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Integrate ebooks with Visual Studio

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    Alot of books these days come with an ebook version on CD. Many of them are in Compiled HTML (CHM) format. Atleast the books from Microsoft Press.

    Wouldn't it be great to be able to integrate the books you buy with Visual Studio? Drop the CHM file in a special directory and get it searched right alongside MSDN (and Codewize). I think that would be great. Right now I have to first find the file, open it and then search. Never happens.

    Btw; what is the best tool to handle your CHM collection? Is there a tool that let you index and keep a searchable library?


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    great idea lars.

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    Actually.. the Orielly C# in a Nutshell book comes with a CD that integrates itself into Visual Studio .Net

    But yeah I think its a great idea!


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    Good. I have in one project integrated the architectual guidelines for a company in Visual Studio in that way. It was cool. But it is not that simple, anyway when I did it. (Maybe new tools has been released since then?)

    The idea that you just but all your help files in one directory and it will be automatically included in VS is a great idea.


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    That option are already there;  MSDN stores help files in a xml collection, wich you can manipulate to include your own .chm collection if needed.

    U need to find two files, msdnxxx.col and hhcolreg.dat
    msdnxxx.col are the collection wich stores all your chm files.
    msdnxxx.col is the collection registry, and stores details about your collection. 

    1. msdnxxx.col is located under; 

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\HTML Help Collections\Developer Collections

    U will find a language key for your prefered language, and search for a key kalled filename, (the path on disk were msdnxxx.col are located. )

    2.hhcolreg.dat file is located under;

    Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\HTML Help


    I wont do the whole DRA( dont repeat yourself), so instead I did a little search...and found a nice article telling more about this...

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    A few books already come in that format. Mickey Williams' Visual C#.Net offers the choise between a .chm setup or integration with VS.

    What I would rather ask is for a msReader version of the books. Trying to read these files with a Pocket pc is  pretty much impossible. I'm using Peter Tewesbuy's chm reader (, but it takes a long time to move from one section to the next.

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    It seems like VS should make it easy to integrate help for a class lib into your current project.  For example...  If I'm using a class library that has a chm help file, there should be a way to include a reference to the help file for the project.  This way I can access the chm from inside VS when working on that project.   For other projects, that don't use this class lib, the help file would not be included in lookups.  
    It would be really neat if the class lib could include a reference to it's help file so that VS could make this all happen automatically.  Maybe this is planned in VS 2005....

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    Have you purchased any high priced ebooks recently? Have you noticed all the online gurus are pumping out monsterous sized ebooks, packed with filler, and they're selling them for $97!

    The majority of these fluffed-up monsters would be reduced to just a few pages without all the needless, page count expanding filler.

    Not too long ago, I purchased a high priced ebook from a well-known AdSense expert who claims to make thirty thousand dollars a month from AdSense. I spent hours reading thru all the garbage to find the only wisdom there was to fool people into thinking the ads were part of your site navigation links.

    In order to defend the high price, the ebook had page after page of frivilous, unnecessary information, just to increase the bulk. If this ebook was cleaned of all the unrequired garbage, it would shrink to less than one tenth its current size, but that wouldn't sell.

    Recently, a new generation of ebooks has appeared - ebooks without all that extra baggage that's only there to make you think you're getting value. The idea here is that you get the important information you're really looking for, without all the junk. Cost effective ebooks that inform you, teach you AND they won't put a dent in your bank account.

    How cheap? How about seven dollars?

    Take a look at this

    Huge Selection of $7 Ebooks

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    For API Documentation, Sandcastle produces CHM files (help 1.0) but also HxS Files (Help 2.0).  These are the ones which can be integrated into Visual Studio.


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