We are attempting to implement "airplane help" with our
application, so that when our users have an internet connection,
they'll get a live help file (webhelp) that we have sitting on a
server, and when they're not connected to the internet, they'll get
a local version of the help file (.chm file) that we deliver to
them with our application.
In RH's online help, it says to "Ask your technical writer
which window(s) to call." I guess I was assuming these "windows to
call" would have a file extension on them, but as far as i can
tell, they don't...they just have a name and that's it...no
extension. So...with regard to the .chm file, I suppose we just use
the name we designate as the "Default Window" when we generate a
chm file? Ours is called "main" (we don't use any customized
windows or skins for the .chm file). For our webhelp file, we use
the skin called XP Blue; so I assume that's the window we should
call for Webhelp?
Just wondering how other people who are using "Airplane Help"
deal with different versions of your Help file. I assume you must
keep multiple versions of your help file on a server so that each
level of software you distribute to your end-users can call the
right help file? Our situation is even more complex than just
needing multiple versions of one help file to correspond with the
various software levels that our end users are on...we also have
multiple help files (i.e. one for retail stores, another for
automotive parts distributors, etc.).
Lastly, are there any “best practices” for
implementing Airplane Help? e.g., what if there is a delay in
figuring out that we’re not able to get to remote help, is
there a way to force the "local" help file?
We also wanted to create airplane help like Microsoft Word
Professional 2003. For those who haven't seen it: In Word, press
F1. From the help pane, under See Also at the bottom, click Online
Content Settings. In the Service Options dialog, de-select Show
Content and LInks from Microsoft Office Online. (You can turn this
on and off). Now when you search, it will only go to the
in-product, airplane help (we call it offline help).
The developer that I work with takes my FlashHelp output
files, adds a .asp file that contains Visual Basic code that he
wrote to call the help files locally from the user's computer. This
is then placed on our support Web site's Knowledgebase that our
customers can access. They are given instructions to download the
zipped files to the server where our software application is
installed, and they have to change some of our software's
configuration files to point to this "offline help". The problem
is, they can't just click a checkbox like you can with Microsoft.
They have to go back into our software configuration's files to
reset it back to go to our Web server for the Web-based FlashHelp.
Hopefully the RoboHelp product manager or another RoboHelp
customer will respond to your e-mail.