Viewing the Windows Developer Preview documentation offline

Viewing the Windows Developer Preview documentation offline

As many of you have pointed out, the developer experience is a rather significant departure from what has been the traditional documentation approach for Windows.  The documentation on the Windows Dev Center has been moving into an encapsulated experience where you follow down a path starting from a big picture and moving deeper into the learning task as you follow links.  What this means is that rather than having the traditional table of contents as “branches in the tree” on the left pane of your Window, with “peer” nodes as leaves as seen in the following screenshot:

You instead have the breadcrumb on the top of the page to replace the branches and “peer” nodes rendered within the left pane.

We have received feedback that the experience where you have the TOC is convenient sometimes when you are looking for a reference and, believe it or not, this experience still exists for all of the Windows developer content.  To view the TOC and go through the documentation in the more traditional way:

  1. Open Visual Studio
  2. Either press “Ctrl+Alt+F1” or select the menu item Add and Remove Local Help Content from visual studio as shown in the following screenshot:
  3. You should now see the offline help viewer which looks like the following screenshot:
  4. Once in the offline help viewer, you can add and remove the local content.  If you have installed the BUILD version of Windows 8 that included Visual Studio, you will have the “Tailored Windows Development” offline help content already which contains the documentation for creating Metro style apps.
  5. Once you have the documentation you need, you can click on the Contents tab from the offline help viewer which should be in the bottom left corner of the window:
  6. Once you have the Contents tab selected, all of the locally installed documentation will be shown.  The following screenshot shows how the Windows Metro style App Development documentation appears in the offline viewer:

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