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 Post subject: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:40 am 
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How do I make my application interact with the Mac's Help Viewer application?

For example, when in iTunes, you press the "Help" button on the Mac keyboard, and Help Viewer is launched, displaying help on iTunes. How do I make my app launch Help Viewer, displaying help on my own app? (I know how to intercept the Help button; I don't know the rest).

A dropdown menu within Help Viewer lists all the programs that it has help pages for. How do I make my own app appear in that list?

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:04 am 
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It seems I recall a tutorial on this that uses Declares and the Apple Help tool to create a help package for your app that you bundle in the app. It uses the Apple Help viewer to display the help file, which is basically HTML files. I'll see if I can find the link and post back.

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:15 am 
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Have a look at

http://www.ebutterfly.com/rb/helprunner.php

HTH

Trixi

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:16 am 
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Hi Bessie,

Check this link out. This is the one I was thinking about:
http://www.cosmicsoft.net/RB/crossplatformhelp.html

I am not sure it is still relevant and to what versions it applies. But I think it is a good starting point. Also it uses the native help system on each platform without any plugins (yeah I don't want plugins either ;-) )

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:58 pm 
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Do you already have the HTML pages written and indexed? The general overview for making help files is:

1. make HTML pages and give them metadata for keywords and the icon to use and stuff
2. open Help Indexer (you might have to install the developer tools) and drag your help folder onto it to build the indices for your help files.
3. register your help files when your program launches.
4. there are declares that let you launch specific pages in your documentation once the help files are properly tagged with metadata, indexed, and registered.

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:48 am 
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This is great. Many thanks everyone. (And no, the HTML files don't exist yet. I'll be writing them in parallel with the app itself).

For my first version of my app, I will most likely not bother with any of that, because it turns out to be harder than I was hoping. Instead, I'll just present my HTML pages in a HTMLViewer control in an RB Window. That's clean, simple, and platform independent.

Maybe for version two I'll go down the route of "standard" help, but it's not a priority. The problem with doing things "properly" of course is that if you do things properly on the Mac, then you must also do things properly on Windows and Linux too. For Windows, that means making a ".chm" file (assuming that hasn't all changed in Vista), and that's not easy! I have no idea about Linux. All those platform dependency issues suggest to me that perhaps RB might like to provide a Help class to make all these issues go away.

Anyway, thanks all. At least I know now what I'm up against.

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:55 pm 
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Beatrix Willius wrote:


HelpRunner seems to be no longer available.

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 Post subject: Re: Help Viewer
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:44 am 
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While it is more work to do things properly, it will make your application feel more polished if you do so.

<punt>In App Wrapper, I added functions for adding a HTML folder (with modifications) to the application, it will add the correct plist keys for you, and it also does some XHTML validation to help reduce errors.</punt>

But for Windows, I can't help you there.

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