MAML Editor and Visual Studio Support

Aug 27, 2009 at 4:32 PM

What do you guys at microsoft use to edit MAML?  I have been looking around the internet and thier doesn't seem to be a single tool out there for this? 

I am looking for an easier way to modify the Conceptual topics that I add to my help project over modifying the xml directly.  I use DocProject to integrate the help development with visual studio.  This does most of what I need with one exception - You have to use the xml editor to modify the maml files.  I have noticed that Dave Sexton (who created doc project) started building a WYSIWYG editor for MAML but he seems to have disappeared.  I can't find a post from him anywhere in the last year.  (This also makes me worry about using DocProject)

Also, are there any plans to mainline help development functionality into visual studio?  This could be invaluable on larger or distributed teams because you could incorporate the development of the developer help documentation (which needs a little more than just xml code comments - like conceptual topics) right in line with the development. 

So to summarize I have two requests:

1. Can you direct me to a MAML editor.

2. Don't let DocProject die!  Rather, suck it in and package it up with visual studio.  You can then have a fully integrated process of Designing, Developing, Testing, and Documenting all in one place!

Some features for this thought:

1. New Help project template. (DocProject does this)

2. Ability to manage help content organization (TOC) and add additional content (topics) to the help project above the autogenerated content form the xml code comments. (DocProject does this)

3. Ability to edit all help content through a WYSIWYG editor (no support for this yet) and do things like incorporate class diagrams in the solution into the help.

NOTE:  The kind of help content I am focusing on is technical help geared toward educating developers about the architecture and design of the solution they are working in (not user documentation - although you could do this too if you trusted your developers to create this content).

Aug 27, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Hi,

> I have noticed that Dave Sexton (who created doc project) started building a WYSIWYG editor for MAML but he seems to have disappeared.  I can't find a post from him anywhere in the last year.  (This also makes me worry about using DocProject)

I haven't disappeared :)  I respond to questions about DocProject and Sandcastle often in their particular forums.  Appreciate the concern though.

I haven't been active on my personal blog in a while, but that's because I haven't had any free time and have nothing substantial to report.

 

2. Don't let DocProject die!

I'm not.  When Sandcastle is released for VS 2010 (beta, RTC, RTM, whatever) I will release a compatible version of DocProject, when I find the time - probably the following weekend, as usual.

Your feedback is appreciated.  Note that I'm continuing to work on the MAML editor when I find the time, but there are still too many bugs for it to be reliable at the moment.  However, a lot of work has been put into it already so I have no intention of abandoning it.

As I've said before, when I finally get a full - awake - weekend I'll blog about all of the cool updates I've made; e.g., real-time MAML and logical views, a loose XAML (customizable) tool window, a properties / metadata tool window, working load and save functionality for basic conceptual MAML topics and their companion files, proprietary bug notification service, and more.

- Dave

 

Aug 27, 2009 at 6:53 PM
HAH!  Fantastic!  I hope you didn't take offense to anything I said.  I figured you were heads down in something. 
 
DocProject is excellent and its great knowing you are sticking to it!  It so good, in fact, that I don't see any reason Microsoft doesn't include it as a sandard feature of visual studio.  In my mind the technical documentation should be an intrinsic part of development just like unit testing and source control.
 
Your solution, by placing the documentation right in line with the source code, goes a long way towards this.  Keep up the great work.  It's much appreciated!
 
Thanks,
Stewart
 
PS - If there is any opportunity to help out, let me know how.  My team and I are currently heads down in rolling out the first version of a product we have been working on since January.  After that we will be focusing on paying down some 'debt' we incurred (or neglected to do) from version 1.  A lot of this will involve cleaning up the code comments and creating the technical documentation using your tool.  In the long run it's likely your plug in will become an integral part of our development process.  As this happens we might be in a position to contribute some needed features.  Just contact me if you want to leverage that:  stewart dot armbrecht at protiviti dot com.


 
On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 1:34 PM, davedev <notifications@codeplex.com> wrote:

From: davedev

Hi,

> I have noticed that Dave Sexton (who created doc project) started building a WYSIWYG editor for MAML but he seems to have disappeared.  I can't find a post from him anywhere in the last year.  (This also makes me worry about using DocProject)

I haven't disappeared :)  I respond to questions about DocProject and Sandcastle often in their particular forums.  Appreciate the concern though.

I haven't been active on my personal blog in a while, but that's because I haven't had any free time and have nothing substantial to report.

 

2. Don't let DocProject die!

I'm not.  When Sandcastle is released for VS 2010 (beta, RTC, RTM, whatever) I will release a compatible version of DocProject, when I find the time - probably the following weekend, as usual.

Your feedback is appreciated.  Note that I'm continuing to work on the MAML editor when I find the time, but there are still too many bugs for it to be reliable at the moment.  However, a lot of work has been put into it already so I have no intention of abandoning it.

As I've said before, when I finally get a full - awake - weekend I'll blog about all of the cool updates I've made; e.g., real-time MAML and logical views, a loose XAML (customizable) tool window, a properties / metadata tool window, working load and save functionality for basic conceptual MAML topics and their companion files, proprietary bug notification service, and more.

- Dave

 

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