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Finally! T-SQL Reference for SQL 2014 available for download!

    General discussion

  • With a mere delay of four month since the release, it is now possible to download the T-SQL Reference for SQL 2014 for your local copy of Books Online. Due to some reorganisations of the reference material on MSDN, the language reference was misisng from the initial download.

    To get the reference, you need to use Manage Help Settings, which you find the SQL 2014 program group. Select the option "Install content from online". Once all information has been loaded, scroll down to the SQL Server 2014 group and you will SQL Server Language Reference with an Add option, which you should select.

    Now, SQL 2014 uses Help Viewer 1.0, which is very poor, and versions 2.0 and 2.1 which ships with VS 2012/2013 is much more pleasant to use. Thanks to SQL Server MVP Simon Sabin, you can get the SQL 2014 into Help Viewer 2.x in this way. Go to
    https://helpviewerredirector.codeplex.com/
    save the file to a directory. Open a command prompt in that directory and run "HelpViewerRedirector download". Then in Help View, go to manage settings, and select install content from disk. Browse to the folder and select the files you want to see in Help Viewer 2.1.


    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP, esquel@sommarskog.se
    Friday, August 01, 2014 7:35 PM

All replies

  • To get the reference, you need to use Manage Help Settings, which you find the SQL 2014 program group. Select the option "Install content from online". Once all information has been loaded, scroll down to the SQL Server 2014 group and you will SQL Server Language Reference with an Add option, which you should select.

    If you need more detailed instructions on this part, see the comment from Microsoft added today (2014-08-01) to
    http://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/859047/t-sql-reference-and-xquery-reference-missing-from-downloadable-version-of-bol-2014


    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP, esquel@sommarskog.se
    Friday, August 01, 2014 7:59 PM
  • Thanks for the information Erland!

    +1


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    Friday, August 01, 2014 10:50 PM
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  • Does anyone know if there is a solution for sql 2016 ssms and help viewer 2.2?  When I hit F1 help in SSMS for property pages I'm getting Help 1.1 (sometimes 1.0!) rather than help 2.2 and it can't find sql documentation.  Thanks.

    (Edit--ignore next paragraph, release notes say this is "by design":
    Also, I'm not sure where to find the settings to have help 2.2 use local docs rather than go online (I don't see or find the option in ssms that Help 2.2 claims exists to set this--"Help, Set Help Preference"). 
    )


    • Edited by TechVsLife2 Wednesday, June 15, 2016 9:06 PM
    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 8:46 PM
  • The weird thing is that it if you do Help->View Help in SSMS, you get Help Viewer 2.2! You can also add books here. The bummer, though, is that if you already have Help Viewer 2.2 installed for VS stuff, SSMS points to a different place. Of course, you want all in one.

    I have not come around to investigate this further.


    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP, esquel@sommarskog.se

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 10:12 PM
  • Hi

    Please check this blog regarding the issue (all the information is there):
    Installing Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Book-online for offline use
    Check Step 2.1: Open Microsoft Help Viewer Directly
    * You can create shortcut using the direct command

    In addition you check this WIKI article:
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/29908.sql-server-books-online.aspx


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    Thursday, June 16, 2016 7:58 AM
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  • Hello Ronen,
    Thank you but that doesn't address the problem: the sql 2016 help docs are downloaded but *SSMS* still uses help 1.1 in many places (for example from property sheets) and can't find the sql 2016 docs.  (Opening help 2.2 directly is not useful in this case, because the point is to avoid having to find the relevant page for help on the property I'm editing.)

    (btw, the compulsory use of online over local help is claimed to be "by design" in the readme, but it sure seems like a bug to me.)

    @Erland,
    Yep, that is weird: SSMS 2016 *can* and does work with help 2.x but many times it is going to help 1.x, so it is preventing itself from using sql 2016 help docs.  (To clarify: I don't have vs installed, so it's not going to a help 2.2 vs doc location--it's just actually opening help 1.1 and going to a help 1.1 docs location.)  Obviously a bug but haven't written it up yet in connect.

    Thanks,
    Manuel



    • Edited by TechVsLife2 Thursday, June 16, 2016 8:52 PM
    Thursday, June 16, 2016 7:05 PM
  • When I click on Help on a Property sheet, I don't even get Help Viewer 1.1 - I get a message box sayings "Application not found". :-(

    Help for Microsoft products just keeps going downhill.


    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP, esquel@sommarskog.se

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 9:41 PM
  • See also (although unrelated) this question 

    https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/sqlserver/en-US/a231aed3-1754-4c46-bcc0-e55edcac15e0/web-site-no-longer-run-with-spatial-data-type?forum=sqlspatial

    I advised Michel to ask his question there, but apparently no answer yet from anyone.


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    Thursday, June 16, 2016 9:52 PM
    Moderator
  • Okay I created a very basic report on the bug in Connect, in case anyone wants to vote on it:
    https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/details/2828609/ssms-2016-help-viewer-1-1-pops-up-help-docs-never-found

    There is already another bug report on its always preferring online help to local help (where help does work).

    Naomi,
    I think you meant to post to a different thread.

    Friday, June 17, 2016 10:35 PM
  • Hi,

    I meant to draw Erland's attention to that other thread and to the luck of documentation / tedious process for that other problem. I understand it's not directly related to the subject of this thread.


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    Friday, June 17, 2016 11:36 PM
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  • hi,

    Sorry for the late response, your thread moved to the back... anyhow I upload a blog that explain the issue in details and a better workaround that works with the properties windows as well. 

    Please check this blog: http://ariely.info/Blog/tabid/83/EntryId/178/SSMS-2016-Help-viewer-bugs-and-workarounds.aspx

    * It explain why Erland for example get different behavior then you.

    >> btw, the compulsory use of online over local help is claimed to be "by design" in the readme, but it sure seems like a bug to me.

    I agree. It seems to me like a bug behavior, as well, regardless the developer design. It should check for local installation first (I mentioned it in the blog i think).

    My personal workaround is to use the direct link if I need it locally.

    >> Opening help 2.2 directly is not useful in this case, because the point is to avoid having to find the relevant page for help on the property I'm editing.

    The HlpViewer has several optional parameters, which you can use in the direct link. For example you can use /helpQuery <ms-xhelp query> in order to executes a query to display specific content. I am not saying that everything is great, but only tried to find workarounds till Microsoft will fix that issue.

    >> To clarify: I don't have vs installed

    You do have VS if you installed SSMS. As explain in the article SSMS is an extension of VS shell, and the VS shell is installed behind the scene. You can find in my previous blog a list of which version of VS is installed for each SSMS version.

    >> Obviously a bug but haven't written it up yet in connect.

    Seems like it is :-)

    Please check the new blog, I think that it cover all.

    I hope this was useful
    It surely was "time consumer" :-)


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    Friday, June 24, 2016 12:43 AM
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  • This blog post from Tibor gives information to get local help for SQL 2016 in Help Viewer 2.2 and also how to create a shortcut for it:

    http://sqlblog.com/blogs/tibor_karaszi/archive/2016/06/30/books-online-for-sql-s erver-2016.aspx


    Erland Sommarskog, SQL Server MVP, esquel@sommarskog.se

    Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:22 PM
  • Thanks, Ronen.  The registry fix does not solve the problem with lack of context sensitive help.  The thing looks more of a mess to me (hlpviewer.exe can be changed to 2.2 but that does not affect HelpLibAgent.exe, which always seems to call 1.x); so I think we'll have to wait for Microsoft.

    Thanks Erland. That's good to get a link to local BOL, but note we still don't get local context sensitive help (and not at all on property sheets, at least for me).



    Tuesday, July 05, 2016 7:45 AM
  • Thanks Erland. That's good to get a link to local BOL, but note we still don't get local context sensitive help (and not at all on property sheets, at least for me).

    At least there is a Connect item to vote for:
    https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Feedback/Details/2826366

    Tuesday, July 05, 2016 8:42 AM

  • At least there is a Connect item to vote for:
    https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Feedback/Details/2826366

    This is the second connect about the isseu and I already posted workaround and full explanation. Check my response from Friday, June 24, 2016 12:43 AM.

    The Connect that the OP opened is linked in this thread as well.



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    Tuesday, July 05, 2016 9:27 AM
    Moderator
  • Ronen,
    As I mentioned above, your workaround does not work with context sensitive help (probably b/c HelpLibAgent.exe is not Hlpviewer.exe).  There is no helplibagent.exe in the help 2.2 folder (unlike the help 1.x folder).
    Manuel



    Tuesday, July 05, 2016 4:40 PM
  • Ronen,
    As I mentioned above, your workaround does not work with context sensitive help (probably b/c HelpLibAgent.exe is not Hlpviewer.exe).  There is no helplibagent.exe in the help 2.2 folder (unlike the help 1.x folder).
    Manuel

    Hi TechVsLife2,

    Please read my blog again! I respond on the connect as well. You are confusing everything that I said. 

    This like someone tell you that a car is faster than a bike, then you respond that you have checked and an airplane is faster then a car, therefore the statement that a car is faster than a bike is wrong :-)

    1. TechVsLife2, Did I say something about using helplibagent.exe in the help 2.2 ?!?
    No I did not :-)
    Please check the blog again!

    My workaround is to use the HlpViewer.exe directly, as you can see, both
    > in the direct link: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Help Viewer\v2.2\HlpViewer.exe" /catalogName SSMS16
    > and in the command key that I add: 
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MS-XHelp\shell\open\command] @="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Microsoft Help Viewer\\v2.2\\HlpViewer.exe\" /catalogName SSMS16"

    2. This is just a workaround, and not a solution (as I wrote in the blog).

    3. You can find a file named HlpCtntMgr.exe in the any version from v2.2 (which mean v2.2 and v2.3). I am guessing that this file replace the old helplibagent.exe (but since I did not developed it, this is just a guess). Anyhow! I am saying again as you can see in the blog I am not talking about using helplibagent.exe but using the HlpViewer.exe

    ** The only place I mention the file helplibagent.exe is in the section "Example of related registry keys for older versions..". Which is talking about older version as the title say.

    I hope this clarify the issue :-)


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    Wednesday, July 06, 2016 7:56 AM
    Moderator
  • Maybe I need to make it more clear in the blog?!? If you have any suggestion on how to clarify this, i can add a comment or even change what ever is needed to make the blog more clear... You can send me suggestion on Facebook :-)

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    Wednesday, July 06, 2016 8:05 AM
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  • You didn't talk about helplibagent.exe, but that seems to be required in the registry to make context sensitive help work (e.g. pressing F1 in the property sheet of a database or server).  Don't know if hlpctntMgr.exe is a replacement, since I didn't test that, but that may be worth trying.  Anyway, the workaround does not work for the case I need, context sensitive help.

    Thanks.


    • Edited by TechVsLife2 Wednesday, July 06, 2016 7:44 PM
    Wednesday, July 06, 2016 7:35 PM
  • That's the problem: you didn't talk about helplibagent.exe, but that seems to be required in the registry to make context sensitive help work (e.g. pressing F1 in the property sheet of a database or server).  Don't know if hlpctntMgr.exe is a replacement, since I didn't test that, but that may be worth trying.  Anyway, the workaround does not work for the case I need, context sensitive help.

    Thanks.

    As I said this is a workaround and not the solution :-)

    I configured more then 50 machines with this workaround and it works great for my clients. In fact almost no one that I know uses the Help Viewer, therefore I did not configure all machines. 

    Now...
    we need to wait for the solution, once Microsoft team will fix the bug (which is in very low priority probably).
    In the mean time, if this fits your need you can use it as a workaround to open the Help Vewer from the properties windows or using direct link.

    >> Anyway, the workaround does not work for the case I need, context sensitive help.

    If you can explain step by step what exactly you need, then I might find time to find something that fit your specific needs. I am not sure at this time what exactly you do (there are lot of different ways to trigger the Help Viewer, which non work in SSMS 2016). In the past you talked about using the properties windows. Therefore, I found this workaround which work in the properties windows (took me a lot of work by the way to research and find first of all the issue - the source of the problem and then a basic workaround).

    * To clarify, as I mentioned in the blog, I only did the first step of finding the full workaround. I did not post the part that open a specific page in the Help Viewer. In order to get this to work, we need to use parameters. I gave a link that explain how to use parameters, and I include the old version as example.


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    Wednesday, July 06, 2016 7:56 PM
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  • Thanks,  I had followed your blog instructions with parameters, but parameters (for context sensitive help) works only with HelpLibAgent.exe, NOT hlpviewer.exe (and helpLibAgent.exe in turn only calls help 1.1).  So it's not a workaround for context sensitive help, sorry--at least not on any of my machines.    (By context sensitive help, I mean e.g. pressing F1 from inside a field on the property page of a database or server in SSMS2016).


    btw I also could not get hlpctntMgr.exe to work as a replacement for helplibagent.exe.
    • Edited by TechVsLife2 Wednesday, July 06, 2016 9:30 PM
    Wednesday, July 06, 2016 8:26 PM
  • Thanks,  I had followed your blog instructions with parameters, but parameters (for context sensitive help) works only with HelpLibAgent.exe, NOT hlpviewer.exe (and helpLibAgent.exe in turn only calls help 1.1).  So it's not a workaround for context sensitive help, sorry--at least not on any of my machines.    (By context sensitive help, I mean e.g. pressing F1 from inside a field on the property page of a database or server in SSMS2016).


    btw I also could not get hlpctntMgr.exe to work as a replacement for helplibagent.exe.

    the propose of HelpLibAgent is to manage the call and pass the the right parameters to the hlpviewer. You can do the same manually, if you know how to work with hlpviewer and parameters and you know how to add the right key in order to manage it directly.

    I will say again, if you give us information about what you need we might find the workaround and you contiue give the same no-info. I have no idea what you actually try to do and what you mean by context sensitive :-( I am guessing that all your issue is related to passing the right parameters to the hlpviewer, and managing it with the direct registry keys instead of using the HelpLibAgent, which is not include in v2.2 and above. For thjis step I gave links to learn from (I did not cover this step of using parameters in my blog). But I am 99.99% sure that we do not need to HelpLibAgent as it's only propose is to manage the command that execute the hlpviewer.


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    Thursday, July 07, 2016 4:16 AM
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  • By context sensitive, I mean just the example I gave--pressing F1 from a field on the property page of a database in SSMS2016 explorer and expecting the right section and page of local help 2.2 with BOL to come up (or even online help in this example).  Using your blog as a guide did not work: no registry edit works--and that's any combination of parameters and either hlpviewer.exe or HelpLibAgent.exe or hlpctntMgr.exe (in your latest suggestion).  I appreciate your posts but for context sensitive help, the workaround you propose simply does not work on my boxes.  If you find a combination that works, just post it and I'll try it.  Otherwise we'll have to wait for Microsoft to fix this. Thanks. 






    • Edited by TechVsLife2 Thursday, July 07, 2016 5:39 AM
    Thursday, July 07, 2016 5:33 AM