The Help Guy

September, 2011

  • The Help Guy

    Help Viewer 2.0 + Visual Studio 11/Windows 8 Developer Preview


    I've been rather quiet lately - but for good reason! (We've been really busy!)

    Hopefully, by now, you've been hearing a lot of buzz about what is coming in Windows 8 and some great developer experiences coming in Visual Studio 11. Lots of this has been demo'd at the //build conference this week.

    You can view the //build conference keynotes here:

    You can even download the Windows 8/Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview bits here:

    Jeff Braaten from my organization has done a nice summary of some of the new things you can expect from Help Viewer 2.0 on Third Blog from the Sun.

    Some highlights:

    • Switch from online to offline and back with a simple menu option in the VS IDE
    • Help Content management and updates now built directly in the Help Viewer (no need to re-launch viewer, etc.)
    • No more tray app
    • Lots of performance improvements
    • Advanced Search operators - title: and code: (these are a personal favorite!)
    • The Visual Studio Help runtime is now the Windows 8 Help runtime!

    Just to be really clear about that last point - it is the Help runtime from Help Viewer 2.0 that is in Windows 8 and not the viewer itself. Windows has their own Help experience that they drove off the work we've done on the help runtime. So while this is not the ".chm killer" so to speak, it is good progress.

    There are many other features that have been getting baked into Help Viewer 2.0 that will more clearly come online as we get closer to Beta and RTM. Some are true innovations in Help experiences in my (not so humble) opinion. Jeff aludes to some of these as filtering features in his post. Others will particularly light up a number of Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) and localization scenarios. Stay tuned as we move towards Beta and RTM for more details.

    As always - let us know what you think!

  • The Help Guy

    Hook Up Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview and Visual Studio Express for Windows Developer Preview to Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview content on MSDN


    I hope you’ve been having fun exploring the new features of both Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview and Windows 8 Developer Preview!

    At the time that we were getting all our bits ready to release to manufacturing for the //build conference, we did not yet have the Dev11 query service enabled on our MSDN Library site. As a result, the IDE is still pointing to the Dev10 query service both for Help | View Help and for F1 requests.

    Since //build we have deployed the Dev11 query service, and you can now tweak your registry to point to that. << insert standard caveat here about modifying the registry yourself… :) >>

    For Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview:



    For Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview:



    If you were running Visual Studio when you made these changes, shut it down and restart it. Now if you select Help|View Help or press F1, you will be directed to the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview content.

  • The Help Guy

    Help "charm" in Windows 8 Metro apps


    If you've been watching the developments from the //build conference and Windows 8 preview, you might have wondered what the Help story is for Metro apps...

    There are a few topics in the new Windows 8 DevCenter that give an idea of the current thinking around Help in Metro apps and the idea of an Help "charm".

    Check out Adding app help, which is the starting point.

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