Zeal: Offline Documentation for Countless Open Source Tools

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 31, 2016

Regularly here at OStatic, we provide updates on trends in free documentation and tutorials for popular open source platforms and applications.  For example, one of the best resources for finding free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It's an ongoing  effort to build online guides for open source software.

What about an offline documentation solution, though? It's an interesting idea, and Zeal happens to be an offline software documentation browser covering almost 200 APIs, languages, applications and tools. Whether you're looking for how to express a C++ function or you need an HTML or Python answer, Zeal is a good go-to source.

Among the tools and applications that Zeal caters to are ActionScript, Android, Apache, Bash, CSS, C++, Docker, Java, JavaScript, Lua, Mono, MySQL, NET Framework, OS X, OpenGL, PHP, Python, Qt, Vim, Wordpress and many others. Zeal is a free download, available here

Not long ago, TechRepublic came out with an interesting collection of open source disappointments, and one of the items listed was continuing lack of proper documentation for open source projects. "The developers of open source software have to understand that end users need help, and the first place they need to turn is the project documentation," the story reports. "This is especially true when you've crafted a rather complicated piece of software."

Indeed, open source documentation is often lacking, but Zeal provides answers for many open source applications and languages.

Also note that a few editors and IDEs have plugins providing access to Zeal from within their products. Atom, Brackets, Emacs and Sublime Text are just a few examples.

Looking for more documentation for open source tools? W3Schools' many online tutorials on developer-focused topics are worth a look as well.