output is XHTML transitional but can be updated and extended easily to HTML 5. It is easy to style and customise (as are all the output formats).

The Process

One of the advantages of using the Live Documenter is that it is live, being able to see your documentation before its exported saves you time in the long run. So after you are happy with the documentation you can press that export button.

View your documentation live

When you click the export button you are presented with the export dialogue which gives you some very simple options. What is the output location, which members do you want to export and finally what kind of output would you like. All there is left to do is hit that Export button.

Select your output

You won’t have to wait to long.

Blink and you'll miss it

Web documentation done.

Web documentation

Technical Details

Export Configurations

Live Documenter will use a Live Documenter Export Configuration (LDEC) file to determine how your documentation will be exported. This file is ZIP compressed set of files, the most important of which is the export.config file. This XML file tells Live Documenter which XSLT stylesheet to use, which exporter to instantiate and what style sheets/images etc to output. Here is an example of the file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<export xmlns:xsi="">
    <name>Web Export: MSDN Lo Band Style</name>
    <description>A wesbite export of the documentation in the MSDN Lo Band web 
    <author>The Box Software</author>
        <file internal="styles/default.css" output="stylesdefault.css" />
        <file internal="styles/images/" output="stylesimages" />

More details on how to create your own LDEC files will be published later.

Intermediate XML

Live Documenter produces an intermediate XML file which is rich with information about the types, syntax, references, and your comments. This file forms the basis for all the exporters.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<member id="25769951544" subId="" type="properties">
    <name safename="Namespace">Namespace</name>
    <namespace id="25769803776" name="TheBoxSoftware.Reflection">
    <assembly file="TheBoxSoftware.Reflection.dll">
        <text>Returns the namespace for the current class. This is obtained from the
	types metadata.</text>
        <syntax language="C#">
	    <text> </text>
	    <text> </text>
	    <text> {</text>
             <text>When the class </text><see id="25769951550">IsNested</see>
             <text> the namespace returned is the namespace of the enclosing type. 
             Where the class is nested multiple times each nested class is
             checked until one its containers defines a namespace and that is

We hope this is enough to whet your appetite. Keep checking back for more updates and information.


  1. Live Documenter Alpha-Version

    I work with Live Documenter, it is very simple and very useful for me. That is why I’m interested for your new Alpha version. Can you send me (or can I download) more free updates and information?

    Thank you
    Ernst Jedele CH 8400 Winterthur Brünnelihöhestrasse 2

    • Hi thanks for your interest. Unfortunately the Alpha version is a limited release. But more information about the Live Documenter and the enhancements in the new version will be published on this site.

  2. Hi,

    Any updates on this?
    When will go to public? Can’t wait to use it.


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