I recently purchased the latest version of HelpStudio from Innovasys so that I could compile the Krypton help into the new format used by Visual Studio 2010. After a few teething problems it is now working as you can see below…

Microsoft Help Viewer

Visual Studio 2010 SP1

Note however that you need to have SP1 for Visual Studio 2010 as the SP1 includes an update to the Microsoft Helper Viewer that includes a standalone browser as shown above. This should not be a major issue as developers should be using the latest version anyway.

Installer Size
Another downside is that the installer has ballooned because it includes the extra help so now it is ~116MB instead of the ~67MB before. Given that a large chunk of the older size was the help build used for Visual Studio 2005/2008 and you can see that something like 90% of the total installer size is actually just help.

HelpStudio Tips
For those that are also using the HelpStudio product I can pass along a couple of tips. The output from the HelpStudio build is a .mshc file that contains all the help pages.

What is not obvious is that the .mshc file will not work directly if you want to perform a silent install. We don’t want to require the user to start the help manager and start browsing for the .mshc file so it can be installed into the help system. So instead we want to run a silent install at the end of the Krypton installer.

So you need to take the .mshc file and turn it into a cab file by using the makecab utility. Then you need to sign the cab file using the signtool utility. Pass this signed cab into the silent install and then your good to go.

Another gotcha is the Microsoft Help Viewer will not add a top level node for your help collection, which is what the older help system did, and so your table of contents in HelpStudio should have a single top level node and then everything else appears as a child of that.

5 Responses to “Visual Studio 10 Help”

  1. Jarek Zwierz Says:

    My subscription expired at version 4.3
    Is there a way to download the documentation alone?

  2. Cocotteseb Says:

    Finally I would say :)

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