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Literate Programming in C# and .NET Core

LiterateCS is a Literate Programming tool that produces clear, professional-looking documentation automatically from your C# projects. It parses C# code files and extracts markdown documentation from comments. Alternatively you can write your documentation in separate markdown files and interleave pieces of code in them by referring to C# regions. LiterateCS can then create either a simple markdown output that you can upload to your project's wiki pages, or it can generate a full-blown static web site that you can host in GitHub Pages.

The idea of literate programming differs from the usual way of thinking about technical documentation. Instead of documentation being an afterthough which is taken care of after the project is done, literate programming encourages you to document your code while you are writing it. Also, you don't write your documentation as an API reference like with xmldoc comments, but rather like text of an essay, explaining the things that need explaining and skipping the obvious parts.

To get an idea about how this works in practice, refer to the literate documentation created from this project. It can be found at:

Other examples of documentation created with LiterateCS can be found at:


To create your first literate program install first the literatecs tool with command line:

> dotnet tool install -g literatecs

Then install the project template.

> dotnet new -i LiterateCS.Templates.LiterateLib.CSharp

After that create a new directory and the project skeleton.

> mkdir MyLiteratePony
> cd MyLiteratePony
> dotnet new literatelib

You should now have files for your class library created. You can build the project with.

> dotnet build

To check what you got, you can open your project in Visual Studio Code (this step is optional).

> code .

You should see the following project structure.

...VSCode screenshot...

Finally you can create the documentation from your project with:

> literatecs

To see the generated documentation open the docs/index.html page in a web browser.

...Generated docs in browser...

Download and Installation

The project was initially written for .NET Framework, but I recently modified it to target .NET Core 2.1. It is available in as an .NET Core global tool.

See the installation instructions for more details. Documentation of the command line options and usage examples can be found here.

Bug Reports & Feedback

If you find a bug or want to suggest a feature, you can submit an issue.

If you want to contribute to the development, let me know. All help is appreciated.