7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2006 7:18 AM by RoboWizard

    Opinions on creating a phone directory

    skoldpadda Level 1
      I need to create a failry large phone directory that can be drilled down by categories. The company I work for does not allow any kind of dynamic technologies, i.e., PHP, databases, etc so, the usual options I would employ (XML database) are not possible here.

      Was curious if anyone has had to do something like this before and could provide some insight. I really dont want to create a billion single web pages that are just linked from the main category page.

        • 1. Re: Opinions on creating a phone directory
          RoboWizard Level 4
          Hi skoldpadda

          I've done a phone directory before as well as using this example in RoboHelp HTML training.

          One way to approach it is to place all phone numbers on a single page. Then add bookmarks as necessary. Then you can link to individual bookmarks to pop up phone numbers where needed. This saves you from creating a kabillion individual pages.

          Cheers... Rick
          • 2. Re: Opinions on creating a phone directory
            skoldpadda Level 1
            Thanks for the reply Rick. I am a bit confused as to your exact meaning though. Let me show you what I am attempting to accomplish and we can go from there, I certainly value your knowledge so I want to make sure I fully understand you. :)

            So, I need to have a page with a list of all the companies and contacts...

            "Company One"
            "Company Two"
            "Person One"
            "Person Two"

            I would like for the user to simply click on the Company link as shown above and receive a pop-up with the contact info, like this...

            "Company One"

            Contact this company for information regarding sales.

            So, that is what I want to do. Ideally, I would have all this info in an XML database that I could call and problem solved but, as I said in my original post, this company will not allow it.

            • 3. Re: Opinions on creating a phone directory
              HKabaker Level 2
              Sounds like a job for the text-only popup function. It would keep your phone book to a single topic in RH. It should work pretty fast, although the initial load might take a little time for 10,000 or so listings.


              Another thought for a really big list:

              Keep everything on one page and group the list by categories with subheads. Put a bookmark at the beginning of each subhead and insert a line of links at the very top. A 'return to top" link would be useful.

              Or create a separate topic for each category and use the Table of Contents for navigation.

              Either way, the text-only popups contain the contact info.


              • 4. Re: Opinions on creating a phone directory
                RoboWizard Level 4
                HI skoldpadda

                Actually, the way I worked it when I had to do this, was to create one very long page containing all the information. Nothing to click, only information showing.

                Company 1
                134 Anywhere
                Anytown, AnyState 12345
                (800) 123-4567

                Company 2
                1313 Mockingbird Lane
                ... and so on

                I then inserted bookmarks at each piece of relevant info. Then, from inside topics throughout the system, I simply created links that popped up the long page and only displayed the relevant information.

                The way you seem to be envisioning it is with no links directly to the information. Instead, pointing the user to the list page, where they scan the list and click the item of interest to reveal the other information. This is also a way to do this. I suppose if I were to do it this way, I'd use RoboHelp's built in DHTML Drop-Down function to accomplish it. However, I'll also offer a caveat. If you have a lengthy page that is rife with these, the page can toss an error and all the drop-downs can fail. This usually happens if your user clicks one of the links before the page is fully loaded up.

                Hopefully this helps... Rick
                • 5. Opinions on creating a phone directory
                  lmarden Level 2
                  I use drop-downs extensively - let me ask a question that might help with this option. When you want to access a specific employee, do you have to see ONLY that employee? You said you have functional groups / categories. How about a drop down for each major category, with all employees in that group listed? Fewer drop-downs to wade through, might be easier to maintain...and every once in a great while, I do drop downs within drop downs - it does work. If you have to go a few levels, you could try that..
                  • 6. Re: Opinions on creating a phone directory
                    HKabaker Level 2
                    Rick's method would save you the time of pasting the contact info into a gazillion text-only popups.

                    The trade-off is you have to insert a bookmark for each chunk of info and link to it from your master list, displaying a popup window containing the whole list but with the target info at the top.
                    • 7. Re: Opinions on creating a phone directory
                      RoboWizard Level 4
                      Give that Harvey dude a cee-gar! ;)

                      Harvey, the only deviation from that I can see, is that I elected to use the "Custom Size" popup. This allowed me to configure things so only the nugget of information I wanted to show in the popup window was visible.

                      Cheers all... Rick