Online Documentation?

Docking/MDI for WPF Forum

Posted 4 years ago by Justin Klein
Version: 15.1.0623
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I've been evaluating Actipro's Docking & MDI implementation, and while I find it very well-suited to my needs, I'm struggling immensely with their lack of online documentation.  I'm wondering if anybody else has had issues as a result - and if so, how have they worked around them?

While all the other major component makers make their docs quick & easy to access (i.e. just visit their website - no need to install the full kit), even after it's installed, coding with Actipro's local-only docs has proven pretty cumbersome.  For instance, using a local CHM prevents me from easily bookmarking where I left off (as I would in a browser), from referencing links in my code comments, from keeping multiple pages of the docs open (without needing to launch the CHM over & over in separate instances), from easily reaching out to friends/coworkers for guidance (without needing to e-mail the whole CHM rather than just include a link), etc.  All my other work resources reside nicely in browser tabs (i.e. StackOverflow, .NET framework, issue tracker, etc) - yet each Actipro page I reference needs to live in a totally separate instance of the help viewer.  I've tried hard to "get used to it," but day after day it continues to impede my workflow.

Unfortunately, when I reached out to Actipro support directly they made it clear that they currently have no plans to provide their docs online.  I therefore spent nearly half a day trying to decompile the CHM to html myself, so I could at least use it in a browser locally (if not upload it to my own server to access that way).  Everything I tried was to no avail.  I've already invested a fair bit of time into this software though, I really like Actipro's support, and their pricing is much more affordable than many of the others.  However, time has shown that this impediment (which just feels so unnecessary) is not getting any easier.

Anyway, my reasons for posting are:

1) One more hopeful plea to Actipro that you somehow make your docs available in a browser, similar to essentially all other documentation I use / have ever used (i.e. like Telerik, Infragistics, DevExpress, ComponentOne, etc).

2) Sheer curiosity about why such a decision would have been made (to Actipro), and whether or not I'm the only one for whom this causes problems (to other customers)?

3) To ask about anyone else's workarounds for dealing with this?  My assumption is that it's just "don't use the help" or "deal with no links/tabs/sharing/etc," but...figured it couldn't hurt to reach out :)

[Modified 4 years ago]

Comments (3)

Posted 4 years ago by Eric P
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I 100% agree. The documentation should be available on line and when the product is installed the help content should be integrated within the Visual Studio help system. I believe this is done through an MSHA file and the Manage Content button in the Visual Stuido Help Viewer. Right now the only help I am aware of is the older CHM file.

Posted 4 years ago by Actipro Software Support - Cleveland, OH, USA
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Hi Justin,

We use a particular customized documentation building app that is able to generate HTML output.  While it does work for the class library portion of the documentation, it doesn't tie in or render our custom topics (which is a bulk of the useful documentation) correctly.  If we overhaul or change how we do documentation in the future, we will note the requests for online docs.  Do most other companies just keep the latest versions' docs up online?


Actipro Software Support

Posted 4 years ago by Justin Klein
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Do most other companies just keep the latest versions' docs up online?

Yup, I've yet to find any besides Actipro that doesn't, and truthfully this is really the only reason I haven't been able to commit to Actipro right off the bat.  Some examples:

  1. Telerik: http://docs.telerik.com/devtools/wpf/controls/raddocking/overview2
  2. Infragistics: http://help.infragistics.com/doc/WPF?page=xamDockManager_Creating_a_Tabbed_MDI_Application.html
  3. DevExpress: https://documentation.devexpress.com/#WPF/CustomDocument6654
  4. ComponentOne: http://helpcentral.componentone.com/nethelp/c1dockcontrolwpf/#Step_1_of_3-_Creating_a_WPF_Application.html

...And so on and so forth.

The latest build of this product (v2018.1 build 0675) was released 1 month ago, which was after the last post in this thread.

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