Gall Gall - 1 month ago 15
Python Question

How to properly write cross-references to external documentation with intersphinx?

I'm trying to add cross-references to external API into my documentation but I'm facing three different behaviors.

I am using sphinx(1.3.1) with Python(2.7.3) and my intersphinx mapping is configured as:

{
'python': ('https://docs.python.org/2.7', None),
'numpy': ('http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/', None),
'cv2' : ('http://docs.opencv.org/2.4/', None),
'h5py' : ('http://docs.h5py.org/en/latest/', None)
}


I have no trouble writing a cross-reference to numpy API with
:class:`numpy.ndarray`
or
:func:`numpy.array`
which gives me, as expected, something like numpy.ndarray.

However, with h5py, the only way I can have a link generated is if I omit the module name. For example,
:class:`Group`
(or
:class:`h5py:Group`
) gives me Group but
:class:`h5py.Group`
fails to generate a link.

Finally, I cannot find a way to write a working cross-reference to OpenCV API, none of these seems to work:

:func:`cv2.convertScaleAbs`
:func:`cv2:cv2.convertScaleAbs`
:func:`cv2:convertScaleAbs`
:func:`convertScaleAbs`


How to properly write cross-references to external API, or configure intersphinx, to have a generated link as in the numpy case?

Answer

I gave another try on trying to understand the content of an objects.inv file and hopefully this time I inspected numpy and h5py instead of only OpenCV's one.

How to read an intersphinx inventory file

Despite the fact that I couldn't find anything useful about reading the content of an object.inv file, it is actually very simple with the intersphinx module.

from sphinx.ext.intersphinx import fetch_inventory
import warnings

uri = 'http://docs.python.org/2.7/'

# Read inventory into a dictionnary
inv = fetch_inventory(warnings, uri, uri + 'objects.inv')

Here I use the warnings module as the first parameter instead of an app instance because if you fetch an online uri, only the app.warn function is used in case of failure. A real app (or a duck-typed one) will be needed if you want to read a local objects.inv file.

File structure (numpy)

After inspecting numpy's one, you can see that keys are domains:

[u'np-c:function',
 u'std:label',
 u'c:member',
 u'np:classmethod',
 u'np:data',
 u'py:class',
 u'np-c:member',
 u'c:var',
 u'np:class',
 u'np:function',
 u'py:module',
 u'np-c:macro',
 u'np:exception',
 u'py:method',
 u'np:method',
 u'np-c:var',
 u'py:exception',
 u'np:staticmethod',
 u'py:staticmethod',
 u'c:type',
 u'np-c:type',
 u'c:macro',
 u'c:function',
 u'np:module',
 u'py:data',
 u'np:attribute',
 u'std:term',
 u'py:function',
 u'py:classmethod',
 u'py:attribute']

You can see how you can write your cross-reference when you look at the content of a specific domain. For example, py:class:

{u'numpy.DataSource': (u'NumPy',
  u'1.9',
  u'http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/reference/generated/numpy.DataSource.html#numpy.DataSource',
  u'-'),
 u'numpy.MachAr': (u'NumPy',
  u'1.9',
  u'http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/reference/generated/numpy.MachAr.html#numpy.MachAr',
  u'-'),
 u'numpy.broadcast': (u'NumPy',
  u'1.9',
  u'http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/reference/generated/numpy.broadcast.html#numpy.broadcast',
  u'-'),
  ...}

So here, :class:`numpy.DataSource` will work as expected.

h5py

In the case of h5py, the domains are:

[u'py:attribute', u'std:label', u'py:method', u'py:function', u'py:class']

and if you look at the py:class domain:

{u'AttributeManager': (u'h5py',
  u'2.5',
  u'http://docs.h5py.org/en/latest/high/attr.html#AttributeManager',
  u'-'),
 u'Dataset': (u'h5py',
  u'2.5',
  u'http://docs.h5py.org/en/latest/high/dataset.html#Dataset',
  u'-'),
 u'ExternalLink': (u'h5py',
  u'2.5',
  u'http://docs.h5py.org/en/latest/high/group.html#ExternalLink',
  u'-'),
 ...}

That's why I couldn't make it work as numpy references. So a good way to format them would be :class:`h5py:Dataset`.

OpenCV

OpenCV's inventory object seems malformed. Where I would expect to find domains there is actually 902 function signatures:

[u':',
 u'AdjusterAdapter::create(const',
 u'AdjusterAdapter::good()',
 u'AdjusterAdapter::tooFew(int',
 u'AdjusterAdapter::tooMany(int',
 u'Algorithm::create(const',
 u'Algorithm::getList(vector<string>&',
 u'Algorithm::name()',
 u'Algorithm::read(const',
 u'Algorithm::set(const'
 ...]

and if we take the first one's value:

{u'Ptr<AdjusterAdapter>': (u'OpenCV',
  u'2.4',
  u'http://docs.opencv.org/2.4/detectorType)',
  u'ocv:function 1 modules/features2d/doc/common_interfaces_of_feature_detectors.html#$ -')}

I'm pretty sure it is then impossible to write OpenCV cross-references with this file...

Conclusion

I thought intersphinx generated the objects.inv based on the content of the documentation project in an standard way, which seems not to be the case. As a result, it seems that the proper way to write cross-references is API dependent and one should inspect a specific inventory object to actually see what's available.