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Help files...

Posted on 2001-07-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-06
I have a huge Word file (.doc) that was made about an application. It uses a lot of inner links (like html links on the same page).

What is the best (quickest) way to build a standard help file (with Help Context assign to some components) in Delphi...

Is there anyway to pass a parameter while opening a Doc file so it would go to the right line in Word?
If not, what will be the faster way to make the help file.

Don't hesitate to ask if you want me to elaborate...
GunDamn
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Question by:comptebidon81
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by:YodaMage
ID: 6322987
What is the best (quickest) way to build a standard help file (with Help Context assign to some components)
in Delphi...

> I would change my .doc files to .html files which is easy enough. Delphi doesn't directly support or use .hlp files that I know of. You could then either use the Internet components, or merely make a call to the default browser on the machine for viewing. As far as assigning Help Context to some components, I'm not exactly sure what you are asking, but I believe you could use the tag property to assign what you need. You can pass the exact page you want to the default browser when you open it.

Add ShellAPI to you uses list, then the call is:

ShellExecute(Handle, 'OPEN', PChar('Path and Page'), nil, nil, SW_MAXIMIZE);

Is there anyway to pass a parameter while opening a Doc file so it would go to the right line in Word?
If not, what will be the faster way to make the help file.

>You could insert flags in the document if left a single HTML file and map directly to them as shown above.

Yoda
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Author Comment

by:comptebidon81
ID: 6323127
Delphi does support .hlp files. In fact, every component of my form has a HelpContext property. It would allow me to link different parts of my help file to this component.

Problem is: I don't see how I could generate a help file from my .doc file, without having drastic changes to make.

Has for your solution, making it a .htm file and giving it a reference (index.htm#something). It could be a good idea. I'll go see how long it would be to implement.

thanks,
GunDamn
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by:YodaMage
ID: 6323940
Can you generate/edit/create .hlp files in Delphi? I never found a way to do it, so I went with HTML help files similar to Seagates CR help files long ago, so I could include user created files. If you can, I'd like to know how for my own use.

Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:comptebidon81
ID: 6323977
Delphi doesn't generate, or create or even edit .hlp files. You have to build your help file with something like Help Workshop (that's bullshit). But once its built, you can associate your project / form with this help file. The last part is pretty easy...my problem is more with the first part.

Since you have been using html pages as help files, could you tell me more about how you implement it? Do you show different pages depending on where the user was? I would also like to know what you use to build your pages.

Thanks again, Yoda...
GunDamn
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by:YodaMage
ID: 6324372
I use Frontpage 2000 to create pages. I then use the code I included above to call the apropriate page, or a main menu help choice in from my main MDI form to link to my help home/index page. I also can then have a help about current form link.

Like I said, it is actualy very similar to crystal reports help files if you use CRW.

On pages where I wanted specific help topics, they can click the page specific help menu item, I can pull the link I need from the active MDI child, and boom, they end up right where I want them.

Another option is on an objectKeyDown event, run code like:

if Key = (Help Key of Choice) then
begin
  if (Self.Tag > 0) then ShellExecute(Handle, 'OPEN',
   PChar(cHELPDIRECTORY + inttostr(Self.tag) + '.html'),
   nil, nil,SW_MAXIMIZE)
  else MessageDlg('No Help Available For That Item',
   mtInformation, [mbOK], 0);
end;

You can bundle this code into a global procedure if you like, inherit it if you like, or whatever means floats your boat.

All you need to do is create you HTML files with Int based names and it'll all run.

 
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Author Comment

by:comptebidon81
ID: 6324505
I think I'll change my mind.
I found a pretty nice page full of tutorials to build a help file in a very effective way:
www.HelpMaster.com

I have planed a couple of steps to try this tomorrow. It has to be editable... so I'll see what I can do according to that.

I'll give you info about my progress... who knows, I might find myself changing idea again.

GunDamn
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Expert Comment

by:Stuart_Johnson
ID: 6325394
If I may butt in here :)

I'm not sure if this will actually work or not, but there is a shareware program called HelpScribble which will read RTF files and create help files.  You can export the Word document as an RTF and then load the RTF into HelpScribble.

However, I think unless you are using standard Help tags, it will just load the whole thing as one page.

It maybe worth a try anyway.  HelpScribble is less than 2Mb to download.  http://www.jgsoft.com/

All the best

Stu.
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 6326820
Welcome to Borland OpenHelp, the quickest and easiest way to configure your Windows Help (.HLP) files.
With OpenHelp, you can easily create a Help system that displays only the information you need by adding and removing Help files that will appear in the Help master table of contents and can be accessed through the index or pressing F1.
Your Borland product provides you with a default Help system that displays all the Borland-provided Help files in the master table of contents. Choosing Help|Contents will display this table of contents.

OpenHelp stores information about your Help system in a project. The  project defines a master table of contents, master index, and context-sensitive Help search range for a set of Windows Help files. This default project uses the extension .OHP and is stored in the /Help subdirectory of your installation folder.
If you wish to add or modify information about how your Help information is displayed or accessed, you can use OpenHelp to store information about the:
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 6326917
look for this file in [DELPHI$]\Help\Tools\Hcrtf.exe
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Author Comment

by:comptebidon81
ID: 6327467
I tried your "Borland OpenHelp" (hcrtf.exe)and guess what... it opens Microsoft Help Workshop, the same one I am using right now to make my help file.
Is it my computer's configuration or is it really microsoft help workshop that is suppose to open? Cause if its normal... well I wouldn't call it the quickest and easiest way ...

I've been modifying my doc file to make a compatible rtf file for the whole day. :(
And the Help WorkShop is giving me a hard time cause everytime I want to implement something (like browsing), well they tell me to modify my rtf file here and there, wich is too damn long. (125 pages...).

I can't seem to make the Index or the Browser to work properly. (I'd really like to be able to generate my browsing sequence from the content file). Anyone can help?

GunDamn
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Accepted Solution

by:
gemarti earned 100 total points
ID: 6328327
For "Free Tools" I think your gonna have to live with the Microsoft Help Compiler. I had to go by a book to learn how to use it. It was an extremely frustrating application.

If the Help Topics dialog box appears instead of your contents topic then make sure you do not specify any books or topics for the Contents Tab in the contents file. This enables you to use a contents file to link files and indexes, and have a Help Topics dialog box.

To add keywords to a Help topic
1. Place the insertion point at the beginning of the topic.
2. Insert a footnote that uses an uppercase K as a cutom footnote mark.
3. For the corresponding footnote text, type a list of keywords. You can use commas in keywords. Separate multiple keywords by using semicolons.

Hope this helps a little.
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Author Comment

by:comptebidon81
ID: 6361427
As I really don't know wich one of you deserve the most the points (), I'll ask a final question:

I'm working with Microsoft Help Workshop. I Want to had a See Also feature...
I want to find a way, if possible, to do a "general" line of code that would use the current  keyword list of the page to find related topics. All I managed to do right now is this code:
{button See Also, KLink("Keyword1; Keyword2")}
The two problems are that I Have to ReWrite all the keywords and, strangely, only the first one is effective.

The best answer wins the Points!
GunDamn
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Author Comment

by:comptebidon81
ID: 7469470
Sorry for the Huge delay!
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