Sandcastle for .PDFs?

Jul 9, 2008 at 5:20 PM
Has there been any work on allowing Sandcastle to create .pdf files or even Word files instead of .chm files? Is this even possible with a plugin perhaps?

I'm sure there must be interest in the community; and I can see so many reasons to do so:

1. Printing a hard copy of a chm file is a little dicey at best.
2. I will be handing off my documentation to two different translators (French and Spanish) and translating a chm will be darn near impossible. A Word file would be ideal.
3. Distribution. Much easier to circulate a pdf to peers.
4. After-the-fact tweaking. Customizing the final product with additional graphic elements would be much easier.

Any comments?
Roger

Jul 9, 2008 at 10:23 PM
Hi Roger, 

I haven't heard of any work being done to produce .pdf or .doc(x) output using Sandcastle as of yet.  I was planning to investigate this in the future (at least for docx) but haven't had the time.  You may want to submit this as a feature request on the Issue Tracker.

2. I will be handing off my documentation to two different translators (French and Spanish) and translating a chm will be darn near impossible. A Word file would be ideal.

If you're authoring MAML and XML documentation then you can give that to translators and simply rebuild the HTML help using the translated documentation as input.

3. Distribution. Much easier to circulate a pdf to peers.

How is .pdf easier than .chm?

4. After-the-fact tweaking. Customizing the final product with additional graphic elements would be much easier.

That may be true, but then you can't easily reproduce that ouptut with a single build - you'd have to perform the manual tweaking again.

- Dave
Jul 15, 2008 at 12:42 AM
Hi Dave, sorry for the delay. I was away for a couple of days enjoying the summer!  :)

The problem I have with .chm files (not me personally) is that most of my clients (in government) don't have the chm viewer and in some cases their IT guys have blocked the installation of it. The documentation I'm creating is quite conceptual and will have lots of walk-throughs, white-papers and tutorials, making it better suited to be read as a pdf.

I think what I'll end up doing is splitting the Maml and Xml up into two seperate deliverables. The first, a pdf, created from converting a website containing only the Maml topics. The second, a chm that contains the Xml code comments from each translator. A bit onerous... but the only way I can see to accomplish this. :(

davedev wrote:
Hi Roger, 

I haven't heard of any work being done to produce .pdf or .doc(x) output using Sandcastle as of yet.  I was planning to investigate this in the future (at least for docx) but haven't had the time.  You may want to submit this as a feature request on the Issue Tracker.

2. I will be handing off my documentation to two different translators (French and Spanish) and translating a chm will be darn near impossible. A Word file would be ideal.

If you're authoring MAML and XML documentation then you can give that to translators and simply rebuild the HTML help using the translated documentation as input.

3. Distribution. Much easier to circulate a pdf to peers.

How is .pdf easier than .chm?

4. After-the-fact tweaking. Customizing the final product with additional graphic elements would be much easier.

That may be true, but then you can't easily reproduce that ouptut with a single build - you'd have to perform the manual tweaking again.

- Dave