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Coding advice needed for moving from CHM to 'true' Online Help

Jul 21, 2013 5:20 PM

Apologies in advance if this is the incorrect forum for these questions. Apologies also if this is a little off-topic; I’m a tech-writer, and I use RoboHelp, but my questions are related to the underlying code that calls my Help files.


Currently we produce Help in RoboHelp 10, exporting it as a CHM, and we’re looking to provide this content online.


Our applications are written in a combination of VO (Visual Objects) and .NET (we’re slowly moving all the content over to .NET). This means that some of the Context ID calls to the Help .CHM are written in VO, others in .NET.


The plan is to modify these calls so that instead of calling a CHM file, they point to a web page address. Can anyone point me in the direction of some help regarding this? I’d really love to see some coding examples of where others are doing this same call to a web page.


The majority of our users have permanent online access. However, there are occasions where they might do an export of a patient’s data (our users are Doctors) and travel on-site, doing a ‘home visit’ for example. We have numerous users who live in remote regions of the country where there is poor or no Internet access. In such circumstances we need the code to detect that there’s no Internet access, and instead of trying to call a web page of Help content, the included local CHM file is called instead (i.e. the ‘traditional’ method of using a Context ID to display a locally-stored CHM Help file). Has anyone done this? I’d really like to see some code examples.

  • RoboColum(n)
    5,356 posts
    Oct 8, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 22, 2013 2:02 AM   in reply to symmetricalMan

    This sounds like you'll be changing your output to WebHelp. If so, you should start at the link below:



    We also do something similar with users who do not have internet access. In our case we provide the WebHelp files on the client's application server. Our application uses a timeout call for the help. It assumes there is an internet connection and calls the online help. If after a short time span there is no connection, the backup help is called. We have a Java appl;ication so the call we use would be no good to you. Your developers should be able to find the required code though.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 22, 2013 2:09 AM   in reply to RoboColum(n)

    Colum is correct that WebHelp will give you an online help format but it will not be viewable from your server without a connection and that is one of your requirements. What you are looking for is known as Airplane help so that the user gets the latest online help when they have a connection and a perhaps older version when they are not.


    How to do that with AIR Help is described on my site but my concern in pointing you in that direction is that I have not seen any new development on that help format. You need the same option with WebHelp and CHM help. I don't have a workflow for setting that up.


    There is general information about calling help on my site and you will also find very good information at


    See for RoboHelp and Authoring tips




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