See Your XML Docs As You Type With CR Documentor

2 minute read


Almost 10 years ago now I used to be a Java developer in Motorola. After a long hiatus in the embedded systems and a job change, I have come back to enterprise development, this time in .Net.

I remembered that in the good ol’ days it required 2 steps to see the final rendering of the XML documentation: firing javadoc (usually from within an ANT task) and the open up the content in a browser.

I was quite surprised to see that in the .Net area seeing the final output of the docs was not as straightforward as I hoped for. Yes, there was NDoc to parse the XML, but its development stopped around 2005 and it’s doesn’t support anything beyond C# 2.0. There’s also Sandcastle, but to make it work for me it has required a few downloads and a bit of tweaking here and there. And integrating it into my NAnt task had not been that easy either. But somehow in the end I have pulled that out.

Therefore I have been pleasantly surprised when I met CR Documentor, a little plug-in for visual studio that let’s you see your XML documentation as you write it. It’s almost like having a WYSIWYG editor, without having to launch Sandcastle, wait for the complete build, and open up the browser.


  • cr_documentor-logoRequirements:
    • Visual Studio 2005 or greater (I am pretty confident that you need at least a Professional version as opposed to Express). I am running it on Visual Studio Team System 2008, not sure whether it works also on 2010.
    • The DXCore plugin framework from DevExpress. Possibly the best (and only?) way to get it is to get through the excellent free CodeRush Xpress for C# and VB
  • Download the plugin: CR Documentor is hosted at Google Code at this link.
  • Copy the dll in your DX-Core plugin-folder (C:\Users\\Documents\DevExpress\IDE Tools\Community\PlugIns)
  • Restart Visual Studio


  1. CR Documentor adds itself in the right click menu, close to the bottom. From the submenu, choose “Show CR_Documentor window”.CR_documentor-1
  2. A new window opens up in floating mode (I prefer to dock-it to the right side together with my solution explorer and luckily the plug-in remembers this choice every time I open the window after closing it and at startup).image
  3. Now every time your cursor is on an XML doc, you can see the preview in the Documentor window. See for example when I put the cursor on the XML doc of a class: I get a complete picture of the documentation for that class and its methods all in real time.
  4. There are a few other features that I don’t use very often. All of them are accessible by the right-click content sensitive menu:


Like all DXCore plugins, you can access to the configuration by pressing ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+O combination. I like to check all my options to Sandcastle because that’s the tool that I will be using to create the final XML documentation.


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