Fixing Issues with HTML Help Workshop

I am working on an application that ships with documentation in the form of a Windows Compiled Help file. To build the help file I use Sandcastle and the excellent Sandcastle Help File Builder. Building the help file is part of a continuous integration plan so the help file is always up to date.

To make it easy to setup the tools necessary to build the help files on a developer's machine or on a build server, I store all relevant applications under a folder such as D:\Buildserver\Tools. This folder contains applications like Sandcastle, SHFB, and the HTML Help Workshop which contains the compiler for the help file. I install the applications using the supplied installer first, then copy the files into this Buildserver folder. All these applications are source controlled so setting up a new development or CI machine is a matter of getting a "latest version" from source control. Or so I thought.

Today I was installing Sandcastle and the necessary tools on a brand new machine. Setting up Sandcastle and SHFB went smoothly, but I ran into problems when SHFB tried to access the HTML Help Workshop. No matter what I tried, I kept getting the error: The program can't start because HHA.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

The program can't start because HHA.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

Google didn't bring up any results for this error, so I was getting worried about my chances on fixing this error.

Then I realized that the solution was staring me in the face: I hadn't really installed the HTML Help Workshop, but merely used a local copy of the files under my Buildserver folder. So, maybe the setup installs other files than those under the main Program Files folder that I used for my build tools? A quick reinstallation of the HTML Help Workshop provided the answer: yes it does. Once I reinstalled the Help Workshop, everything worked fine, including running the Workshop tools from my Buildserver folder. Funny thing is: my system still doesn't seem to contain the HHA.dll file. Weird also that it ran fine on other machines used for the build, but maybe they simply had the HTML Help Workshop already installed.

I am merely blogging about this as a reminder to myself the next time I am setting up a new, clean build machine, but maybe it helps somebody else with a similar problem as well.

Where to Next?

Wonder where to go next? You can post a comment on this article. You can read existing comments below or you can post a comment yourself on this article .

Consider making a donation
Please consider making a donation using PayPal. Your donation helps me to pay the bills so I can keep running Imar.Spaanjaars.Com, providing fresh content as often as possible.

Talk Back! Comment on Imar.Spaanjaars.Com

I am interested in what you have to say about this article. Feel free to post any comments, remarks or questions you may have about this article. The Talk Back feature is not meant for technical questions that are not directly related to this article. So, a post like "Hey, can you tell me how I can upload files to a MySQL database in PHP?" is likely to be removed. Also spam and unrealistic job offers will be deleted immediately.

When you post a comment, you have to provide your name and the comment. Your e-mail address is optional and you only need to provide it if you want me to contact you. It will not be displayed along with your comment. I got sick and tired of the comment spam I was receiving, so I have protected this page with a simple calculation exercise. This means that if you want to leave a comment, you'll need to complete the calculation before you hit the Post Comment button.

If you want to object to a comment made by another visitor, be sure to contact me and I'll look into it ASAP. Don't forget to mention the page link, or the QuickDocId of the document.

For more information about the Talk Back feature, check out this news item.