Viewing the Windows Developer Preview documentation offline

Viewing the Windows Developer Preview documentation offline

As many of you have pointed out, the developer experience is a rather significant departure from what has been the traditional documentation approach for Windows.  The documentation on the Windows Dev Center has been moving into an encapsulated experience where you follow down a path starting from a big picture and moving deeper into the learning task as you follow links.  What this means is that rather than having the traditional table of contents as “branches in the tree” on the left pane of your Window, with “peer” nodes as leaves as seen in the following screenshot:

You instead have the breadcrumb on the top of the page to replace the branches and “peer” nodes rendered within the left pane.

We have received feedback that the experience where you have the TOC is convenient sometimes when you are looking for a reference and, believe it or not, this experience still exists for all of the Windows developer content.  To view the TOC and go through the documentation in the more traditional way:

  1. Open Visual Studio
  2. Either press “Ctrl+Alt+F1” or select the menu item Add and Remove Local Help Content from visual studio as shown in the following screenshot:
  3. You should now see the offline help viewer which looks like the following screenshot:
  4. Once in the offline help viewer, you can add and remove the local content.  If you have installed the BUILD version of Windows 8 that included Visual Studio, you will have the “Tailored Windows Development” offline help content already which contains the documentation for creating Metro style apps.
  5. Once you have the documentation you need, you can click on the Contents tab from the offline help viewer which should be in the bottom left corner of the window:
  6. Once you have the Contents tab selected, all of the locally installed documentation will be shown.  The following screenshot shows how the Windows Metro style App Development documentation appears in the offline viewer:

See Also

Comments (6)
  1. DanF says:

    Just wanted to say I really enjoy the new layout. I was reading up on the Windows Driver Development Kit (a daunting idea to begin with) and really felt like it was pretty easy to get ramped up on the big picture as well as finding my way down to details. I think I marked a few as helpful to try to throw you guys a bone, but wanted to mention it here too. It really made for a much better experience than the old MSDN experience.

  2. AndrewDover says:

    The whole C++ section is missing from the offline documentation.

    So here are some online links:

    Comparison between Metro and Desktop applications…/hh464912(v=VS.85).aspx

    Metro style app development…/apps

    Forum for Building Metro style apps with C++…/threads

    Metro style C++ app samples…/search

    Roadmap for creating Metro style apps using C++,or others…/br229566(v=VS.85).aspx…/br229583(v=VS.85).aspx

    Visual C++ reference for Windows Runtime…/br229567

    Using Windows Runtime Components in Visual C++

    Explains ref new, Value Structs, Strings, Properties, Events, Collections,…/hh454076(v=VS.85).aspx

    Windows Runtime APIs…/br211377(v=VS.85).aspx

    All C++ tagged presentations from Build…/BUILD2011

  3. gclass says:

    @AndrewDover Thank you for all the links, you rock! Regarding getting the C++ documentation, you can install this content by adding the offline documentation for "Windows Desktop". Click the "Add" button that is next to the "DesktopDesktop Development" row of the Manage tab that is opened in step 5 of the above instructions and then clicking the Start button on the bottom right of the Microsoft Help Viewer 2.0 management window. Alternatively, you can get the offline experience through the Windows SDK installer as described in more detail in the first "See Also" link at the bottom of the post.

    @DanF Great to hear, thank you!

  4. gclass says:

    @AndrewDover A correction on the right books to download, you are probably looking for "Win32 and COM Development" (395 MB) which contains most of the existing Windows C++ content for desktop development.

  5. AndrewDover says:

    Nope, it still seems to me that the METRO section is missing all the Metro C++ reference material.  I'm not looking for WIN32 or COM, but the C++ documentation for the new Metro Windows runtime material.

    Use the Help | Add/Remove local content, and navigate to:

    Help Viewer Home

    Windows Metro style App Development

    Metro style App Reference

    —-> Language reference for Metro style apps

    JavaScript Language Reference

    Visual Basic and C# language reference

    You will notice that no C++ reference material follows VB and C#.

    However the Web documentation does have this Metro material!

    Language reference for Metro style apps…/br229577

    JavaScript Language Reference

    Visual Basic and C# language reference

    —> Visual C++ component extensions reference

    —> Visual C++ Windows Runtime Programming Guide

    Collections (Windows::Foundation::Collections) Namespace

    lang Namespace

    Platform Namespace

    Just to reinforce the point; C++ is a first class language for programming the new Windows Runtime API, and should have its documentation included for off-line reading.

  6. gclass says:

    @Andrew We'll look into it, I can see what you're talking about.

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