5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 7, 2012 3:54 AM by Willam van Weelden

    Output WebHelp - Default Opening Parameters


      Is there any way to designate that WebHelp open in a standalone window, similar to the way that Microsoft HTML Help appears by default? I have not been able to find any such parameters in the Properties for the output. We have some needs that seem to conflict with the characteristics of each of these help outputs.


      We'd like something in a standalone window, like Microsoft HTML Help. But my research has revealed that it only works with 32-bit operating systems, there are no skinning options, and the localization is a bit twisted – even if you choose Spanish for example, it reverts to the default language of the OS on which the help system is opened.


      Adobe AIR seems like it might be a suitable workaround, except we’d have to push out the AIR runtime platform to everyone in our very large enterprise environment, which is probably unrealistic and too problematic.


      The skinning and localization options in WebHelp are just what we’re looking for. But we have concerns with the help system opening in a full browser window. We want more control over its appearance. Can I get WebHelp to appear in a standalone window/box. Can I control the default size of the box/window in which it appears.


      Any suggestions or directions are appreciated.


      Thanks in advance,



        • 1. Re: Output WebHelp - Default Opening Parameters
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

          What you need is a chromeless window, which is something only your developers can deliver. It will only have the buttons that you put into the help so remember to include a Print button and Previous and Next buttons (as in Back and Forward buttons in a browser window rather than browse sequence buttons). Your developers can also control the default size of a chromeless window.


          CHMs do work on 64 bit systems. You may need to install the 64 bit HHActiveX.DLL.


          You point out that AIR has to be pushed to everyone, so do CHMs unless you edit the registry. See my site for more information about that. The AIR installation can be pushed by the network admin.


          Webhelp is intended to be server based, are you thinking of installing it locally? If you are, you will need to tick the Mark of the Web option or users will be greeted with a horrible yellow information bar in IE. You may also find links to PDFs are a problem.


          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



          • 2. Re: Output WebHelp - Default Opening Parameters
            Douglas_Campbell Level 1

            This raises a number of other questions, Peter. I wonder if you could please help me a bit further:


            I went from being a FM author to developer. I used the FM8 Developer's Guide and these forums to learn development in that program. Is this chromelesss window something I could work out on my own using the RH developer's center and other Adobe resources? If we take that route -- and perhaps try to take advantage of other advanced RH features -- it might be sense to have developer's skills internally, especially since we will probably be making a long term commitment to deliverables in RH.


            As far as CHMs and AIR go, it sounds like there is an equal need to push an update out for either of those options. But my impression is that Adobe AIR gives you much more in terms of functionality and features, and customization. It also appears by default as a standalone window, which would solve my problem (can that be customized, too?). However, we work in a very large enterprise environment and I am concerned about a long term commitment to AIR. Are there any far-ranging repercussions of using this that I might want to consider, which might not seem obvious upfront? I know AIR has been around for 3 or so years now, but I am always concerned about adopting Adobe technologies that aren't more widespread - sometimes they go away. No one in our IT environment knows AIR and it would be a hard sell. I can imagine the nightmare of adopting AIR, then having to switch back to WebHelp systems and redo hundreds of integrated help systems with context-senstive links.


            Lastly, this question seems to tie into our current evaluation of RH9 Server. We would like to use this to manage our many help systems. I am only beginning to learn its functionality and features. But in terms of deliverable server deployment, the "chromeless" or "standalone" window requirement, and long-term strategy, would our use of RH9 Server change the answers you gave me regarding these three outputs? Your last comment about server-based deployment made me think of this point.

            • 3. Re: Output WebHelp - Default Opening Parameters
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

              I don't know how a chromeless window is invoked but I think one of the other forum supporters can help on that. Let me link them to this thread.


              AIR does give you more but on the subject of continued support, only Adobe can answer that. However, from what you say, it sounds to me as if WebHelp is best suited to your needs.


              I know for sure that WebHelp can be delivered in a chromeless window so that the only user controls are what you build into your help. I don't know whether they can be used with RoboHelp Server but I am sure one of the other forum supporters can chip in on that.


              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



              • 4. Re: Output WebHelp - Default Opening Parameters
                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                Googling "chromeless window" might give you the information you need. There is some information at http://www.siteexperts.com/tips/techniques/ts05/page1.asp that looks as if it would make sense to a developer. I'll leave you to judge.


                See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



                • 5. Re: Output WebHelp - Default Opening Parameters
                  Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP



                  A true chromeless window will probably only work when your developers create code for specific browsers. I guess that what you need is a popup that hides the address bar, status bar, etc. You can get this by creating a browser popup. The default RoboHelp API allows you to create a popup. Otherwise, you can use the _csh start file for calling the help. You can then parse window.open parameters to the help so you don't see the address bar, etc. See http://www.wvanweelden.eu/robohelp/context_sensitivity_in_webhelp/methods_for_calling_Webh elp/_csh_start_file for more information on the _csh start page. You'll also find a link to the available parameters for the popup. Please note that some browsers/plugins may disable popups.