13 Replies Latest reply on Mar 2, 2009 5:12 AM by ElaineJF

    Customising generated Help files


      I'm not sure if this issue is outside the remit of this forum or not but hopefully someone can help.

      I have a customer that wishes to customize (i.e. add content) the delivered Online Help files (WebHelp), in order to do that they want me to send them the .hhp file. Is there any other way they can do this? The .hhp is not a standard delivered files, to the best of my knowledge.

      Many thanks,
        • 1. Re: Customising generated Help files
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
          That may be what they have asked for but I suspect what they want is to be able to open a project, in RH or some other tool, and then they can edit.

          Are you a contractor? If so it is your decision and dependent on the contract with them. Are they entitled to the source and do you want them to be independent of you? If you are not a contractor, it's for you management to decide.

          If they do edit, when you update, their changes will be trashed.

          • 2. Re: Customising generated Help files
            RoboColum(n) Level 5
            Hi Elaine,

            Sending them the .HHP file is not enough. You'd have to send them the entire project source and then they'd have to have a RoboHelp licence with which to open the project. There may be legal / copyright reasons for you not to do that.

            If they or you don't want to go down this line, would it be an option for them to pay you (or your company) to provide customised help.

            Maybe one approach would be for them to produce their own output using their own tools and publish this. You can then link to it from within your help. You could use a build tag and exclude it from the output for those customers that don't require it. Just a thought.
            • 3. Re: Customising generated Help files
              ElaineJF Level 1
              Thanks for the prompt reply.

              No, am not a contractor, this would definitely be a management decision.

              However, this Online Help is 10 years old and we do have a somewhat vague statement saying that customers can add information about their own routines etc... which leaves us wide open I suppose. We don't seem to have explained anywhere how they can do this though. This particular customer says that they want to add customer specific content to the 'core' content.

              Do you know if there is a way to do this - again, without sending the .hhp file? If not, no worries, will just have to inform them of this + take the issue up with those who make such decisions... probably depends on how important the customer is...
              • 4. Re: Customising generated Help files
                RoboColum(n) Level 5
                In a past life we had an enhancement made to the application whereby a configuration option allowed a customer built help file to be placed at a location and accessed from the Help menu. We didn't support the additional help file at all but it gave the one or two clients with the ability to create and manage their own content. Maybe this is an option?
                • 5. Re: Customising generated Help files
                  ElaineJF Level 1
                  That sounds about right, do you mean that this was an option in older versions of RH? I wonder if maybe that is what we had in mind when the statement about customers adding their specific info was made.

                  This OH is quite old and has had various authors over the years and has been written in constantly changing versions of RH - so unfortunately that statement might be outdated. It puts me in an awkward position as now I either have to remove the topic that mentions the customer can add customer specific information or ... we need to tell them how to do this... Do you have details about the enhancement?

                  Many thanks for all your help Colum, it's much appreciated.
                  • 6. Re: Customising generated Help files
                    RoboColum(n) Level 5
                    Crikey it was awhile ago Eliane but if my memory serves me well it was a configuration option that specified the path to the customised help file. That way clients could place it wherever they wanted. The help file (it was a WinHelp file in this case - I did say it was awhile ago) had to be called a certain name (e.g. CUSTOM.HLP) and this is what would be called from the Help menu item name which was Help > Custom Help. No doubt you could adapt this as required.

                    You have never been able to modify help output without access to a HAT and the source files.
                    • 7. Re: Customising generated Help files
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                      What sort of help is this? CHM?

                      Didn't winhelp have the ability for users to add comments. Is that what is being talked about?

                      I think what Colum is talking about is adding a menu option that pointed to the customers own help file that was additional to the one you create. Colum can clarify that. If so, it is a different thing to commenting your help.

                      • 8. Re: Customising generated Help files
                        RoboColum(n) Level 5
                        That's right Peter. Also I think you are right that WinHelp allowed commenting on the help output. As you say, this is different from the approach we adopted.
                        • 9. Re: Customising generated Help files
                          ElaineJF Level 1
                          Thanks very much for all the helpful feedback.

                          I think I actually need to remove the statement which says the customer can add their own information - that's top priority for the upcoming release.

                          I have enough information now to have a chat with 'those who decide' - it certainly doesn't seem right to allow the customer access to our RH files, this has not been done before so we will see where this goes.

                          Thanks again! til next time... (there will no doubt be a next time!)
                          • 10. Re: Customising generated Help files
                            MergeThis Level 4
                            We provide a "Custom" folder at the root level of the merged WebHelp we deliver, with a few instructional files that show examples including logos, content, etc.

                            We explain how to add their own .htm files to the folder (some use XML to create them, some even add links to .pdf files, etc.), and explain that future updates to the application will not overwrite whatever they have added to that folder.

                            Good luck,
                            • 11. Re: Customising generated Help files
                              ElaineJF Level 1
                              Hi Leon,

                              That sounds like what we initially planned to do, as we have a custom folder at the root level also, containing just one topic which informs the reader that you can add company specific information. However, we do not explain how to do this (it was written many years ago + the person responsible has now left the company).

                              Can I ask where you found the information to guide the customer in this process?

                              Thank you,

                              • 12. Re: Customising generated Help files
                                Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                Hi Elaine

                                Joining the party a bit late here. I thought fellow Adobe Community Expert Peter had some information on his site about doing this.

                                Click here to see

                                See if that doesn't address what you are wanting.

                                Cheers... Rick
                                • 13. Re: Customising generated Help files
                                  ElaineJF Level 1
                                  Excellent, Peter's site did indeed provide me with the information I needed. Thanks to everyone for the replies, this forum really is beneficial :-)