The functionality of 1-2-3-XAML has been moved into our Twister solution for authoring Apps and Help.

1-2-3-XAML is a brand new, 100% WPF-based, integrated authoring tool for XAML-based document sets such as Help Systems for WP7, WPF and Silverlight - PhoneHelp for Windows Phone 7, XamlHelp and SilverlightHelp

1-2-3-XAML is a topic oriented authoring environment, you create your content by writing smaller topics in the built-in topic editor. Compare this to our other authoring solution Xaml4Word, where you use Microsoft Word to author the content and a compiler breaks up the document and generates the final document set / website. Read more about the differences.


1-2-3-XAML is based on a new app and document set authoring framework. A document set is encapsulated in a project. A project consists of at least one Table of Contents file, a style sheet (XAML resource file) and a number of XAML topic files (XAML pages).

The authoring environment allows multiple projects to be opened and worked on simultaneously, making it easy to copy data from one project to another. The tool features a WYSIWYG topic (XAML) editor, a XAML resource editor, a project editor, a table of contents editor, a file and folder explorer and an image editor. The tool supports advanced features such as table patterns, both runtime and compile-time variables as well as conditonal text.

Phone Mode

To facilitate authoring for smaller devices such as Windows Phone 7, the topic editor has a special Device Mode, allowing you to author within an simulated phone. The editor can be rotated to show how text will flow in both vertical and horizontal layout.

New featurePage Transitions - we recently added support for the WP7 Toolkit Page Transitions.

Projects and the Project Editor

A project is configured by a project editor. A project is essentially just a set of linked documents contained in a folder. (A project can be created by hand by using the Windows Explorer and Notepad.)

Some of the features of the project editor are:

  • Quick access to all broken links
  • Quick access to all users of a certain variable
  • Quick access to all users of a certain condition
  • Selecting the default stylesheet
  • Selecting the default table of contents
  • Selecting the a project wide "Prefix" - a snippet of XAML that gets prepended to all topics when output is generated
  • Selecting the a project wide "Suffix" - a snippet of XAML that gets appended to all topics when output is generated
  • Adding/editing/deleting Targets
  • Adding/editing/deleting Variables
  • Adding/editing/deleting Conditions
  • Auto-updating of topics when variables are renamed
  • Auto-updating of topics when conditions are renamed

Target Output

A project can define any number of output targets:

  • PhoneHelp - a help system for a Windows Phone 7 app.
  • XamlHelp - a single file XamlHelp help system. All data and topics are contained in a ZIP archive.
  • SilverlightHelp - a single file SilverlightHelp help system. All data and topics are contained in a Silverlight application archive (XAP file).
  • XamlHelp - Loose - a multi-file XamlHelp system, topics and data are kept as individual files - allows for simple single topic updates.
  • SilverlightHelp - Loose - topics are downloaded individually from the web server
  • XPS - a single XPS document of all topics, the order defined by the selected table of contents.

Target and Target Properties

Targets have a large set of properties that control the generated output. For example, you can pick from a set of page transitions and you can override project variables and set target compile-time conditions. For PhoneHelp, you can quickly enable a Submit Feedback Page as well as an Error Page.

Project Explorer

The Project Explorer works like the Windows Explorer, allows you to browse the project folder, moving files and creating new files and folders. Some of the features of the Project Explorer:

  • Topic Editor Integration - drag and drop to the topic editor to quickly generate hyperlinks and insert images
  • Link Data - quickly find who links to who using the Properties Pane.
  • Filters - filter what's shown using an easy to access drop down.
  • Windows Integration - drag and drop files to and from the Windows Explorer.
  • Smart-filter - automatically hides temporary files.

TOC Editor

The structure of a document set is controlled by a table of contents (TOC). Each target can specify a different TOC. The TOC controls the order of the topics for an XPS output and the navigation in a help system (quiz, ballot, survey). The TOC is edited with the WYSIWYG TOC Editor. You can easily add topics to the TOC by dragging files either from the built-in file explorer or from the Windows Explorer.

Topic Editor

The WYSIWYG (XAML) topic editor supports all the features you need to stay productive:

  • Lists
  • Tables and Table Patterns
  • Images
  • Hyperlinks - to quickly find the target for a new link, the editor uses the SQL database to allow you to quickly find a topic by searching for keywords.
  • Drag and drop support to create hyperlinks or image links.
  • Variables
  • Conditional Text
  • Index Keywords
  • Preview Mode - for quick preview of transitions, variables and conditional text
  • Device Mode - edit within a simulated Windows Phone device to see how text will flow at runtime. You can even rotate the phone to see how text will look like in both vertical and horizontal layout.
  • Black Text Mode - when editing for WP7, you might not want to edit with the default white text on black background - the editor allows you to quickly switch been black or white text.

Resource Editor

The resource editor supports most of the resources and styles that can be contained in a XAML resource dictionary (close to a stylesheet in web terms)

  • WYSIWYG preview of all resources
  • Auto-update - all topics in a project is automatically updated when a resource is renamed
  • Easy filtering of resources types
  • Properties pane support for quick editing
  • Supporting Web-Analysis resource extensions like the Table Patterns
  • Users Data - quickly find all elements using a style with the "Users" tab

Change History Pane

The authoring environment supports unlimited undo of most operations. The change history is always available in the docked Change History Pane.

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