Understanding the API Documentation

Understanding the API Documentation


If you are already familiar with this type of documentation you can skip this page.

This page aims to help ShapePipe users and developers understand the Application Programming Interface (API) documentation.

What Are API Docs?

The API documentation is designed to communicate in clear way what each class and function in the package does. For example, what inputs they expect, what outputs they provide, and what the various options do. These pages are automatically generated from docstrings (i.e. the sections starting and ending with three double quotes """) written in the code.

Standard API Docs


If an optional argument does not explicitly specify the default parameter value then the user should expect that this means the default will be None, '', [], etc. depending on the input data type.

All the classes/functions include a short description of what they do. This is followed by a Parameters section containing a bullet point list of the expected input arguments. For each parameter you will see in brackets the expected input type (e.g. int, float, list, etc.) followed by a brief description of what the argument is for. Parameters listed as optional in the brackets do not need to be provided and will default to some predefined value.

For functions that return objects a Returns section will follow the Parameters section. This will provide a brief description of what is provided by this function. Following Returns you will always find Return type, which specifies the data type of the returned object.

If the function raises an exception under certain conditions you will find a Raises section containing a bullet point list of the type of exceptions raised. Each point is followed by a short description of the conditions that will lead to the exception being raised.

Some objects may contain a Notes section providing further details for the class/function. Some objects may also contain a See Also section that links to another related object.

Finally, all objects include [source] button that will allow you to view the code implementation for the given class/function. You can switch back to the API docs by clicking the corresponding [docs] button.

ShapePipe Module Docs

In addition to the standard API docs, we provide a description of each ShapePipe module defined in the __init__.py file for each module package. On these pages you will find a header that specifies the package author, the Parent module (i.e. a module that should be run before the module in question), and a brief description of the inputs and outputs. This is followed by a description of the module. Finally, there is a section that defines all of the module-specific config file options. Each option is listed with the exact name that should be added to the config file, followed by the expected value type. Underneath this is a brief description of what this option does. For example, the following option for a module called my_module:


would be included in the config file as follows.


Similarly to the standard API docs, parameters listed as optional do not need to be provided and will default to some predefined value.