September 13, 2009

Sandcastle with Code Contracts

Microsoft Dev Labs has released a new version of Code Contracts.  (For more information about Code Contracts in the .NET Framework 4.0, see System.Diagnostics.Contracts and this article).  If you haven't yet, I highly recommend installing the latest Code Contracts release.  If you're using Visual Studio 2008 then you'll also get a shiny new tab in your project's Properties window.

Shiny New Properties Tab

Figure 1: Code Contracts tab in Visual Studio 2008 project Properties window

Along with the latest features is a new tool that adds documentation for Code Contracts to an assembly's XML documentation file.  The latest release also includes a Sandcastle patch that allows the vs2005 style to include the code contract documentation within an expandable Contracts section, as shown in the following screenshot.


Figure 2: Example Sandcastle output with Contracts section

The following blog post describes how you can patch Sandcastle so that it uses Code Contracts in XML documentation files.  The author chose to use DocProject to automate the build process, but I suspect that it will work with or without any automation tools for Sandcastle. 

Note that I've tested this procedure with success in Visual Studio 2008 standard edition.

Just don't forget to create a new DocProject or DocSite project after applying the Sandcastle patch.  You can use the Import Topics and Settings step in the New Project Wizard to copy over the important stuff from an existing project if you'd like.


On a side note, I think this also about ruins my ContractN project ;).  I've abandoned it anyway, so I'll be doing the honorable thing and will close down the ContractN project on CodePlex at some point (to help keep CodePlex clean - just doin' my part).  I'll continue to host the code on my blog in case anybody's interested in learning how to use Context-Bound Objects, in some form or another.

February 28, 2008

DocProject in the Visual Studio Gallery

Microsoft's Visual Studio Gallery was announced to the public today.  It provides a one-stop-shop for Visual Studio add-ins, packages, item and project templates, macros, controls, coffee makers, toasters, etc.  I think it's a great idea.  Google can only help so much here (have you tried searching for "visual studio add-ins"? ;)

Anyone can register their free or paid products, so if you've got one, let the world know!

I've added DocProject under the Build, Documentation and Web categories.  It has its own little HTML-formatted corner of the site too, which is a cool feature I think.  Take a look at it here.  It already has over 150 unique views!

Currently, the site does not host products so I simply link back to CodePlex (although I love CodePlex so I have no intention of leaving anytime soon).

From my few short discussions with the site's program manager, Anthony, I'd say that they have some good ideas to work with for the future.  Features that'll make locating products and adding new products easier.  So remember to look back occasionally for updates in the next few months.

February 13, 2008

Sandcastle Build Component Templates 1.1 Released

The Sandcastle Build Component Templates 1.1 release provides two C# Item Templates that you can use to easily create custom Sandcastle Build Components in Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008.

In this blog post I intend to provide some details about the templates, with more focus on hosted components and DocProject's APIInstructions for template installation and usage can be found here.

Basic Sandcastle Build Component Item Template

The Basic Sandcastle Build Component item template is a multi-file Visual Studio Item Template, written in C#, that provides a working example of a custom build component that can be used for command-line builds or with editor support in automation tools such as DocProject and the Sandcastle Help File Builder.  It comes with a built-in graphical editor and a dynamic sub property for the DocProject Properties window, which can be shown by expanding the component in a build component stack (for more information about the stack properties, see How To Use Third-Party Sandcastle Components in DocProject).

Hosted Sandcastle Build Component Item Template

The Hosted Sandcastle Build Component item template is the same as the basic template, but it also provides direct access and a working example of how to gather information from DocProject's API, thus DocProject is required in order to compile the build components that are created based on this template.  Although, DocProject isn't actually required to use the components if you provide a fall-back initialization path.

Initialization Paths

The template's Configuration class provides two initialization paths, one of which is a fall-back that's automatically invoked if the DocProject host API is not detected.

Note: The host API is never available during builds - it's only available when the component's editor is displayed.

Fall-back initialization works since the template depends upon just-in-time (JIT) compilation.  If you properly encapsulate the use of host interfaces, as the template does out-of-the-box, then you can control the initialization path of the component's Configuration class.

The template's Host class is used to encapsulate host interfaces and services, and it provides a way to safely check, at runtime, whether a particular host is reachable.  Support for DocProject's host API is built-in to the template.  All other hosts will use the fall-back initialization path automatically unless you add support for them to the Host and Configuration classes.  The only requirement is that the host invokes your component's editor by calling its EditValue method and passes in an IServiceProvider implementation that can be used to obtain a reference to one or more of the host's services.  (On a side note, the value argument should be set to a System.Xml.XPath.IXPathNavigable implementation that's positioned on the outer XML of the component's configuration, which includes the <component> element itself.)

Modifying Project Options

The template gathers read-only data as an example and does not actually modify any build settings or project options at runtime.  If you want your component implementation to write to the API, then make sure there's a clear relationship between your component and the changes that it's making.

For example, a proprietary AuthorBuildComponent changing the value of the Generate root API topic setting when edited will probably not be obvious to end-users.  But it might be appropriate for the same component editor to add external sources if, for example, it were to provide a way for an end-user to create a list of associations between sources and author names, much like the Version management dialog does with version information.   In this case, the component's editor could save the input-to-author mappings as its inner XML configuration data and add the external sources as a convenience for the user.

Hosted Components as Plug-Ins

Hosted build components are not meant to be a plug-in mechanism for DocProject, per se, but instead are a plug-in mechanism for Sandcastle.  DocProject's API is exposed merely to provide a more user-friendly and integrated experience when editing Sandcastle build components in DocProject.

If you want to create a true DocProject plug-in, then create a custom build engine provider or a build process component, which can provide control over all aspects of DocProject, including the entire build process, engine settings, project options, tool bars, tool windows, menus, custom wizard steps in the New Project Wizard, etc.

DocProject's API for Hosted Components

With the recent release of DocProject 1.10.0 RC, a new interface was added that would provide build components access to DocProject's API, for their graphical editors.  The API can be used to gather information about the environment in which the component's editor is being hosted.  The component can then provide automatic configuration and apply appropriate editor defaults, simplifying configuration for end-users while also adhering to the project paradigm that DocProjects and DocSites use to store their settings.

The purpose of the gateway interface, IDocProjectHost is to provide components with access to DocProject-specific interfaces and types for the context in which the component's editor is being hosted.  Here's the interface's definition:

public interface IDocProjectHost
    IDocProject Project { get; }
    BuildSettings Settings { get; }
    DocProjectOptions Options { get; }
    IBuildEngine Engine { get; }
    IEnvironmentHost EnvironmentHost { get; }
    bool RunningInVisualStudio { get; }

The Hosted template gets a reference to an IDocProjectHost implementation through the service provider that's passed to the editor's EditValue method.  If the host is available then the Configuration class's InitializeForDocProject() method is invoked instead of the fall-back Initialize() method (see above for information about initialization paths).

The InitializeForDocProject method uses the types and interfaces exposed through IDocProjectHost to gather information, which it then stores in private fields.  The fields back properties that are used by the template's EditorControl class.  They are typed as nullable primitives, such as System.String and bool?, so if the values are never set then they'll remain null, in which case the EditorControl will substitute them with "Unavailable" for its read-only display.

Developers are free to remove this code (actually, it's recommended) and replace it with appropriate code for gathering information that's required by the component being developed.  However, the same pattern can be used to safely encapsulate data that can be initialized with or without a host API.

Note: The configuration fields must not be typed as host-specific types or interfaces if you want to be able to use your components in other environments, without the host API installed.


With the release of DocProject 1.10.0 RC and the corresponding Hosted Sandcastle Build Component Item Template 1.1, developers can now have seamless integration in DocProject for their custom build components' editors, providing a more robust platform on which to configure and build documentation while potentially simplifying configuration for end-users through automation and inferred default settings.

January 17, 2008

DocProject Roadmap

As you may have already heard, Sandcastle [1] was officially released to the web (RTW) through CodePlex on January 15, 2008.  The license that was chosen is the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) [2], but keep an eye on it because it may change [3].  There are still a few unanswered questions that I have [3] about how Microsoft's work on Sandcastle will continue and how it will affect DocProject, but things are looking very positive.

In this blog post I'd like to express a few of my goals and ideas for DocProject and maybe even try to establish some preliminary timeline.  And of course, if you have any thoughts your feedback will be welcomed :)

The End of Phase 1

With the help of community feedback and my propensity for being anti-social in favor of sitting in a dark room, programming, DocProject's long initial development phase is nearing an end.  The next release, which you can read about in my blog (DocProject 1.10.0 RC Preview [4]), brings together a few long-awaited features that will hopefully start to make DocProject into a useful help authoring tool (HAT) [5].  I'm going to try for Monday, January 21st, to release 1.10.0 RC, and I'm hoping that the worst-case scenario will be the following Friday.

From there I expect to deploy only one more Release Candidate that contains various outstanding bug fixes and feature requests and then I'll freeze DocProject's feature set for Visual Studio 2005.  The following deployment, 1.12.0, should therefore be the first DocProject Production release.  Expect that in March, 2008.

Visual Studio 2005 vs. Visual Studio 2008

I expect to have my own licensed copy of VS 2008 Standard edition sometime before the end of February, but until then I've decided that I will not be concentrating on any new deployments for DocProject 2008 Beta, although I'm very excited about using VS 2008 and I'll certainly jump on that bandwagon as soon as I can.

So for now, you can expect development to continue like normal for VS 2005.  But once I start concentrating on VS 2008, I'm probably going to freeze the feature set for VS 2005, distribute the first Production release of DocProject 1.x, and then switch gears for .NET 3.5 and, possibly, VS Package development.  I intended to eventually release DocProject as a true package, hopefully with its own editors and actual project types [6] (i.e., DocProject and DocSite Templates [7] that are recognized by Visual Studio as distinct project types, with their own property pages, etc.).

After DocProject 1.x goes into stabilization (the end of phase 1) I'll certainly provide support for it and help people whenever I can if they have questions about how to modify the source code or how to add additional features themselves.  Although, the only official deployments that you'll see will probably be major releases that fix a large number of bugs.

Well that's my plan anyway because in the last couple of DocProject 2008 releases I've realized that maintaining two versions of the project is almost like double the work; however, since Visual Studio 2008 will allow me to target the .NET 2.0 Framework I may be able to work on both versions of DocProject simultaneously, without much additional effort.  If that's true then hopefully I won't feel the need to freeze the DocProject 1.x feature set.  Although, technically I can't really freeze DocProject's feature set anyway since it's open source ;)

DocProject Documentation

I plan to distribute compiled help for DocProject 1.x that consists of both API reference and conceptual documentation after the first Production release.  I'd say that a week or two should be enough time to author useful, preliminary documentation.  After that I'll probably just add content here and there and deploy whenever I reach certain milestones that I define on the fly.

A .chm will be downloadable from CodePlex and the installer will present you with the option to have DocProject's help content (.HxS) merged with Visual Studio's help.  I'm even considering hosting a DocSite as an online reference and as a great working example of DocProject's and Sandcastle's capabilities.

Phase 2

The next phase will pickup with the development of DocProject 2008, targeting Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Framework.  The timeline will probably start sometime in March, 2008.  From there I hope to deploy on a monthly basis as I've done with DocProject for the past year+ (since December, 2006 as a matter of fact).


Although DocProject, in the next release [4], will provide first-class support for building mixed reference and conceptual documentation, unbounded filtering capabilities, much improved performance and a mostly finalized API, I still see lots of room for improvement.  Namely, in the area of content-based features such as for authoring topics and localization.  Also, here's a few of the outstanding tasks [8] that I'm going to look into for DocProject 2008: 

  • Running DocProject in areas of heightened security (e.g., Vista with UAC enabled).
  • SQL Server full-text search provider for the DocSite templates.
  • Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF output.
  • The ability to annotate comments with developer notes. 
  • Automatic token replacement.
  • Some new DocSite skins, maybe including one that makes judicious use of SilverLight.  (Documentation might start looking better than the software it documents, if I achieve my goal, that is ;)
  • Change control and better support for team scenarios; e.g., the ability to have a server that continuously builds live documentation to keep it up-to-date.
  • The development of a simple community wiki for the DocSite templates, which I guess we can start calling the "DocSite Community Wiki" feature (sure, some might say it's a rip-off of the MSDN Community Content Wiki idea, and I guess they'd be correct ;).  This should be very useful in team scenarios for large, volatile, hosted documentation sets.
  • The ability to register multiple Build Process Components [9] per project, with a management UI as well.  I may even turn the Sandcastle/Deployment [10] engine into a BPC that can be added to any DocProject or DocSite.
  • Other various user-defined tasks (bug fixes and feature requests).

I have even more ideas that I've been tossing around for a while, so I hope to aggregate them into a blog post and eventually add them as work items in CodePlex.  And if you have any ideas for DocProject features please let me know!


Development will target Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Framework, and as I mentioned previously, I'm definitely considering rewriting areas of DocProject as a true VS Package with its own custom editors and project types.  I'm also considering using WPF for the interfaces.  There will be a learning curve but it's one that I'm going to have to accept eventually (and I really do want to learn).


I expect to continue collaborating with community members to find bugs and DocProject's potential for new features.  It seems to me that the experience of DocProject users has been positive, so I'd like to continue working on DocProject in the future in the same way as I've been for the last year.  But if you feel differently please let me know.  Even though it's open source I'd still like to provide an acceptable level of service and support in my free time since the time that I put into helping end-users is also time that I'm putting into DocProject (even if it's just thought), which helps to make a better product even for me to use.


It might also be worth noting that I'm going to maintain the "openness" of DocProject by continuing to introduce new public APIs and areas for extensibility whenever possible.  With the limited feedback that I've received, I'd say that DocProject's high level of extensibility was a success.  A few people have mentioned to me that their businesses have created custom build engine providers [11] and build process components, and I've even used BPCs to help people debug issues in the past.  Actually, my favorite feature of DocProject might actually be the build process component, which, incidentally, doesn't really have anything in particular to do with documentation.


It's hard to predict when the first Production release for DocProject 2008 will be deployed, but if I can use the past year as a metric then I'd say another year from now is certainly reasonable, and possibly even longer than might be required.  To be honest, I think the summer of 2008 is a reasonable goal as long as I keep my eyes on the prize.

Phase 3

At the start of phase 3 I hope to have already achieved my major goals for DocProject, which includes much better integration into Visual Studio and additional features that will make authoring documentation extremely simple and, in many cases, automated.  Thanks to Sandcastle I believe that this goal is attainable.

For the future I think I'm aiming for much better external support so that non-Visual Studio users will be able to benefit from DocProject's features as well.  The team-based features that I mentioned previously might get pushed into this phase, but we'll see how it goes.  And finally, I'd like to hear your ideas for where you'd like to see DocProject go.  After I'm able to meet most of my own goals I'd like to brainstorm with the community to come up with some new and innovative ideas to be a part of DocProject in the future.


[1] Sandcastle on CodePlex,

[2] Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL),

[3] CTP, License and Source Code,

[4] Dave Sexton's Blog: DocProject 1.10.0 RC Preview,

[5] Help authoring tool. (2008, January 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:22, January 17, 2008, from

[6] DocProject Work Items: VS 2008 Shell and Extensibility,

[7] DocProject Components,

[8] DocProject Work Items, Advanced List,

[9] DocProject's Build Process, Build Process Components,

[10] DocProject Sandcastle/Deployment Plug-In,

[11] DocProject tutorial: Creating a Build Engine Provider,

November 20, 2007

DocProject 2008 Beta 2 Released

DocProject 2008 Beta 2 has been deployed to CodePlex.

  • Compatible with Visual Studio 2008 RTM (tested against Team Suite Trial).

  • Compatible with Visual C# 2008 Express and Visual Basic 2008 Express.

  • Supports side-by-side installation with the DocProject 1.9.0 RC for Visual Studio 2005.

  • Built using the same codebase as the 1.9.0 RC, with updates to support Visual Studio 2008, a few subtle changes that will also be included in the 1.10.0 RC, and some bug fixes.

Bug Fixes
  1. Topic Management Error: Value cannot be null
  2. Deleting a comment section does not mark the content item as dirty, so if it's the only change that's made it's not committed when the dialog is closed.
  3. The Cancel and Back buttons cause control validation on the Wizard Form, but they shouldn't.
  4. DocProjectEnvironment.InstallVSExtensions adds the same commands and tool windows to the commands and tool window collections even if they're already present.
  5. DocProject Properties window may be added to the wrong Project command bar, depending upon the environment.
Known Issue

The Build Component Stack configuration options display Load Error messages. This issue is related to a problem in Visual Studio 2008 that has yet to be resolved; however, if you manually add Sandcastle's assemblies to the GAC then you will not experience this issue.

See my blog post about this issue for more information.

Side-By-Side Installation

DocProject 2008 Beta 2 will work side-by-side with DocProject 1.9.0 RC, although you must update new and existing 1.9.0 DocProjects and DocSites so that they use a specific version of the DaveSexton.DocProject assembly.

To ensure that your 1.9.0 RC projects continue to work, follow these steps after installing DocProject 2008 Beta 2:

  1. Open an existing 1.9.0 RC DocProject or DocSite in Visual Studio 2005.
    1. If you need to create a new project instead then continue to the next step after completing DocProject's New Project Wizard.
  2. Expand the References folder in Solution Explorer.
  3. Right-mouse click the DaveSexton.DocProject assembly and select Properties.
  4. Set Specific Version to True. The version number, which is read-only, should automatically change from to
  5. Save the project.
If you do not follow these instructions then you will get an error when you attempt to build the project that states, The specified type is not a valid BuildProcessComponent implementation.
November 16, 2007

DocProject 2008 Beta 2 - AssemblyResolve Showstopper

April 27, 2008 Update: The problem is with Type.GetType forcing a complete JIT when executing in VS 2008 (it is used by InstantiateProviders).  I've submitted a new bug report that provides a much cleaner solution to reproduce the problem:

Nov. 20, 2007 Update: I've narrowed the problem down to a call to System.Web.Configuration.ProvidersHelper.InstantiateProviders, which tries to resolve all dependencies at the time of invocation even if they are not being referenced in any executing code.  If assembly resolution must be deferred (as is the case in DocProject) then this presents a problem because there will not be an AppDomain.AssemblyResolve event handler registered to help the framework resolve the assembly.  However, this behavior only occurs when VS 2008 is hosting the executing code.  It does not occur in VS 2005 or in a console application built on the .NET 3.5 framework, for example.

I've submitted feedback to the Sandcastle team to have them GAC the required Sandcastle assemblies to prevent the issue in this blog post from occurring.  For now though, you can manually GAC the BuildComponents.dll, BuildAssemblerLibrary.dll and CommandLine.dll assemblies using: gacutil /i assembly_name.dll

I will be releasing DocProject 2008 Beta 2 shortly.

I've finished working on DocProject 2008 Beta 2, however, there is an issue with the new build component stack properties that has prevented me from releasing it: When the stack properties are expanded, all of their components are replaced with load error messages.

If you feel that this issue should not be preventing me from releasing the product then please let me know and I'll consider removing the expandable stack properties for now in 2008 Beta 2.

More Details

The problem is that an assembly cannot be delay-loaded in certain situations while a program is being hosted by VS 2008 since the AppDomain.AssemblyResolve event is not being raised.  The same code works in VS 2005 and using .NET 3.5 in a console app, but it just doesn't work when executed by a VS 2008 add-in.

It appears to be the same bug in VS 2008 that I reported back in August, but at the time I had discovered a work-around that was successful because the assembly was being loaded in another AppDomain.  Unfortunately, it won't work this time since the components must be loaded in the default AppDomain.

I've submitted new comments (starting at 11/16/07) in the feedback with a project that reproduces the bug attached, so I'm hoping that someone will post a workaround (I assume that it's way too late to get fixed in VS now).  Download the attachment from my website if you think you can help.  The instructions are in my feedback post :)

Here's the output that the example produces in the debug window.  Notice how the console version of the program appropriately raises the AppDomain.AssemblyResolve event, where as the VS add-in version does not.  The exception is actually not the problem - it's to be expected since I didn't add any code to actually resolve the assembly.  (The point is that VS 2008 doesn't even give DocProject a chance to resolve the assembly).  And BTW, both hosting scenarios in my example call into the exact same code.

The example was developed on the latest release of the Windows Server 2003 VPC for Visual Studio 2008 Team System Beta 2.


'ConsoleApp.vshost.exe' (Managed): Loaded 'C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\TestAddIn\ThirdPartyLibrary\bin\Debug\ThirdPartyLibrary.dll', Symbols loaded.
AssemblyLoad: ThirdPartyLibrary, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=8fd3dad2bd735269
*********** Loading type...
AssemblyResolve: ThirdPartyLibrary, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=8fd3dad2bd735269
A first chance exception of type 'System.IO.FileNotFoundException' occurred in PlugInLibrary.dll
The thread 0xbfc has exited with code 0 (0x0).
The thread 0xd08 has exited with code 0 (0x0).
The program '[1180] ConsoleApp.vshost.exe: Managed' has exited with code 0 (0x0).


'devenv.exe' (Managed): Loaded 'C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\TestAddIn\ThirdPartyLibrary\bin\Debug\ThirdPartyLibrary.dll', Symbols loaded.
AssemblyLoad: ThirdPartyLibrary, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=8fd3dad2bd735269
*********** Loading type...
A first chance exception of type 'System.IO.FileNotFoundException' occurred in PlugInLibrary.dll
'devenv.exe' (Managed): Loaded 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.Build.dll'
AssemblyLoad: Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.Build, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a
The program '[3292] devenv.exe: Managed' has exited with code 0 (0x0).

October 08, 2007

DocProject 2008 Beta 2 Is Delayed

I've decided not to release DocProject 2008 Beta 2 with the 1.8.0 feature set.  Instead, I plan to reduce the number of conversion requirements and release Beta 2 with the next VS2005-compatible release, 1.9.0 RC.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

August 14, 2007

DocProject Conversion to 2008 and Backlog

In case anyone's interested, this post contains my notes for converting the code base of DocProject 1.7.0 to support Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2. After that I've included DocProject's backlog of tasks, which may contain some ideas that you'd be interested in seeing me implement in a subsequent release.

Notes on the Conversion from 1.7.0 to 2008

It was no easy task, though I don't think my experience is any indication of what must be done for the conversion of general 2.0 Framework applications since DocProject relies heavily on Visual Studio itself at runtime, which is uncommon (at least until future apps start using the new Visual Studio Shell).

While logging this information I was also running into various issues building the source code and running the program. In order to ease maintenance I made whatever changes I could to both the 1.7.0 and 2008 code bases to fix the bugs while keeping them in sync. As a result the code base of DocProject 2008 is 99.99% the same as DocProject 1.7.0, with a few special adjustments such as a different hard-coded installation path under the root installation directory, for example. Many of the updates that I logged were simply changes to references of version numbers but there were also many modifications to the InstallPrep and Installer projects. I don't think any bug fixes are logged here, however.

This is not an exhaustive list of what was required for the conversion. If the time comes again that I must convert DocProject's source I'll certainly follow these notes as a guideline, but I'm sure the process will require my attention.

  1. After installing DocProject on the build machine, copy the Source folder to "My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\DaveSexton.DocProject08\" and uninstall DocProject.
  2. Update the Installer project to search for "VSORCAS OR VCSORCASEXPRESS OR VBORCASEXPRESS", but rename the search and conditions to use 2008 instead of ORCAS; e.g., VS2008 OR ...
    NOTE: In 1.7.0 RC for VS 2005 the VSORCAS searches were removed to support side-by-side installation. The VS2005 searches should actually be replaced with VS2008 searches instead.
  3. Update the DaveSexton.DocProject.InstallPrep.CustomActions.Contents property to return ONLY the Orcas content.
  4. Update all of the projects, including the templates, to use the 3.5 framework. Note that the DocSite templates require a temporary modification to the web.config file before hand unless the modification is done manually. To automate it, use the properties dialog - Application tab for C# projects and Compile tab > Advanced Compile Options button for VB projects.
  5. Replace the 2.0 framework prereq with the 3.5 framework in the Installer project.
  6. Update the DaveSexton.DocProject VCProjectEngine reference to
  7. Update DaveSexton.DocProject.InstallPrep\PostBuildEvents\DaveSexton.DocProject.bat, and the Sandcastle, Sandcastle/Deployment and HtmlEditor projects' post build events:
        "%programfiles%\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\bin\gacutil.exe" ...
  8. Update DaveSexton.DocProject.InstallPrep:
    1. BootStrapper\vs_piaredist should be changed to vs90_piaredist.
    2. Copy in the vs90_piaredist files and update the Readme.txt file.
    3. Update the Readme.txt file in the project's root to reference vs90_piaredist instead of vs_piaredist.
    4. Contents\Installer\DocProject.AddIn file should be updated to version 9.0 in the HostApplication element.
    5. Replace all occurances of <ContentVersion>1.0</ContentVersion> with <ContentVersion>2.0</ContentVersion> in Contents\Installer\DocProject.vscontent
  9. Delete the DaveSexton.DocProject.DocProjectAddIn.GetMSBuildBinPath methods since they are no longer used (see next step)
  10. Delete all the code in the DaveSexton.DocProject.MSBuild.MSBuildAnyProject(string) class constructor above and including the local variable named, "vsVersion" and use the parameterless Engine() constructor instead. (There is a warning about this in the Error List when building the DocProject Add-In assembly).
  11. Delete Microsoft.Build... references from DaveSexton.DocProject and DaveSexton.DocProject.ExternalUI and replace them with references to the new 3.5 versions.
  12. Remove the DaveSexton.DocProject.MSBuild.BuildDocProject.MSBuildBinPath property and all remaining related code, including code that constructs and MSBuild Engine class using a custom bin path. (There will be warnings in the Error List after building the DocProject Add-In assembly).
  13. Update the DaveSexton.DocProject.InstallPrep\DaveSexton.DocProject.targets file by removing the MSBuildBinPath attribute from the BuildDocProject and CleanDocProject tasks.
  14. Update DocProject and DocSite project templates (found in the InstallPrep's Contents\[template name] folders):
    1. Change version to <ProductVersion>9.0.20706</ProductVersion>
    2. Append <TargetFrameworkVersion>v3.5</TargetFrameworkVersion> to the first PropertyGroup
    3. Change targets reference to <Import Project="$(DocProjectPath)\VS2008\bin\DaveSexton.DocProject.targets" />
      (NOTE: DocProjectPath environment variable must be defined - this is indicated below)
  15. Update DocSite templates:
    1. Change type guids to (actually, I don't think this step is necessary):
      C#: <ProjectTypeGuids>{349c5851-65df-11da-9384-00065b846f21};{fae04ec0-301f-11d3-bf4b-00c04f79efbc}</ProjectTypeGuids>
      VB: <ProjectTypeGuids>{349c5851-65df-11da-9384-00065b846f21};{F184B08F-C81C-45F6-A57F-5ABD9991F28F}</ProjectTypeGuids>
    2. Change web app target to <Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v9.0\WebApplications\Microsoft.WebApplication.targets" />
  16. Global search for "8.0" just in case any more updates are required for "9.0" (NOTE: the binding redirect in the External UI project's app.config file should NOT be updated to
  17. In the InstallPrep project delete the WiRunSQL.vbs file and the UpdateMSI.bat file, and then remove the Installer project's post build event.
  18. In the Installer project:
    1. In the File System Editor, change the Application Folder's DefaultLocation to "[ProgramFilesFolder][Manufacturer]\DocProject"
    2. Create a folder under the Application Folder and name it "VS2008"
    3. Drag each root folder into the VS2008 folder and then drag the files located in the root into VS2008 as well.
    4. Changeg the Version to 1.0.0
    5. Change the ProductCode and the UpgradeCode.
    6. Change the Subject to "DocProject 2008 (Full)"
    7. Change the ProductName to "DocProject 2008"
    8. Open the Registry Editor. Hard-code "DocProject" instead of using [ProductName] used in the key for the InstallPath value (for both the HKCU and HKLM).
    9. In the Registry Editor, change the value of each SafeImports key (DocProject value) to [TARGETDIR]VS2008\bin\DaveSexton.DocProject.targets
    10. In the Registry Editor, change the "8.0" key to "9.0" in each of the paths to the SafeImports values.
    11. For each SafeImports key (DocProject value) also udpate the condition to use 2008 instead of ORCAS; e.g., VS2008, VCS2008EXPRESS and VB2008EXPRESS
    12. Change the VS2008\bin\DaveSexton.DocProject.dll.config file's TargetName property to DaveSexton.DocProject08.dll.config
  19. Change the assembly and file version for each project to ""
  20. Append "08" to each project's assembly name (Applications tab in the project properties dialog).
  21. Do a global search in the entire solution for "DaveSexton.DocProject (with a single quote prefix). Where appropriate, append "08" to the assembly name of references and upate the version to "" as well, for all projects - not just DaveSexton.DocProject.dll.
  22. Rename the solution to "DaveSexton.DocProject08". Then locate the .sln file in the Installer project's File System Editor under the Source folder. Delete the existing file and add the new 08 .sln file.
  23. Rename the DocProject.AddIn and DocProject.vscontent files in the InstallPrep project to DocProject08.AddIn and DocProject08.vscontent. They're located in the Contents\Installer folder. Also update DocProject08.vscontent so that it references the renamed .AddIn file.
  24. Append "08" to the name of each template folder and update the Installer\DocProject08.vscontent file to point to the renamed .zip files.
  25. Update the InstallPrep project's Install.CustomActions class:
    1. Repeat the previous step on the static fields that reference the template zip files and the .AddIn file.
    2. Update the InstallEnvironmentVariables method to use "targetEnvironmentVariable, Target"
    3. Update the UninstallEnvironmentVariables to use "targetEnvironmentVariable, null"
    4. Delete the TargetBin property
    5. Change the buildPathEnvironmentVariable field to: private const string targetEnvironmentVariable = "DocProjectPath";
    6. Add a new property (after the Target property) named TargetFlavor that returns "Path.Combine(Target, @"VS2008\");"
    7. Update the CreateInstaller method to use TargetFlavor instead of Target.
  26. Update the DocProjectAddIn class's InstallPath property to return Path.Combine(installPath, @"VS2008\");
  27. Update the BuildOutput.bat file in the root of InstallPrep:
    1. Update the template names (only the second argument must be updated). For example: CALL :ZIP_TEMPLATE "%TemplateDirRoot%\VBDocSiteTemplate" VBDocSiteTemplate08
    2. SET InstallerName=DocProjectInstaller08
  28. Build the InstallPrep project once. Then open the Installer project's File System Editor and navigate to Application Folder\VS2008 in the tree:
    1. Delete the DocProjectInstaller.vsi file and replace it with the new DocProjectInstaller08.vsi file found in the InstallPrep project directory.
    2. Open the Setup\AddIn folder and delete DocProject.AddIn. Add DocProject08.AddIn from the Contents\Installer folder.
    3. Open the Setup\Templates folder and delete all of them. Add them back from the Contents\Templates folder (hidden in Solution Explorer), but only choose the 08 versions (previous versions can be deleted since this is a temporary folder and they are no longer in use).
  29. Run Code Analysis on each project, including InstallPrep but not the templates or the Installer. In some projects there may be certain rules that should be disabled. For example:
    1. Naming: CA1703 (resource spell-checker)
    2. Naming: CA1704 (identifier spell-checker)
    3. Naming: CA1716 (indentifiers that are keywords, such as "step")
  30. Make sure to exclude all detected dependencies in the Installer project before building it.
Build and Test:
Make sure that the solution builds without any errors. Then build the InstallPrep project and make sure that it completes without any errors.
(Check the build output window for DSZip errors). Build the Installer project and install DocProject on the build machine.
  • Install DSZip on the build machine.
  • Make sure to copy the "vs90_piaredist" bootstrapper folder into the "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Bootstrapper\Packages\" folder on the build machine.


Here's some stuff that's been on the backburner for quite some time now.

  • Auto-merge changes to partial-build items. Concrete engines are responsible, but the BuildEngine class could copy all partial items to a temporary folder before a build. Then after the build completes, call the derived-implementation of protected abstract void MergePartialBuildItem(DocProjectItem oldItem, DocProjectItem newItem) for each file in the temp folder. Finally, each temp file would be deleted. This method should be added to the IBuildEngine interface as well. If an implementation can't or shouldn't merge the changes then it doesn't have to do anything with the temp file, or even open it.
  • Create an item template for Sandcastle's build component (the New Project Wizard may have to be responsible for referencing the BuildAssemblerLibrary assembly unless the item template supports some sort of wizard that can do the job – but this needs to be researched)
  • Components dialog that served as an interface for the .config files. It would be a list of components found in the Sandcastle assemblies, the project's assembly, and any registered assemblies. The order and parameters could be specified, somehow.
    • Create a wizard step that asks the user to choose from various build components to be included in the project's {root}\Components\ folder. For example, XAMLSyntaxGenerator.cs, which would automatically be registered in the .config file.
    • Allow users to add cusotm build components to a DocProject or DocSite via an item template.
    • List of "registered" assemblies on left (registered assemblies cannot be removed from the list if there are stack components that reference them)
    • Build component stack displayed on right ("New" drop-down button, with "External Component", like a browse button, and "Internal Component", that searches the project's assembly (also with "Add New" as an option, somewhere)
    • Up down arrows that control the order that components are executed in the stack
    • Reset button that will import the configuration file for the project's presentation, replacing all changes (Are you sure? dialog)
  • Have a start debug button ">" in the Sandcastle toolbar that will put Visual Studio into debug mode and attach to an external "msbuild.exe /project" process for debugging custom build componenents and the build process component. For DocProjects, this may be possible without a custom button by setting the startup program on the Debug tag, if it's possible to do that from the templates.
  • ApiFilter Issues:
    • reference method signatures?
    • discover generic type name? (currently, the id is parsed by searching for .name` where name is the value of the name attribute of the corresponding apidata element)
  • API Topic Management Dialog:
    • Add/Save/Load feature: Allow users to add a filter (regex or category) to a list that can be ordered using up/down arrows. Saving the list would create an XML doc. Loading the XML doc would recreate the list in the dialog, which could be applied by clicking the list's Apply button (each individual filter would be processed one at a time, top-down).
  • Attribute Filter Dialog for Syntax Generator ("Syntax Attribute Filter")
  • Automatic token replacement in code comments:
    • Have a dialog that lists token values that can expand to full HTML, which can be edited by clicking an ellipses button that opens an Html Editor dialog, for each individual token.
    • Users can import and export the list to and from an xml file.
    • Make the token replacement start and end strings (both "$" in the examples below) configurable in the tools options page in case the default values conflict with some other device. The values are required and cannot contain ANY white-space. Token replacement will only occur if the following regular expression is matched: \$[^\s\$]+\$
    • When customized, for example, if the start token is % and the end token is ^ then the expression would be: \%[^\s\%]+\^
  • Examples:
    Custom Tokens
    $isnull$      "is a <strong>null</strong> reference (<strong>Nothing</strong> in Visual Basic)"
                  (this could be built-in, but editable)
    $my-token$    "Hello <strong>World</strong>!"
    more custom...

    Uneditable Tokens (cannot be modified, imported or exported):
    $time$        DateTime.Now.ToLongTimeString(), in the current culture
    $date$        DateTime.Now.ToLongDateString(), in the current culture
    $datetime$    DateTime.Now.ToString(), in the current culture
    $user$        Expands to the current user's name.  e.g., Administrator
    $name$        Expands to the name of the member or type to which the comment applies.  
                  e.g., ToString, IsEnabled, BuildEngineProvider
    $fullname$    Expands to the full $name$.  e.g., MyNamesapce.MyObject.ToString, 
                  MyNamesapce.MyObject.IsEnabled, MyNamesapce.BuildEngineProvider
    $type$        Expands to the containing type of the member, or the type itself if the 
                  comment applies directory to a type.
    $-type$       Exapnds $type$ to a link.  Same as: <see cref="$type$"/>
    $-x|y$        Expands to a hyperlink: <a href="y" mce_href="y">x</a>
                  or <a href="x" mce_href="x">x</a> if the vertical bar is not specified.
    $project$     Expands to the name of the project: {project name}
    $-project$    Expands to the project link:  <a href="R_Project.htm" >{project name}</a>
                  (or the GUID form)
    $home$        Expands to a hyperlink with its url designated by the user.  By default, this token 
                  will be ignored unless the user enters a valid Uri and name.  (custom editor, I guess)
    $art$         Expands to the virtual artwork path; currently, /Art

Several of these ideas are already work items that you can vote on. Please let me know if any of them seem interesting to you. I have several other ideas as well that I haven't written down yet but I will when the time comes.

The only reason why I haven't started on the token replacement feature is because I think Microsoft already has an internal implementation that they use, but I'm just itching to create it myself. I'm waiting now to see if they'll make theirs public first before I attempt to reinvent the wheel, if in fact their implementation supports the feature set that I'm after.