Picking up a project that you are passionate about can be very easy, but it can also be a burden at the same time. I was given the opportunity just over 4 years ago to lead the AutoCAD developer documentation, which for me was very near and dear to me as I was a consumer of the developer documentation for about 10 years prior to joining Autodesk. Since I had experience with developing custom solutions for AutoCAD and AutoCAD-based products, I had my personal experience to lean on but as we all know everyone's experience is very different. Getting an understanding of how others work and their needs for developer documentation is why the AutoCAD Developer Documentation Survey came into existence. The most recent survey was conducted in early 2016 (148 responded), and the first one was conducted in early 2013 (405 responded).
For a summary of the results from the most recent AutoCAD Developer Documentation Survey, see AutoCAD Developer Documentation Survey (Follow-up) - Part 1.
The results from those two surveys have helped to shape the developer documentation into what it has become today. The following outlines the many enhancements that have been influenced by the survey responses over the past 4 years along with other improvements made since AutoCAD 2012:
- Re-introduced a traditional table of contents for the developer documentation.
- A CHM version of the Managed .NET Developer's Guide is now part of the ObjectARX SDK.
- XML documentation for the AutoCAD Managed .NET libraries is now part of the ObjectARX SDK.
- Remaining Managed .NET related content in the ObjectARX Developer's Guide was moved to and integrated into the Managed .NET Developer's Guide.
- Initial release of the XML documentation made available for the AutoCAD Managed .NET libraries; documentation is accessible via tooltips and the Object Browser in Microsoft Visual Studio. Files were also made available for AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD 2016 versions of the Managed .NET libraries.
- Improved performance of the ObjectARX and Managed .NET Reference topics in the integrated help that can be accessed from within Microsoft Visual Studio 2015.
- Added short descriptions to the Search results displayed in the Microsoft Help Viewer that is part of Microsoft Visual Studio.
- A CHM version of the Managed .NET Developer's Guide was made available for download from the AutoCAD Developer Center on Autodesk.com.
- CUI library documentation was moved from the ObjectARX Developer's Guide to the Managed .NET Developer's Guide.
For more information see, AutoCAD 2017 ObjectARX and Managed .NET Documentation and What's New In the AutoCAD 2017 APIs and Developer Documentation.
- Introduction of the CAD Standards Plug-in and Transmittal API reference documentation in the AutoCAD product documentation, previously only available as part of the ObjectARX Reference Guide in the ObjectARX SDK.
- Improved the content of the Transmittal API reference documentation to include sample code that was previously written for an AU session that never ran.
- Improved the content of the CAD Standards Plug-in reference documentation to include sample code based on one of my past AU sessions.
- Introduction of an alphabetical list for DCL tiles and predefined attributes.
For more information see, AutoCAD 2016 Developer Documentation Changes.
- Introduction of Developer Documentation Home page in the AutoCAD product documentation.
- Flat landing pages were introduced for the AutoLISP Developer's and Reference documentation, ActiveX Developer's and Reference documentation, General Customization documentation, and Managed .NET Developer's documentation.
- AutoLISP Reference documentation was restructured to be platform neutral (cover both Windows and Mac OS) and all function topics were redone for consistency.
- ActiveX Developer's and Reference Guides added to the AutoCAD product documentation; content was also restructured for consistency.
For more information see, AutoCAD 2015 Developer Documentation Changes.
- Introduced a historical listing of AutoLISP function changes that covered AutoCAD 2009 and later.
- Initial release of the CAD Administration content.
- ActiveX Developer's and Reference Guides were made available as CHM files via the AutoCAD product installation.
- Classmap.dwg that ships with the ObjectARX SDK was updated to include the ActiveX inheritance and object map.
- Updated the samples in the ActiveX Reference Guide and introduced versions of each sample written in AutoLISP in addition to the VBA samples.
For more information, see AutoCAD 2014 API and Developer Documentation Changes and AutoLISP Documentation Updates - Windows and Mac.
- ActiveX Developer's and Reference Guides were made available as CHM files once again and could be downloaded from the AutoCAD Developer Center on Autodesk.com.
- Introduced a historical listing of ActiveX member changes that covered AutoCAD 2000 and later.
- Initial release of the ObjectARX and Managed .NET Reference Guides to work with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.
While many improvements have been made in recent years to the AutoCAD developer documentation, there is still much work to do. If you have any comments or feedback about the AutoCAD developer documentation, I would like to hear from you.