Creating Manpages with groff
A Call for New Manpages!
Do have difficulty remembering
command syntax? It often pays to
check the manpage. In this issue of
Command Line,we look at how to
create your own manpages,and
how to convert manpages to other
Good documentation is almost as
important as good programming.
It even makes sense to document
the major functions in the most trivial of
your own scripts, to save you from racking
your brains later when you need to
change something. Manpages give users
tips on usage and details on command
syntax options. Some manpages also
include examples or references to related
Users can read manpages in a terminal
window, and they can convert a manpage
quickly and easily to another
format such as HTML, PostScript, or
PDF. Manual pages are traditionally created
using the text formating tool groff.
The first version of this program
appeared on legacy Unix systems, where
it was known as roff (= “run off”). Later
developments of the document formatter
were called nroff and troff; groff is the
GNU version for the current crop of
Linux systems. This article shows how to
use groff to write a manpage and how to
convert that manpage into other formats.