Helixoft Blog

Peter Macej - lead developer of VSdocman - talks about Visual Studio tips and automation

How you can visually improve your documentation

Since the very first version of our VSdocman (.NET class documentation generator) one of the most wanted features was the ability to create additional non-API custom topics.

Overview
SampleClassLibrary Usage
  Basic Functionality
  Advanced
SampleClassLibrary Reference
  Namespace2 API
   ...
  NamespaceN API
License Agreement
About
Appendix: Demo Reference
  Namespace1 API

When we implemented this feature, we made many customers happy, judging on their response. Many of then are skilled technical writers so they could immediately create professionally looking documentation with additional topics such as general overview, examples, license agreement, usage descriptions, etc. I had the opportunity to see some of their docs and I could see that they used a lot of screenshots and diagrams. Especially in the introductory topics that described functionality of a technical component.

Recently, for our web site, we needed some basic visualisation of what our VSdocman does. I really liked the hand-drawn objects from infoDiagram. I got a set of charcoal objects from them and within a few minutes I was able to create the first draft of diagram. After some tweaking I was satisfied with the result.

VSdocman infodiagram

Different behavior of DataObject.GetData(DataFormats.Html) in .NET 4.5

Recently, a user of our VSdocman reported an interesting problem that appeared when he edited his XML comments in VSdocman's WYSIWYG comment editor. He copied a text with accented characters from the editor itself or from IE. For example, a french text "période". When he pasted the text to the editor, instead of the "période" a wrong "p�riode" text appeared. As you can see, non-ASCII characters were corrupted.

We could reproduce the problem on some systems and on some systems not. We have isolated the problem to the following line of code in the comment editor:

Clipboard.GetDataObject.GetData(DataFormats.Html)

Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1

As you probably know, Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 has been released and is now available for download. It fixes many issues in VS 2010. But the most interesting for me, as a VS help tool developer, is the new version of VS 2010 help - Microsoft Help Viewer (MSHV) version 1.1. This new version contains new local help viewer which was really awaited by users of our VSdocman.

Running a Visual Studio macro with long execution time

Recently, I needed to test some VS automation concepts in VS 2010. A simple task should be performed on several thousand files in a web site project. Loading the files in a web site is very slow so executing the macro takes a long time. I first tried it with only a few files and it worked correctly.

Then I tried with about 2000 files. And there was a problem. After several minutes, the macro crashed. Visual Studio only showed a message with COM error with some HRESULT code without any other details. I've placed a Try...Catch block around whole macro, hoping that I could catch the exception. No luck.

VSdocman 4.0 Released

VSdocman logoWe have some good news here at Helixoft. We have released new major version 4.0 of our VSdocman. VSdocman is Visual Studio .NET 2002/2003/2005/2008 add-in for the quick commenting and automatic generation of class documentation from your VB .NET and C# source code files, including ASP .NET. We are quite excited about this new version. It has completely new look and many features. You can download the version 4.0 (4.5 MB) from http://www.helixoft.com/images/stories/vsdocman/vsdocman_4_0_setup.zip What's new in VSdocman version 4.0:

 

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