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Help Viewer 2.0 Ships

posted Aug 14, 2013, 11:08 AM by Robert Chandler   [ updated Jan 6, 2014, 7:39 PM ]
A new Help System HV 2.0 ships with both VS 2012 and Windows 8. 
  • Sept 2012 - Help Viewer 2 ships with Visual Studio 2012 (VS11) RTM
  • Oct  2012 - Help Viewer 2 ships with Windows 8 RTM
HV 1.0 (VS 2010 help) and HV 2.0 use the same .mshc help file format, but HV 2.0 has a new runtime.
The HV 1.0 Agent tray application is gone and replaced with a traditional COM API interface. 

The help runtime system VS11 (VS 2012) and WIndows 8 are identical (but the Windows DLLs are in a different location with different naming).
Also each system has it's own help file viewer (UI). The viewer with Windows 8 is very basic and undocumented (just Search). while the VS11 viewer is full featured (TOC/Index/Search/HelpManager). was contracted by Microsoft help team to write a set of HV 2.0 API code examples (in C#) along with documentation --

I think this is all heading in the right direction. 
Granted the help system isn't allowed to be installed on older versions of Windows, but it is robust and has an extensive easy to use COM API. With the API examples developers can easily create their own help UI and integrate help into their applications.