Unlimited Possibilities through Code
If you have used VS 2010’s help system you may have that feeling that some changes were not as fully thought as others. The new HTML Help 3 format may seems like a great idea, it runs as a service like an IIS website that all help instances query through. No more hitting F1 in three copies of Visual Studio and getting three copies of the complete help loaded into RAM.
But that browser experience for the help system seems missing something to me. Maybe the index? Maybe the ability to actually read rather than search? It seems optimized quite well for searching the help, but not actually following a topic. You can’t sync the table of contents and see what other articles are in the same section of the help.
I want to cover the built in help, the Help Powertool released by Microsoft, and the H3Viewer application from The Helpware Group that allows local viewing of the html 3 help files (although Microsoft insists on calling them Help 1.0 Files).
Here is what I see when I hit F1 in Visual Studio 2010. You get a system tray icon with the help service running and a browser window.
You have to already opted to install the help locally as a part of the install process, or you only talk to the remote servers at Microsoft.
There was a bug in the beta versions that if the user selected non local help for the MSDN then ALL help was non local (even if your company put some help locally the users couldn’t see it). I hope that has been fixed, but have not had time to test it myself again yet.
Yes, Visual Studio 2010 was released today to much fanfare in Las Vegas.
We of course had to immediately download it (along with what must be some major percentage of MSDN subscribers) and give it a test.
VistaDB 4.0 Build 14 works great with the VS 2010 Release. Versions prior to this should probably not be used as there were some changes we had to make in order to get everything to work with VS 2010 in the first place.
I have run through all of our NUnit tests in both .Net 2 and .Net 4 and all of them work correctly. The Visual Studio plugins work, and the Entity Framework provider seems to be working fine as well. The screen shot above is me generating a .Net 4 EF model on our Tickets Database. (Note you can use the Include Foreign Key Columns only if you are using .Net 4)
Visual Studio 2010 RC came out a few weeks ago, and the current VistaDB 4 build 12 does not work. Build 12 obviously came out before the RC, so it was never tested on that release.
The next VistaDB 4.0 build will be updated for Visual Studio 2010 RC. I was actually of two minds of this issue. If the final (really final) build is only a few weeks away maybe we should just wait for that build. Microsoft has broken ADO.Net plugins, EF, and several other things we need in EVERY new build of Visual Studio 2010.
When 2010 Beta 2 shipped we scrambled really hard to get an updated build that worked. We literally dropped everything else to just focus on those issues for about a week. My thinking at the time was that if we found errors and got the bugs in quickly to Microsoft they would be fixed for the final release. We opened 10 tickets with Microsoft on Beta 2 – ALL of them were denied as “too late in cycle to be fixed”.
©2010-2012 Jason Short. All Rights Reserved. The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent my employer’s views in any way.