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DocProject Components

DocProject consists of two major components: DocProject Components
Figure 1: DocProject Components

DocProject's Visual Studio Project Templates

To build help using DocProject you must add a new project to your Visual Studio solution that is based on one of DocProject's Visual Studio Project Templates, which come in two flavors: DocProjects and DocSites.


DocProjects and DocSites build help for project references and/or references to external sources; e.g., individual assemblies, reflection files or entire folders. Dependency information is discovered automatically.

Custom conceptual topics written in Microsoft Assistance Markup Language (MAML) and even raw HTML topics can be added to the project as well.

The Add-In provides a Topic Explorer tool window that allows you to create and organize the table of contents (TOC), which consists of custom conceptual topics and the TOC that is automatically generated by Sandcastle for reference documentation.


Using the Sandcastle build engine, documentation for all referenced assemblies is built into a series of HTML topic files. Optionally, a single compiled help file can be produced consisting of both conceptual and reference documentation. HTML Help 1.x (.chm) and Help 2.x (.HxS) are both supported and are generated by a single build, although both are optional.

DocProject can also produce an AJAX-enabled ASP.NET documentation web site called a DocSite if you use a DocSite Template.


Templates are available in Visual Basic and Visual C#, although Visual J# is supported as well. The language that you choose for your DocProject or DocSite template does not affect which projects can be referenced. Any DocProject or DocSite, regardless of the chosen language, can be used to build compiled help for any Visual C#, Visual Basic, Visual J# and Managed Visual C++ library or executable project within the same solution.


Currently, Sandcastle is used exclusively to build HTML help but DocProject is extensible, with plug-in support for other build engines as well. You can even customize the entire process using your favorite language (e.g., Visual C#, Visual Basic or Visual J#) with a Build Process Component, which hooks into the build process of your DocProject or DocSite.

The templates that are supplied with DocProject come with a concrete Build Process Component implementation, automatically registered with the containing project, that outputs the elapsed time for each build step and the entire help build process. You can customize the component by injecting your own build steps, for example.

See Also

DocProject's Visual Studio Add-In

The Add-In is available in Visual Studio Standard edition and higher. It provides features to DocProjects and DocSites such as:
  • the ability for users to cancel help builds.
  • support for partial and skipped builds.
  • the ability for users to choose build output to be included as project items after a help build completes.
  • the Topic Management Dialog.
  • the Topic Designer.
  • various tool windows such as Topic Explorer, Topic Filters, Topic Editor and DocProject Properties.
  • The DocProject tools options pages, which provide the ability to configure build engines and each individual DocProject and DocSite in the current solution.

Visual Studio Express Support

The Add-In is not available in express editions of Visual Studio; however, express users can use the DocProject External UI (DocProject.exe), which provides the same tools to configure and build their projects as Visual Studio Standard and higher.

See Also

Last edited Jun 9, 2008 at 7:28 PM by davedev, version 5


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