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Learning Python, 5th Edition by Mark Lutz

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Chapter 15. The Documentation Interlude

This part of the book concludes with a look at techniques and tools used for documenting Python code. Although Python code is designed to be readable, a few well-placed human-accessible comments can do much to help others understand the workings of your programs. As we’ll see, Python includes both syntax and tools to make documentation easier. In particular, the PyDoc system covered here can render a module’s internal documentation as either plain text in a shell, or HTML in a web browser.

Although this is something of a tools-related concept, this topic is presented here partly because it involves Python’s syntax model, and partly as a resource for readers struggling to understand Python’s toolset. For the latter purpose, I’ll also expand here on documentation pointers first given in Chapter 4. As usual, because this chapter closes out its part, it also ends with some warnings about common pitfalls and a set of exercises for this part of the text, in addition to its chapter quiz.

Python Documentation Sources

By this point in the book, you’re probably starting to realize that Python comes with an amazing amount of prebuilt functionality—built-in functions and exceptions, predefined object attributes and methods, standard library modules, and more. And we’ve really only scratched the surface of each of these categories.

One of the first questions that bewildered beginners often ask is: how do I find information on all the built-in tools? This section ...

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