Upgrade the documentation system

From FreeCAD Documentation

This page is dedicated to the description of the Google Summer of Code 2023 project idea of upgrading the documentation system of FreeCAD.

Obsolete: This page has been moved to https://github.com/FreeCAD/FreeCAD/issues/8558


FreeCAD already possesses a vast documentation, written by its users and hosted on this very wiki. On each FreeCAD release, the contents of the wiki get packed into a offline documentation package which is bundled with FreeCAD. When using the "what's this?" feature, FreeCAD users can quickly get documentation about a specific tool

Additionally, this same documentation also has several translations, hosted on the same wiki and managed by a mediawiki plugin, and also counts on the source code structure and comments, automatically extracted by the doxygen tool, and hosted on https://www.freecadweb.org/api/

However there are several problems:

  • The bundled offline doc is often incomplete, due to the difficulty (and size) to pack it all
  • Over a year there are significant differences between the online and offline docs
  • Translations are not available offline
  • The doxygen-generated docs are in a bad state, hard to read and use and don't explain APIs clearly, and confuse C++ and python
  • The wiki is hard to port and back up
  • Add-ons documentation is not well integrated

Additionally, the mediawiki-based documentation is more and more problematic to maintain and back up, and we are looking at transitioning to a more easily portable and redundant system like git-based wikis.

This project proposes to remedy to the main problems by:

- allowing the user to switch between online and offline documentation, and choose between different available languages - extending and bettering the doxygen-generated documentation, with special care for the python API

- working on bettering the current wiki (formatting, linking between pages, navigation, etc) - reimplement the old workbench-defined documentation system, help porting the different addons - adapt the FreeCAD start page to it - adapt the FreeCAD help menu (integrate workbenches and addons help entries) - exploring the different possibilities of git-based documentation, analyzing specially their user-friendliness and ease of edition, and possibilities of maintaining large translations easily and automatically (for ex. connecting with translation platforms) and propose migration workflows


  • Get familiar with FreeCAD and the contents of the wiki
  • Successfully compile FreeCAD (you'll be working in C++) and the Doxygen docs
  • Understand how Doxygen works and specifically how it treats C++ and Python differently
  • Work on the FreeCAD C++ source code (modify the whats'this and documentation system, work on the Help menu)
  • Work on the in-source code documentation
  • Work on the wiki documentation
  • Explore and document available open-source documentation systems

Expected Outcome

  • A better documentation system inside FreeCAD
  • Documentation. Like all open-source projects, it is of uttermost importance to document a lot everything you do. This allows for other people to take on and extend your work more easily.
  • Proposals of migration to a better documentation system that would still keep FreeCAD users happy and eager to write and translate

Project Properties


  • Programming language: C++, but understanding some Python will be necessary
  • Readiness to work with documentation, reasonably good english writing skills



Project size


Additional Information