Coffeehouse Thread

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So, what's the consensus on the new help system in VS 2010?

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  • User profile image
    wastingtime​withforums

    Suck or not?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Disclaimer: I haven't personally used it yet, I'm basing my opinions of the various screencast videos I've seen of it:

     

    • Lack of a traditional Index tool kills it for me. I use this feature multiple times every day. I suppose if Search were better implemented (with live as-you-type results) then it might pass as a substitute.
    • I'm not entirely convinced moving it into the browser with no supporting chrome is a good idea. I understand the new help system is based off a lightweight webserver, so surely they could just reuse Document Explorer but get it to use the webserver rather than the compiled-help files and retain the TOC, Index, and Help Favorites?
    • Similar to the lack of the index, the new TOC does not sit well with me. I like having the "browseable" TOC that lets me just browse around the help content and see related things. I'll criticise earlier versions of DocEx for buring the "Sync TOC" button (I always move it next to the Forward button and make it bigger).

    In conclusion, I feel the new Help System is only an improvement for F1 help and not much else: if you know exactly what you're looking for you can't use the Index, but you can't browse around if you don't know what you're looking for either, as the TOC lacks the same usability as earlier versions.

     

    I might just go ahead and build my own MSDN browser chrome actually...

  • User profile image
    felix9

    W3bbo said:

    Disclaimer: I haven't personally used it yet, I'm basing my opinions of the various screencast videos I've seen of it:

     

    • Lack of a traditional Index tool kills it for me. I use this feature multiple times every day. I suppose if Search were better implemented (with live as-you-type results) then it might pass as a substitute.
    • I'm not entirely convinced moving it into the browser with no supporting chrome is a good idea. I understand the new help system is based off a lightweight webserver, so surely they could just reuse Document Explorer but get it to use the webserver rather than the compiled-help files and retain the TOC, Index, and Help Favorites?
    • Similar to the lack of the index, the new TOC does not sit well with me. I like having the "browseable" TOC that lets me just browse around the help content and see related things. I'll criticise earlier versions of DocEx for buring the "Sync TOC" button (I always move it next to the Forward button and make it bigger).

    In conclusion, I feel the new Help System is only an improvement for F1 help and not much else: if you know exactly what you're looking for you can't use the Index, but you can't browse around if you don't know what you're looking for either, as the TOC lacks the same usability as earlier versions.

     

    I might just go ahead and build my own MSDN browser chrome actually...

    oh, you dont have to, h3viewer comes to the rescue

    http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/news/h3viewer

     

    Index is essential, YES, and messing up with my normal web browsing session is BAD.

    the teams says they will work on these problems after RTM, and the team said: New Viewers Available Soon

    http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/news/helpnews

    so let's pray. in the meantime, h3viewer is a nice choice.

  • User profile image
    rhm

    I already vented my frustration with the VS2010 help system on Connect (incase anyone comes back with the tired old "you had a chance to give feedback" response).

     

    The lack of an index isn't so bad for me, but the real killer is the removal of the treeview table of contents. It seems to me someone listened to the BS sometimes hear about "people don't look stuff up any more they just search" and decided that search was the only thing required to navigate the system. Although search is useful, I also want to see all the information that's available on a subject  and that's the job of a well-crafted table of contents.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    Wait...there's no index or contents anymore? I'd say I use the index 75% of the time over search in VS2008. If I know what I'm looking for, index is always faster than search.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    spivonious said:

    Wait...there's no index or contents anymore? I'd say I use the index 75% of the time over search in VS2008. If I know what I'm looking for, index is always faster than search.

    I -always- use the tree. Search is pretty much useless. At least the proper article usually appears as the first Google search result.

  • User profile image
    wastingtime​withforums

    Bas said:
    spivonious said:
    *snip*

    I -always- use the tree. Search is pretty much useless. At least the proper article usually appears as the first Google search result.

    By the way, I don't have access to the full VS studio versions at the moment, (that means no access the offline library too) any idea whether MS will make the regular MSDN library available for download again?

     

    Like they did with 2008? (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7BBE5EDA-5062-4EBB-83C7-D3C5FF92A373&displaylang=en)

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    Yes, the lack of an index and catalog are a serious step back.

     

    On the plus side, F1 is usable again... and that is enough to keep me happy at the moment.

     

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    Blue Ink said:

    Yes, the lack of an index and catalog are a serious step back.

     

    On the plus side, F1 is usable again... and that is enough to keep me happy at the moment.

     

    I think the opt in approach is fantastic, so I choose what I want

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Blue Ink said:

    Yes, the lack of an index and catalog are a serious step back.

     

    On the plus side, F1 is usable again... and that is enough to keep me happy at the moment.

     

    One of my problems with F1 in VS2008 was that when I was looking for documentation on a BCL type exposed as a member of a type authored by me, pressing F1 would get MSDN to look up information on my type (which obviously won't be in MSDN) as opposed to the BCL type which would be documented. Are you saying this has been fixed?

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    W3bbo said:
    Blue Ink said:
    *snip*

    One of my problems with F1 in VS2008 was that when I was looking for documentation on a BCL type exposed as a member of a type authored by me, pressing F1 would get MSDN to look up information on my type (which obviously won't be in MSDN) as opposed to the BCL type which would be documented. Are you saying this has been fixed?

    Not that I know of. I was merely referring to the fact that in VS2008 F1 was so slow the first time around that I gave up on it and used the browser instead.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Blue Ink said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*

    Not that I know of. I was merely referring to the fact that in VS2008 F1 was so slow the first time around that I gave up on it and used the browser instead.

    F1 was only slow when it had to open Document Explorer (I use External Mode) for the first time. All subsequent presses were pretty fast.

     

    Y'know... I vote we go back to the CHM format of Visual Studio 6, that was really fast Smiley

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    W3bbo said:
    Blue Ink said:
    *snip*

    F1 was only slow when it had to open Document Explorer (I use External Mode) for the first time. All subsequent presses were pretty fast.

     

    Y'know... I vote we go back to the CHM format of Visual Studio 6, that was really fast Smiley

    I think your memory is faulty. Tongue Out

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