Choosing a Sandcastle tool
I've posted about Sandcastle on several occasions and wrote about some of the tools that make the use of Sandcastle somewhat easier. But recently I've been getting emails asking me how one should choose between the various options available.
In this post, I will briefly explain which third-party tool I use, and why I decided to do so. But, first I will need to explain which tools I evaluated to come to that decision.
Sandcastle Help File Builder
Sandcastle Help File Builder (or SHFB) is a Windows Forms application developed by Eric Woodruff. Eric built the application a few months after the release of the first CTP released by Microsoft back in July 1996. He saw the need for a NDoc compatible GUI. NDoc no longer supported the new features in the .Net framework at that time and Microsoft had no intentions of delivering a GUI.
SHFB also includes a command-line version, which allows you to include the creation of documentation in an MS-Build script.
SHFB fills the gap for all NDoc users to make the jump to Sandcastle. You can find more information about SHFB and the downloadable installer here: http://www.codeplex.com/SHFB
Dave Sexton, the developer of DocProject, followed another strategy. He sought to integrate Sandcastle into Visual Studio. He developed a Visual Studio Add-In which installs new project types into Visual Studio. The project types can be included into existing Visual Studio solutions.
But DocProject also installs a GUI which resembles the familiar interface from NDoc. More information and an installer can be found here: http://www.codeplex.com/DocProject
You have to make a choice at some point, and I chose to use DocProject. My reasons for doing so were the seamless integration into Visual Studio. It's just another project type and therefor makes it easy and simple to include building documentation into your daily builds.