The Synopsis Project was founded to support the documentation of the Fresco code base, which used a number of different programming languages such as C++, Python, and IDL. The initial design focussed on a high-level, multi-language Abstract Semantic Graph which would be manipulated using python Processor objects to generate documentation in a variety of formats including postscript and html.

To support multiple languges, Synopsis uses python extension modules to generate a language-neutral ASG. The IDL parser is based on omniORB, the original C parser was based on ctool, and the C++ parser on OpenC++.