After 4 releases of Visual Studio with Help 2 engine, Visual Studio 2010 will bring yet another change: a new help engine, called MS Help 3. The first beta will ship only with online support, but the second beta should contain offline support too.
Changes in the new system include:
- the new help files have the extension .mshc and are simple zip files containing the HTML files, the images, etc.
- the new index files have the extesion .mshi; this is proprietary binary file format
- .mshc and .mshi files are merged in a CAB file, that is passed to the H3 engine for installing; you can also pass just a .mshc file, and the system will create an index file
- HTML files must be XHTML 1.1 compliant; otherwise the system might not parse them correctly;
- MS H3 uses meta tags in the <head> section to describe the topic
- table of contents and visible index are created with meta tags in the HTML files
- limitation to 500 results for a search is gone
- links between internal topics use the HTML tag <a href=””>
- converting from H2 to H3 is possible with some changes as long as the HTML files are XHTML 1.1 compliant
For more information on the new help engine see: