OT : Reading Help 2

  Does anyone know of a free HTML Help 2
reader? Microsoft has completely redone
their docs, so that for most help topics it's
all or nothing: Install .Net and the entire
Windows SDK -- which comes with Help 2
files and the necessary reader software --
or get no docs at all.
  That's about 1GB of stuff that I neither
want nor. (Since most of it is just .Net docs.)
I just want access to the latest versions
of things like WMI help that used to come
as independent downloads containing a
CHM file.


0
mayayana
3/25/2010 2:25:26 PM
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On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 15:25:00 GMT, mayayana wrote:

>   Does anyone know of a free HTML Help 2
> reader? Microsoft has completely redone
> their docs, so that for most help topics it's
> all or nothing: Install .Net and the entire
> Windows SDK -- which comes with Help 2
> files and the necessary reader software --
> or get no docs at all.
>   That's about 1GB of stuff that I neither
> want nor. (Since most of it is just .Net docs.)
> I just want access to the latest versions
> of things like WMI help that used to come
> as independent downloads containing a
> CHM file.

You can extract everything out using 7-zip (and probably other tools, 
although I can't think of any offhand).

-- 
Restraining orders are cheaper than marriage certificates.
 -- my sister-in-law's sister
0
Auric__
3/25/2010 2:49:12 PM
> You can extract everything out using 7-zip (and probably other tools,
> although I can't think of any offhand).
>

  Thank you. I had no idea that was possible.
It results in a big pile of stuff, but the pages,
at least, are there. Maybe I can come up with
an easy way to automate a conversion of that
into a CHM.


0
mayayana
3/25/2010 3:31:27 PM
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 16:30:27 GMT, mayayana wrote:

>> You can extract everything out using 7-zip (and probably other tools,
>> although I can't think of any offhand).
>
>   Thank you. I had no idea that was possible.
> It results in a big pile of stuff, but the pages,
> at least, are there. Maybe I can come up with
> an easy way to automate a conversion of that
> into a CHM.

Oh. Didn't realize you wanted to make them. Sorry.

-- 
Schr�dinger was wrong.
0
Auric__
3/25/2010 9:54:24 PM
> Oh. Didn't realize you wanted to make them. Sorry.
>

  No, I don't want to make them. I just want
to read them. But Microsoft has converted their
entire documentation system to one giant
pile of Help2 files, closely tied to .Net, with no
stand-alone reader available and no separate
SDKs for most things. (Where one used to
download, say, a WMI SDK or a SAPI SDK, now
everything just points to the entire platform
SDK.)

   With 7-Zip I'm able to extract
all pages, so that's a start. And I can open a
new HTML help project to compile all of those
pages. Now I'm looking at writing a VBScript
to convert the Help2 TOC and index files to
CHM TOC and index files. If I get that done
I'll be able to convert any Help2 file to a CHM
with very little effort. That would be fine.

  There are some free readers around, but they
require that Microsoft's Help2 support already
be installed, which is sort of like a DOC viewer
program that requires MS Office to be installed.
Not much point in that. :)

   So your tip about 7-Zip seems to be exactly what
I need. I only have to extract the content folders,
the HXK file, and the HXT file to have everything
needed for a conversion to CHM. The TOC and
index files are pretty much the same thing as their
CHM counterparts. They're both text-based outlines,
except that CHM uses an HTML format while Help2
uses an XML format. So for a CHM conversion the
XML "nodes" have to be translated to HTML tags.



0
mayayana
3/25/2010 10:35:26 PM
Hi, completely off topic ,but

mayayana schrieb:

> ...
>    With 7-Zip I'm able to extract
> all pages, ...

7-zip is a very versatile tool. It opens and is able to extract from 
many types of files.

If a file is a disguised archive file (like those ending with eg. .chm, 
..jar, various Office documents, Mozilla/Firefox .xpi files etc) they are 
usable with it. This is also true for eg. .cab files, selfextracting 
archives of type .exe, setup exes of eg InnoSetup, even for .msi files 
(at least one can get the content). And also for .iso image files!

-- 
Ulrich Korndoerfer

VB tips, helpers, solutions -> http://www.proSource.de/Downloads/
0
Ulrich
3/25/2010 10:54:32 PM
> archives of type .exe, setup exes of eg InnoSetup, even for .msi files
> (at least one can get the content). And also for .iso image files!
>

  I didn't know about ISO images. I have noticed
that it's good with exotic compression types. But
their claim of opening MSIs is a bit misleading.
What comes out is a pile of binary files with
corrupted names that seem to be the database
tables. It might be a "true" unpacking of an MSI
file based on its structure, but it's of no use to
anyone in that form.


0
mayayana
3/26/2010 12:55:22 AM
Hi,

mayayana schrieb:
>> archives of type .exe, setup exes of eg InnoSetup, even for .msi files
>> (at least one can get the content). And also for .iso image files!
>>
> 
>   I didn't know about ISO images. I have noticed
> that it's good with exotic compression types. But
> their claim of opening MSIs is a bit misleading.
> What comes out is a pile of binary files with
> corrupted names that seem to be the database
> tables. It might be a "true" unpacking of an MSI
> file based on its structure, but it's of no use to
> anyone in that form.

AFAIR all files really needed are there when unpacking MSIs. 7-zip does 
not resolve the "name mangling" when unpacking. However one of the files 
has in it the original names and from there one can rename accordingly.

Mostly I use 7-zip with MSIs for having a quick glance on what will 
await me when I do the install. I can inspect the files. I deeply 
mistrust installers and MSI-Installers in special, because they may rip 
up your system if they are crap, and you will detect this only after the 
install has been done. So prefer to have a quick look in it before 
installing.

Of course I could set a system restore point, but I'm never shure if 
this will give me the opportunity to really undo *all* changes done to 
the system.

For very suspects I even do the installation in a sandbox (eg using 
SandboxIE) first, and then look into the sandbox what would have been 
installed and altered.

With 7-zip AFAIR I even managed to get around the install by just using 
the unpacked files.

Of course there are real MSI unpackers out there, but for a quick glance 
7-zip suffices.

And, btw, AFAIR "they" don't reclaim that "they" can unpack MSIs. I 
discovered this for me. It is often useful to just try 7-zip on a file 
and often it will unpack.

-- 
Ulrich Korndoerfer

VB tips, helpers, solutions -> http://www.proSource.de/Downloads/
0
Ulrich
3/26/2010 2:26:32 AM
> And, btw, AFAIR "they" don't reclaim that "they" can unpack MSIs. I
> discovered this for me. It is often useful to just try 7-zip on a file
> and often it will unpack.
>

   They don't really say that they unpack MSIs,
but they do say they unpack compound files
and list MSIs among those. As I understand it,
an MSI is actually a COM structure similar to
older Office files, with an API that only mimics
an SQL database. Maybe that's why 7-Zip can
unpack it. It doesn't so much unpack the content
but rather dissects the binary components.

   For full unpacking, file name resolution, list
of Registry changes, etc., see here:

http://www.jsware.net/jsware/msicode.php5

   I wrote it myself in VBScript. It's the only
MSI unpacker I know of that fully works. There's
something called LesMSIerables that will unpack
an MSI, but I don't think it provides Registry info.,
and it's really just a .Net wrapper around the
Wix libraries, which are a wrapper around the
MSI API. So there is a very big, unnecessary
dependency there.

   I feel the same way in being wary about
installers. I usually use Universal Extractor.
But that also has its limits. The author has
really just assembled other extractor tools
into a single, convenient package. The MSI
extraction doesn't work. Wise, InstallShield
and Nullsoft installers sometimes unpack and
sometimes don't. But Universal Extractor often
works, so it's worth trying. Maybe next time I
get one that UE won't open I'll feed it to
7-Zip and see what happens. :)



0
mayayana
3/26/2010 4:09:21 AM
> ...
>    I feel the same way in being wary about
> installers. I usually use Universal Extractor.
> But that also has its limits. The author has
> really just assembled other extractor tools
> into a single, convenient package. The MSI
> extraction doesn't work. Wise, InstallShield
> and Nullsoft installers sometimes unpack and
> sometimes don't. But Universal Extractor often
> works, so it's worth trying. Maybe next time I
> get one that UE won't open I'll feed it to
> 7-Zip and see what happens. :)

:-)

-- 
Ulrich Korndoerfer

VB tips, helpers, solutions -> http://www.proSource.de/Downloads/
0
Ulrich
3/26/2010 6:38:38 AM
Reply:

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