The previous version of Visual Studio interacted with the MSDN library to provide documentation. Visual Studio .NET still interacts with MSDN but in a visually different manner.
MSDN consisted of an external program launched whenever help was requested in Visual C++ 6.0. Although communication between Visual Studio and the MSDN library still allowed for context-sensitive help, it was cumbersome having to switch back and forth between the two applications. Visual Studio .NET contains an internal Web browser that can be viewed in the same area in which source code windows and designers are viewed. In fact, when you launch Visual Studio .NET, the first thing you see is the Start page, which is an HTML page itself. Anytime help is requested via the help index or contents, the results are displayed within the Visual Studio .NET IDE.
The help system within Visual Studio .NET is now "smart." The Dynamic Help window, located at the bottom-right corner of the IDE by default, changes as you work within the IDE. For instance, you can be designing a Windows Form with C# and the Dynamic Help window will display links to topics relevant to Windows Form design. Switch over to a Visual C++ class declaration and Dynamic Help will automatically change its links to display information on the class keyword.
Not only is help available through MSDN and Dynamic Help, but you now have an option to create help documentation for your own projects. Visual Studio .NET has added a new feature called Comment Web Pages that parses through your source code, regardless of the programming language, and creates documentation for the various objects, functions, and other components within your project. To create Comment Web Pages for your project, click Tools, Build Comment Web Pages from the main menu. Figure B.6 shows a project with Comment Web Pages built from its source files.