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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
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Exploring the new Help engine


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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

Video: Exploring the new Help engine

For better or worse, Microsoft has created a new help engine. The official name is Microsoft Help 3, and it is the de facto help engine in Visual Studio and MSDN. The claim to fame for this latest version is that it runs in a browser. The goal--or so I've heard--is to make it easier to keep the help files up to date. During a typical install of Visual Studio, you were offered the opportunity to install Help. Whether you chose this option or not, you can still configure and update Help from inside Visual Studio.
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
8h 9m Intermediate Nov 16, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to use Visual Studio 2010 Professional to develop full-featured applications targeting a variety of platforms. Starting with an overview of the integrated developer environment, the course covers working with code editors, navigating and formatting code, and deploying applications. Also included are tutorials on running performance and load tests, and debugging code. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating a Visual Studio project
  • Building the user interface
  • Binding to an RSS feed
  • Coding with IntelliSense
  • Creating rich Internet applications with Silverlight
  • Building Windows applications with Windows Forms
  • Integrating with SQL Server
  • Working with Microsoft Office applications
  • Understanding extensibility in Visual Studio
  • Working with data, ADO.NET and datasets
  • Using source control
Subject:
Developer
Software:
ASP.NET Silverlight Visual Studio
Author:
Walt Ritscher

Exploring the new Help engine

For better or worse, Microsoft has created a new help engine. The official name is Microsoft Help 3, and it is the de facto help engine in Visual Studio and MSDN. The claim to fame for this latest version is that it runs in a browser. The goal--or so I've heard--is to make it easier to keep the help files up to date. During a typical install of Visual Studio, you were offered the opportunity to install Help. Whether you chose this option or not, you can still configure and update Help from inside Visual Studio.

Let me show you how that is done. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I have opened a project called ExploringHelpEngine. I'm going to click on the Help menu and choose Manage Help Settings. I've already run Help a number of times on this computer, so I move right into the Help Library Manager. If you're running this for the first time, you might see a dialog that looks like this: Online Help Consent. You also might see this dialog: select local content location.

As I said, I have already installed Help and used it several times, so I didn't see either of those dialogs. Let's return back to Visual Studio and look at this Library Manager. You can choose whether your help runs locally or online. Microsoft suggests that you run online, so you always have the latest content. So I'm going to click on this hyperlink, Choose online or local help, and you can see I already have I want to use online help. If I switch over and say I want to use local help, then I have to tell it where to put the local files.

Now if you run local help, a special help service runs on your computer and intercepts calls from the browser to ensure that features like search work correctly. I'm going to go ahead and click OK here. Now, I need to install some content from online to my local computer. I'll click on this hyperlink. The Help Library Manager will go out to Microsoft and show me the available help libraries. As you can see, there are dozens of these help libraries. I can then click on one-- let's say this IIS Developer.

The help engine tells me that it's going to be a 23 MB download. If I click the Update button, it will download a copy of that file to my local computer, install it, and then tell me it's finished. I am not going to do that today because I am going to use the online help. So I am going to click Cancel here. Then I am going to return to choose online or local help and go back to I want to use online help, and then I'll choose Exit. Let's see how the help engine works.

I'm going to open this Program.cs file by double-clicking on it, and I'm going to scroll down here and look at this System.IO.FileStream class. I'm going to click on the class and then in Visual Studio, all you need to do is press F1 to launch Help. Remember, I have online help configured. So it opens up my default browser--in this case Firefox--and loads the MSDN help file. You can see that this is a FileStream class, and I can see a list of information about the FileStream class.

I can click on this hyperlink to read more information about it. I can click on this C# tab here to read the C# declaration. Otherwise, if I was writing this class in C#, this would be the way I would declare my class. I can read more about the help down here, see some examples in my code, and then I can see, at the bottom, the Inheritance Hierarchy, which platform it applies to, whether it's considered to be thread- safe or not, and which versions of the framework supported the FileStream class. Virtually every single version that has shipped has supported this class.

I can also come down here and see the file members. Here are the constructors of the class. Here are the methods that are available. Here are the properties. Also, I might see some events if the type supports those. I'm going to switch back to Visual Studio, and this time I am to click on the Console.WriteLine. Now there are multiple overloads of this WriteLine function. This WriteLine function takes a decimal value.

This WriteLine function takes a double value. So I'm going to click on this first one and press F1. Now what you see is I'm showing the Console.WriteLine method, and it shows all the different overloads of that method that I just showed you. So there should be one here for a double value. There it is. I'm going to click on this. That takes me to details about the Console.WriteLine method that takes it double. There is a new twist in the MSDN help. If you scroll down to the bottom of the screen, you'll see the section called Community Content.

Microsoft is trying to make it more like a wiki, so that you and I can change the help and add supplemental pieces of information to each help page. So what I could do is if I saw something wrong on this help page, or I wanted to write a more useful example, I could click on Add, log in with my Windows Live ID, and then I could submit my update to the help file. There is one more interesting thing I would like to show you about help.

If I return back to Visual Studio and click on the Help menu, you'll see there's a number of settings in here: Report a Bug, Samples, Customer Feedback Options, and many more. The one I want to look at here is the MSDN Forums. If I click here, it'll take me to the online forums, where I can ask questions and read what other people are doing as far as .NET is concerned. Notice that it has loaded it inside Visual Studio. There is a browser window built right into the Visual Studio engine.

Here are the different forums that are available for me to ask questions. So I might click on this Visual Studio setup, and then I can see there are 7,980 different threads running inside this group. Well, that's about all I have to show you in help. If you're a veteran Visual Studio programmer, you may need some time to adjust to this new help engine. But overall, it's a decent implementation, and it gets the job done.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training.


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Q: Which edition of Visual Studio 2010 do I need to follow along in this course?
A: The course is taught with Visual Studio 2010 Professional, but can also be used with the Premium or Ultimate editions. The Express editions of Visual Studio, including Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C# 2010 Express, and Visual C++ Express, are not covered in this course.
Q: I'm attempting to download the exercise files for this course, and my virus protection is blocking me from unzipping the downloaded file. Are the files corrupted?
A: The alert is a false-positive message. Your antivirus software is detecting the active code included in the exercise files, which in some ways resembles viral code. There is nothing to be alarmed about and you can ignore the warning. This is common among coding courses and environments.
 
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