4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2009 2:41 AM by RoboColum(n)

    Context Sensitive Help

    NRG_girl
      Does anyone know of a good reference for creating context sensitive help in robohelp 7?
        • 1. Re: Context Sensitive Help
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
          Welcome to the forum.

          Context sensitive help is merely help that is relevant to the screen or field being used. Thus you can write a topic on Contact Details that is called from the Table of Contents and at that point it is not CSH. If your developer programs things so that a help button on that screen calls that topic, then it becomes CSH but it is still the same topic. Thus from the point of view of creating the topic, it is no different.

          Maybe you are referring to what is sometimes referred to as bubble text help. I think most people are moving away from that.

          We used to produce CSH help down to field level and still do with a couple of long established products. With newer stuff we only go down to screen level CSH. If the help is called from a field, the screen level help is called and in that the fields are listed in a table with descriptions. That way the user gets their field level help but they also see information about other fields. It is easier for the authors and the developers and the customers are entirely happy with it, they agree with our thinking.

          • 2. Re: Context Sensitive Help
            NRG_girl Level 1
            Maybe I am calling it the wrong name. I am trying to document all the fields within a screen. Isn't that context sensitive help? What is bubble help?
            • 3. Re: Context Sensitive Help
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
              Let's look at it a different way. If whenever your user is somewhere in your application and they click the Help button, if the developer simply programs things so that the help opens at the default topic, then the help is not context sensitive. If they program things so that the help opens to either the screen or field the user is working in, then the help is context sensitive, it is aware of what the user needs help on. As I indicated before, you can either produce separate topics for each field or you can put them all into one topic for the whole screen. As far as you are concerned when authoring, those topics are the same as topics describing how to use the help for example. You are writing them in the same way but with the intention the developer can call them. Only if called in that way do they become context sensitive.

              In some older programs you could click in a field and click a question mark top right of the window. A small rectangle would appear with a small amount of text describing the field or telling you what to do. I think it is used less and less.now.

              I have indicated two ways of writing field help. Beyond that maybe look at some of the applications you use.

              I hope this is more helpful.
              • 4. Re: Context Sensitive Help
                RoboColum(n) Level 5
                To add to what Peter says, there are three steps to producing CSH. The first is to add a mapid. This is a combination of a topic id and a map number and is stored in a map file. Each project has a default map file called BSSCDefault.h that you can use, or you can create your own. The second step is to "map" (i.e. assign) a topic to this mapid. You can do this in a number of ways (e.g. the Advanced tab in the Topic Properties). These details are stored in an alias file called (xxxxx.ali - where xxxxx is your mapfile name). The idea is that the map file is given to your developers to perform the final step. They use the mapid to call the topic. When this happens the help contains the alias details to enable the correct file to be called.

                The actual syntax (and indeed the available options) for a CSH call differ depending on what type of output you are producing. Let us know more and we'll point you to the correct place.