My documentation viewer

2009-07-15 05:19:54 -08:00

This is what I use to view Apple’s documentation:

My web browser.
QuickTime/H.264, 960×538, 1.3 MiB

The application is OmniWeb. I have a series of entry points bookmarked in the (hidden) Favorites bar:

(Someday, Carbon will perish from the list, the ones after it will move up, and another framework—probably either QTKit or Core Animation—will become the new ⌘8.)

And yes, those are all file: links.* Your web browser is perfectly capable of displaying web pages stored locally, and that’s all the Apple documentation is: locally-stored web pages.

With this arrangement, I can get to the reference information I’m looking for faster, and I can have multiple references (even multiple definitions) open at once because OmniWeb supports tabbed browsing.

Here are some other pages worth bookmarking:

You can use these and other bookmarks with a nice feature of OmniWeb which has also, more recently, appeared in Google Chrome: You can type any substrings from your bookmarks’ names and URLs into the address bar, separated by whitespace, and it will know what you mean. So, for example, I can type “kt kit”, and OmniWeb knows I mean “QuickTime Kit”; I simply hit return, and it takes me to that framework reference.

UPDATE 2009-09-07: Updated links to Snow Leopard’s docset name (where possible).

* On Leopard, change the docset name to

6 Responses to “My documentation viewer”

  1. John Mclaughlin Says:

    This is really a clever idea — The only gap is you end up with both this and apples viewer (well for me at least) because I depend so much on cmd-double click to bring up docs for a method..

  2. Peter Hosey Says:

    You mean Option, right? (I never use it.) ⌘-double-click takes you to its definition, or its declaration if you’re already looking at the definition.

    Xcode also has a Research Assistant floating panel. I like the idea, but have found it distracting in practice. Maybe I should give it a keyboard shortcut.

  3. Colin Wheeler Says:

    It looks like the iPhone Doc URL is this iPhone Documentation Library

    Cocoa Touch
    Foundation (iPhone)
    Core Foundation (iPhone)

    and so on

  4. Patrick Burleson Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve been struggling with having several Xcode projects open and Cmd-` to try and find the doc window. This will help a lot.

    Although I can’t seem to figure out where to assign keyboard shortcuts to bookmarks in OmniWeb. Is it a preference? On the bookmark itself?

  5. John Mclaughlin Says:

    @peter — Maybe it was option — My fingers know where it is (!)

    I like the idea of the research assistant better than the implementation. Even on relatively powerful, modern, hw it put little annoying delays as you cursor around so I usually turn it off.

  6. Peter Hosey Says:

    Patrick Burleson: Put them in the Favorites category. OmniWeb will assign them ⌘1–9 automatically, according to whatever order you have them in.

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