Microsoft Guidance Explorer – An alternative to WikidPad?

I tried Guidance Explorer again after a good while (for the purposes of documenting standards and processes), and concluded that it wasn’t going to be up to the job because printing wasn’t supported. 

I’ve been using WikidPad for a while and have been struggling with it’s
usability so I had another google around the printing capability of Guidance
Explorer (my eventual medium is likely to be some other wiki-like product, so
this is likely to just be my ‘input medium’).  I found the (rather
obvious) Guidance
Explorer Overview
on Codeplex that explains that printing is indirectly
supported through the export formats. I tried it and – whoa!! I take it all

The export to Word format at different levels and different views
is just great.  It gives you an index at the top with links to the actual content.  The formatting’s nice too.  The HTML format’s just the same as the Word doc visually, but spits out the content to separate files which is a bit nicer for deployment.

I still can’t believe how little-known Guidance Explorer is, but much of the Patterns and Practices work is documented, along with many other resources.  I’ll certainly be saying Bye bye to WikidPad.

Giving Guidance Explorer another go

I downloaded the Patterns and Practices ‘Guidance Explorer’ a year or more ago, and quite liked the idea.  I think the problem with any tool that tried to be a flexible storage and delivery method for ‘organic’ content (I’m interested in using it for development processes/standards etc) is viewed and searched by different people in completely different ways. 

Some like to dip into ‘reference’ material, some always ‘search’, and some people like to print everything and read cover to cover.  I know there’ve been some updates to the tool, and although the download count is still pretty low (3000 ish) I’ll give it another go and see if it works for me.

Other people just throw this stuff into docs and put it on SharePoint.  Others use something like WikidPad – which again I liked but ultimately got out of the habit of using – meaning it obviously didn’t work for me. 


I just noticed that there’s no possible way of printing from Guidance Explorer, and so while I can understand the reasons why it isn’t implemented (to try and encourage people to write screen-consumable, concise content), it simply won’t work for the users I’m looking to target.  Shame 🙁