15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2007 9:16 AM by sharon27lily

    Standalone Help Systems

    Sharona8
      My department has concluded that we need two different types of online help systems--one within the applications, and one that stands alone. Using .chms will be helpful for the Windows community, but not for the UNIX groups, of which there are many.

      Does anyone know of a way to provide a standalone system for UNIX platforms?
        • 1. Re: Standalone Help Systems
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
          I think my offline reply to you indicated FlashHelp would work on Unix. It is not a single file being more like webhelp but it will run on many platforms.

          • 2. Re: Standalone Help Systems
            Linux Rules Level 2
            Keep in mind that Adobe has very poor support for Flash in the non-Windows environments and that Flash has a proven track record of not being too secure (as in three "critical" patches last week alone). Take a look at the WebHelp format and limit the bells and whistles.

            Regards,
            GEWB
            • 3. Re: Standalone Help Systems
              MergeThis Level 4
              Our merged WebHelp is supported on Windows, Linux, and Solaris, with no issues raised yet.


              Good luck,
              Leon
              • 4. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                Sharona8 Level 1
                Dear MergeThis (love the name),

                Yes, WebHelp is working for us on Firefox (Linux, HP, AIX), but it cannot function as a standalone system.
                • 5. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                  Why not? You just double click the start page or create a URL to it. Do you perhaps mean it is not a single file?

                  • 6. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                    Sharona8 Level 1
                    Yes, that is what I mean.
                    • 7. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                      To run from a server or the user's PC? Hopefully Linux Rules can then point you to something suitable.

                      • 8. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                        Sharona8 Level 1
                        A Linux server.
                        • 9. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                          OK, Gary's your man for Linux stuff but if it is on a server I don't understand why it has to be a single file rather than webhelp or flashhelp with a whole bunch of files. It's something the user will never know about. What do they care if it is one file or a million?

                          • 10. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                            Linux Rules Level 2
                            Peter is right. Please give us more info as to why multiple files cannot work for you.

                            If you place all of the WebHelp files in a separate directory and point the calls there, the app shouldn't care nor would the server.

                            As for standing alone, same thing. Place in a directory and launch the start page. I do it all the time on my Linux workstation at my home office (Firefox and Konquorer).

                            Regards,
                            GEWB
                            • 11. Standalone Help Systems
                              Linux Rules Level 2
                              A couple other leads:

                              Open / view .chm file under Linux or FreeBSD (client side)
                              http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/open-chm-file-under-linuxfreebsd/

                              CHM viewer "xchm" (client side)
                              http://xchm.sourceforge.net/

                              Regards,
                              GEWB
                              • 12. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                                Sharona8 Level 1
                                Thank you for your responses. I must say, I have to find out the answers to your questions; I don't know enough about the users or the usage to say whether multiple files would be acceptable.

                                The initial request had to do with having a series of online help systems, which are associated with an application we've developed. The application resides on web servers worldwide. Some of the users are at smaller sites where a .chm was envisioned, let's say, as the document used on a workstation in a server room in Nigeria. The .chm would provide the information necessary to build either workstations or servers of varying types.

                                On Windows workstations, it was agreed that .chms would be used. When it came to UNIX workstations and servers, I understood that a .chm would not work, but thought a single versus multiple file was preferred under conditions such as (1) sending a DVD of the application with a help system; (2) putting a copy of the help system on an intranet website; and (3) viewing a help system from a Linux workstation. Ultimately, one or two of these systems might be very large.

                                The concept of a .chm viewer that can be downloaded (as long as Security approves it) sounds promising. I will be looking into the links Linux Rules provided.

                                I'm certain this does not clarify, but perhaps explains my confusion about this.

                                Thank you for your help and regards,

                                Sharon
                                • 13. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                                  sharon27lily Level 1
                                  OK. I've gotten some additional information. It seems that in some data centers, use of the internet, web servers, and workstations are not allowed, and DHCP is not available. These are the reasons for this request. Does this make more sense now?

                                  Regards,

                                  Sharon
                                  • 14. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                                    Linux Rules Level 2
                                    Hello Sharon -

                                    One other product to consider is QuickHelp for Linux:

                                    http://www.excelsoftware.com/quickhelplinux.html

                                    You wrote:
                                    "...These are the reasons for this request. Does this make more sense now?"

                                    Reasons make sense, still wonder about the approach. Your product must be available on portable media so my question remains: what is wrong with the WebHelp (pure HTML) format?

                                    Also, why haven't you mentioned man files or DocBook? (Just curious...)

                                    Regards,
                                    GEWB
                                    • 15. Re: Standalone Help Systems
                                      sharon27lily Level 1
                                      Well, I think I finally have gotten to the crux of the matter, and you are all absolutely correct.

                                      According to one manager here, security issues are critical in certain data centers, which means that workstations, browsers and DHCP are not accessible.

                                      First, I am not sure that information is entirely accurate--it is still being discussed internally. When speaking specifically with the UNIX administrators, it turns out that many use a CD to build from, but build the servers remotely through iLO, which means there is no problem with using multiple files.

                                      I am proceeding based on this new information.

                                      Thank you for your patience and helpful advice. I really appreciate it.

                                      Regards,

                                      Sharon