6 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2006 10:03 PM by Romsco

    Best way to manage multiple Help windows

    Romsco
      Hi all:

      I'm working with X5 to create Help for a large modular application. I have a single Help project, but want to deliver help content only for the specific modules used by clients. I'm attemtping to create multiple Help windows with a Main window containing Help for standard deliverables and other windows containing Help for specific modules. What's the best way to achieve this using a single project. Or do I have to maintain multiple projects?

      I tried using customized windows but there are some limitations. I manually created a new hhc file for a custom window and it's working fine. But, I cannot open the custom window by clicking a book in the TOC (which is what I want) of the main window but can do so by clicking a topic. Also, I cannot assign separate default topics for each custom window. Further, when I click a hyperlink in a custom window that links to a topic in the main window, the topic from the main window displays in the custom window but it's not listed in the TOC of the custom window, so that's awkward.

      Please help!!!
      Romeo Coutinho
        • 1. Re: Best way to manage multiple Help windows
          ---Dirk_Bock Level 1
          Romeo,

          this sounds like completely separate help systems shipped to you users. If so, should really consider using separate help projects. What are your reasons for managing this within a single project?

          ---Dirk Bock
          • 2. Re: Best way to manage multiple Help windows
            Romsco Level 1
            Hi Dirk.

            Thanks for the effort. Like I mentioned, standard modules in the application are meant for all clients, e.g. the Masters module. However, a few modules are delivered on requirement. Hence, I need to split the Help into multiple windows so I can distribute it based on which modules are shipped to a client.

            I'm not sure how to manage such a Help system. Also, I shied away from multiple / merged projects because I don't know too much about it. Being the sole tech. writer for my employer, it might be daunting to update multiple projects simulatenously... so I wanted to use a single project.

            Is there an alternative?? Or must I create multiple projects for one application??

            Hope to hear from you or from anyone else.
            • 3. Re: Best way to manage multiple Help windows
              Brian.Mccaffery Level 1
              I think what you need to do is use conditional build tags. You can then select which additional topics are to be included in the output.

              Brian
              • 4. Re: Best way to manage multiple Help windows
                ---Dirk_Bock Level 1
                From the user's point of view a merged set of help files is probably the best solution. Using global windows the whole help system is displayed in one window and shows only topics for the modules installed (if you can get your setup people to comply with your wishes that is ;-) ).

                Handling multiple projects is not more complicated than handling a big one. Each help topic only exits in one project; if you want to create or update the help for module XYZ_1, you open project XYZ_1. If you want to edit a topic in the project Master, you open project Master. After editing a project you compile just this module and nothing else.

                The only thing you have to learn are the peculiarities of the help compiler regarding merged projects. Refer to http://www.helpware.net/htmlhelp/how_to_merge.htm for a good description of these kinks.

                ---Dirk Bock
                • 5. Re: Best way to manage multiple Help windows
                  Roger N Level 2
                  Romeo, oh Romeo -

                  I suspect you may need to overcome your Fear of Merging, and read up on Merged systems in your RH help file.

                  It will only take a minute, and it could change your whole perspective on the problem. With each module, you can provide the corresponding help file. They will all show up in the master, as part of the TOC, just as transparently as the modules themselves.
                  • 6. Re: Best way to manage multiple Help windows
                    Romsco Level 1
                    Thanks Brian, Dirk and Roger.

                    Brian, I've tried conditional tags successfully before but the nature of my Help distribution makes it tedious to work with them and difficult to keep track of. Thanks anyaway for the suggestion.

                    Dick and Roger, you folks are potining to the same thing, multiple projects in a merged Help scenario. I will start the spadework and let you know if I hit any raodblocks on the way. Dirk, the link you provided is most helpful, to say the least.

                    Thanks everyone :)