Welcome to the Sandcastle Help File Builder. This project is composed of two separate parts that work together: the Sandcastle tools and the Sandcastle Help File Builder. The Sandcastle tools are used to create help files for managed class libraries containing both conceptual and API reference topics. API reference topics are created by combining the XML comments that are embedded in your source code with the syntax and structure of the types which is acquired by reflecting against the associated .NET Framework assembly. Conceptual topics are created by converting XML documents that you author containing Microsoft Assistance Markup Language (MAML). The Sandcastle tools are command-line based and have no GUI front-end, project management features, or an automated build process.
The Sandcastle Help File Builder was created to fill in the gaps, provide the missing NDoc-like features that are used most often, and provide standalone GUI and command line based tools to build a help file in an automated fashion. A Visual Studio integration package is also available for it so that help projects can be created and managed entirely from within Visual Studio.
Sandcastle was originally created by Microsoft back in 2006. The last official release from Microsoft occurred in June 2010. Until October 2012, it was hosted at the Sandcastle project site on CodePlex. In October 2012, Microsoft officially declared that they were ceasing support and development of Sandcastle. The Sandcastle tools have been merged into the Sandcastle Help File Builder project and all future development and support for them will be handled at its project site. The Sandcastle tools themselves remain separate from and have no dependency on the help file builder. As such, they can be used in a standalone fashion with your own scripts and build tools if that is your preference.
See the Installation Instructions for information about the required set of additional tools that need to be installed, where to get them, and how to make sure everything is configured correctly. The guided installer also provides information on the necessary tools and walks you through the installation steps.
If you are new to Sandcastle and the help file builder, see the topics in the Getting Started section to get familiar with it, set up your projects to produce XML comments, and create a help file project.