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Initial release1999; 25 years ago (1999)
Latest release
15 July 2019; 4 years ago (2019-07-15)
Type of formatProgramming documentation Format
Contained byJavaScript source files
Extended fromJavaDoc
Open format?Yes

JSDoc is a markup language used to annotate JavaScript source code files. Using comments containing JSDoc, programmers can add documentation describing the application programming interface of the code they're creating. This is then processed, by various tools, to produce documentation in accessible formats like HTML and Rich Text Format. The JSDoc specification is released under CC BY-SA 3.0, while its companion documentation generator and parser library is free software under the Apache License 2.0.


JSDoc's syntax and semantics are similar to those of the Javadoc scheme, which is used for documenting code written in Java. JSDoc differs from Javadoc, in that it is specialized to handle JavaScript's dynamic behaviour.[1]

An early example using a Javadoc-like syntax to document JavaScript was released in 1999 with the Netscape/Mozilla project Rhino, a JavaScript run-time system written in Java. It included a toy "JSDoc" HTML generator, versioned up to 1.3, as an example of its JavaScript capabilities.[2]

All main generations of "JSDoc" were headed by micmath (Michael Mathews). He started with in 2001, a simple system written in Perl. Later, with contributions by Canadian programmer Gabriel Reid. It was hosted on SourceForge in a CVS repository.[3] By JSDoc 1.0 (2007) he rewrote the system in JavaScript (again for Rhino), and after a set of expansions JSDoc 2.0 (2008) gained the name "jsdoc-toolkit". Released under the MIT License, it was hosted in a Subversion repository on Google Code.[4] By 2011 he has refactored the system into JSDoc 3.0 and hosted the result on GitHub. It now runs on Node.js.[1]

JSDoc tags

Some of the more popular annotation tags used in modern JSDoc are:

Tag Description
@author Developer's name
@constructor Marks a function as a constructor
@deprecated Marks a method as deprecated
@exception Synonym for @throws
@exports Identifies a member that is exported by the module
@param Documents a method parameter; a datatype indicator can be added between curly braces
@private Signifies that a member is private
@returns Documents a return value
@return Synonym for @returns
@see Documents an association to another object
@todo Documents something that is missing/open
@this Specifies the type of the object to which the keyword this refers within a function.
@throws Documents an exception thrown by a method
@version Provides the version number of a library


/** @class Circle representing a circle. */
class Circle {
   * Creates an instance of Circle.
   * @author: moi
   * @param {number} r The desired radius of the circle.
  constructor(r) {
    /** @private */ this.radius = r
    /** @private */ this.circumference = 2 * Math.PI * r

   * Creates a new Circle from a diameter.
   * @param {number} d The desired diameter of the circle.
   * @return {Circle} The new Circle object.
  static fromDiameter(d) {
    return new Circle(d / 2)

   * Calculates the circumference of the Circle.
   * @deprecated since 1.1.0; use getCircumference instead
   * @return {number} The circumference of the circle.
  calculateCircumference() {
    return 2 * Math.PI * this.radius

   * Returns the pre-computed circumference of the Circle.
   * @return {number} The circumference of the circle.
   * @since 1.1.0
  getCircumference() {
    return this.circumference

   * Find a String representation of the Circle.
   * @override
   * @return {string} Human-readable representation of this Circle.
  toString() {
    return `[A Circle object with radius of ${this.radius}.]`

 * Prints a circle.
 * @param {Circle} circle
function printCircle(circle) {
    /** @this {Circle} */
    function bound() { console.log(this) }

Note that the @class and @constructor tags can in fact be omitted: the ECMASyntax is sufficient to make their identities clear, and JSDoc makes use of that.[5] @override can be automatically deduced as well.[6]

JSDoc in use

See also


  1. ^ a b "JSDoc". GitHub. jsdoc. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Rhino example: jsdoc.js". GitHub. Mozilla project. May 6, 1999.
  3. ^ "JSDoc". SourceForge. Git conversion
  4. ^ "jsdoc-toolkit". Google Code. Git conversion
  5. ^ "ES 2015 Classes". Use JSDoc.
  6. ^ "@override". Use JSDoc.
  7. ^ "Type Checking JavaScript Files". TypeScript Documentation.