Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I usually find myself constantly linking to methods and properties in publically available docs for frameworks or libraries. I'd like to suggest an autocomplete feature when you enter a link in a special format to embed the link automatically to a relevant API doc.

Question tags can be used to help the autocomplete filter the results to keep them relevant.

Usecase Example 1: Linking to Java API doc on a Java tagged question

I'm answering a question on a java tagged question. So when I enter api:toString the editor should open up a context list and give suggestions such as Object.toString().

Usecase Example 2: Referring to another API doc on a Java tagged question

I'm answering a question that is a java framework, .e.g. play. So when I enter api::play:Play.version it will give a suggestion to Play.version. The double colon is there to indicate that you are referring to another API doc (so it doesn't collide with the ones in the question's tags).

This could also be extended to suggest frameworks that are tied to a technology. E.g. in a question with the Java tag, typing in api::p would suggest frameworks that begin with the letter P that are tied to Java such as Play Framework, powermock, etc.

Obviously this will require scraping api docs, but they are most of the time formatted in the same way. Also there is the issue to select what API docs to support, but this could be limited at first. I'd think focus should be on .NET and Java or whatever is the popular technology or framework on stack exchange.

I think this would be a nice to have feature on stackoverflow (and other programming related stackexchange sites such as programmers and game development). But I can imagine that you don't need to just have links to api docs. On sites such as superuser, ubuntu or unix something such as man: would autosuggest inserting link to a man page.

share|improve this question
I feel somewhat compelled to hack this together myself since I very often add links to api docs. – Spoike Mar 23 '12 at 11:51
@Spoike: If you want to hack this together yourself, you might be interested in Stack Apps. – Cody Gray Mar 24 '12 at 11:00
@CodyGray thanks for the tip, I'll look into it – Spoike Mar 25 '12 at 8:07

NOTE: I had to take this script down due to terms of service violation, but the apps page is still there for anyone who wants to be inspired by it and work on their own solution.

I've made a Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey user-script that takes the following api:[tagname]:[searchterm] string, autocompletes using DuckDuckGo and converts it to a link to a api doc.

It is listed in Stack Apps here: duckduckstack - The StackExchange API Doc Autocompleter

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .