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Sami, an API documentation generator

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v4.1.2 2018-07-02 13:20 UTC


WARNING: Sami is not supported nor maintained anymore. Feel free to fork.

Curious about what Sami generates? Have a look at the Symfony API.



Sami requires PHP 7.

Get Sami as a phar file:

$ curl -O

Check that everything worked as expected by executing the sami.phar file without any arguments:

$ php sami.phar


Installing Sami as a regular Composer dependency is NOT supported. Sami is a tool, not a library. As such, it should be installed as a standalone package, so that Sami's dependencies do not interfere with your project's dependencies.


Before generating documentation, you must create a configuration file. Here is the simplest possible one:


return new Sami\Sami('/path/to/symfony/src');

The configuration file must return an instance of Sami\Sami and the first argument of the constructor is the path to the code you want to generate documentation for.

Actually, instead of a directory, you can use any valid PHP iterator (and for that matter any instance of the Symfony Finder class):


use Sami\Sami;
use Symfony\Component\Finder\Finder;

$iterator = Finder::create()

return new Sami($iterator);

The Sami constructor optionally takes an array of options as a second argument:

return new Sami($iterator, array(
    'theme'                => 'symfony',
    'title'                => 'Symfony2 API',
    'build_dir'            => __DIR__.'/build',
    'cache_dir'            => __DIR__.'/cache',
    'remote_repository'    => new GitHubRemoteRepository('username/repository', '/path/to/repository'),
    'default_opened_level' => 2,

And here is how you can configure different versions:


use Sami\Sami;
use Sami\RemoteRepository\GitHubRemoteRepository;
use Sami\Version\GitVersionCollection;
use Symfony\Component\Finder\Finder;

$iterator = Finder::create()
    ->in($dir = '/path/to/symfony/src')

// generate documentation for all v2.0.* tags, the 2.0 branch, and the master one
$versions = GitVersionCollection::create($dir)
    ->add('2.0', '2.0 branch')
    ->add('master', 'master branch')

return new Sami($iterator, array(
    'theme'                => 'symfony',
    'versions'             => $versions,
    'title'                => 'Symfony2 API',
    'build_dir'            => __DIR__.'/../build/sf2/%version%',
    'cache_dir'            => __DIR__.'/../cache/sf2/%version%',
    'remote_repository'    => new GitHubRemoteRepository('symfony/symfony', dirname($dir)),
    'default_opened_level' => 2,

To generate documentation for a PHP 5.2 project, simply set the simulate_namespaces option to true.

You can find more configuration examples under the examples/ directory of the source code.

Sami only documents the public API (public properties and methods); override the default configured filter to change this behavior:


use Sami\Parser\Filter\TrueFilter;

$sami = new Sami(...);
// document all methods and properties
$sami['filter'] = function () {
    return new TrueFilter();


Now that we have a configuration file, let's generate the API documentation:

$ php sami.phar update /path/to/config.php

The generated documentation can be found under the configured build/ directory (note that the client side search engine does not work on Chrome due to JavaScript execution restriction, unless Chrome is started with the "--allow-file-access-from-files" option -- it works fine in Firefox).

By default, Sami is configured to run in "incremental" mode. It means that when running the update command, Sami only re-generates the files that needs to be updated based on what has changed in your code since the last execution.

Sami also detects problems in your phpdoc and can tell you what you need to fix if you add the -v option:

$ php sami.phar update /path/to/config.php -v

Creating a Theme

If the default themes do not suit your needs, you can very easily create a new one, or just override an existing one.

A theme is just a directory with a manifest.yml file that describes the theme (this is a YAML file):

name:   symfony
parent: default

The above configuration creates a new symfony theme based on the default built-in theme. To override a template, just create a file with the same name as the original one. For instance, here is how you can extend the default class template to prefix the class name with "Class " in the class page title:

{# pages/class.twig #}

{% extends 'default/pages/class.twig' %}

{% block title %}Class {{ parent() }}{% endblock %}

If you are familiar with Twig, you will be able to very easily tweak every aspect of the templates as everything has been well isolated in named Twig blocks.

A theme can also add more templates and static files. Here is the manifest for the default theme:

name: default

    'css/sami.css': 'css/sami.css'
    'css/bootstrap.min.css': 'css/bootstrap.min.css'
    'css/bootstrap-theme.min.css': 'css/bootstrap-theme.min.css'
    'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.eot': 'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.eot'
    'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.svg': 'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.svg'
    'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.ttf': 'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.ttf'
    'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff': 'fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff'
    'js/bootstrap.min.js': 'js/bootstrap.min.js'
    'js/jquery-1.11.1.min.js': 'js/jquery-1.11.1.min.js'
    'js/handlebars.min.js': 'js/handlebars.min.js'
    'js/typeahead.min.js': 'js/typeahead.min.js'

    'index.twig':      'index.html'
    'doc-index.twig':  'doc-index.html'
    'namespaces.twig': 'namespaces.html'
    'classes.twig':    'classes.html'
    'interfaces.twig': 'interfaces.html'
    'traits.twig':     'traits.html'
    'opensearch.twig': 'opensearch.xml'
    'search.twig':     'search.html'
    'sami.js.twig':    'sami.js'

    'namespace.twig': '%s.html'

    'class.twig': '%s.html'

Files are contained into sections, depending on how Sami needs to treat them:

  • static: Files are copied as is (for assets like images, stylesheets, or JavaScript files);
  • global: Templates that do not depend on the current class context;
  • namespace: Templates that should be generated for every namespace;
  • class: Templates that should be generated for every class.

Search Index

The autocomplete and search functionality of Sami is provided through a search index that is generated based on the classes, namespaces, interfaces, and traits of a project. You can customize the search index by overriding the search_index_extra block of sami.js.twig.

The search_index_extra allows you to extend the default theme and add more entries to the index. For example, some projects implement magic methods that are dynamically generated at runtime. You might wish to document these methods while generating API documentation and add them to the search index.

Each entry in the search index is a JavaScript object that contains the following keys:

The type associated with the entry. Built-in types are "Class", "Namespace", "Interface", "Trait". You can add additional types specific to an application, and the type information will appear next to the search result.
The name of the entry. This is the element in the index that is searchable (e.g., class name, namespace name, etc).
The parent of the element (if any). This can be used to provide context for the entry. For example, the fromName of a class would be the namespace of the class.
The link to the parent of the entry (if any). This is used to link a child to a parent. For example, this would be a link from a class to the class namespace.
A short text description of the entry.

One such example of when overriding the index is useful could be documenting dynamically generated API operations of a web service client. Here's a simple example that adds dynamically generated API operations for a web service client to the search index:

{% extends "default/sami.js.twig" %}

{% block search_index_extra %}
    {% for operation in operations -%}
        {"type": "Operation", "link": "{{ operation.path }}", "name": "{{ }}", "doc": "{{ operation.doc }}"},
    {%- endfor %}
{% endblock %}

This example assumes that the template has a variable operations available which contains an array of operations.


Always include a trailing comma for each entry you add to the index. Sami will take care of ensuring that trailing commas are handled properly.