RE: More than7 external .CNTs in a help project

Subject: RE: More than7 external .CNTs in a help project
From: "Glenn Maxey" <glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 09:43:28 -0700

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-58477 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-58477 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of
> josborn -at- ESPS -dot- COM
> Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 6:00 AM
> Subject: More than7 external .CNTs in a help project
> Our help projects are modular and, therefore, the contents contain many
> external .CNTs. We recently ran into a problem running our
> WinHelp projects
> in Windows 2000. After several rounds of trial and error support from
> eHelp, they finally determined that help projects can only have 7
> external
> .CNTs in the contents when running Windows 2000. More than that
> causes the
> project to fail. Our projects work just fine in Windows 95, 98
> and NT. Has
> anyone ever experienced this problem and, if so, are there any
> solutions or
> work-arounds?

I developed a help system with over 25 CNT files on NT and have no problems
running it on my W2K system. Here are a couple of tricks that might help you
out, though.

(1) Normally when you create help, the CNT file has a reference to the
owning HLP file; in addition, the HPJ file (which is used in compiling the
HLP) has a reference to the associated CNT file. You can create a
Master/Slave relationship by merely having a master CNT file include
references to slave CNT files.

However, this can have problems particularly if a HLP file is started that
is not the master (who has the reference to the master CNT file). It
references only its associated CNT file and never the master.

TRICK: Create a "triangle" of references. Each HPJ file should reference a
single MASTER CNT file (and NOT the individual CNT file associated with it).
However, each CNT file keeps the reference to the associated HLP file. The
master CNT file keeps the include statements to the slave CNT files. If you
create this triangle, it doesn't matter which HLP file gets started, the
master CNT file is loaded which then includes the slave CNT files.

Another TRICK: use the Roboex32.DLL from Robohelp, which can be distributed
freely and should reside in the same directory as the HLP files. This DLL
gives you the tri-pane navigation similar to Microsoft HTML Help, but is
much, much faster. It has tabs for the content, index, and FTS (if enabled);
this pane always remains open making navigation much easier for the user.
They can always "see" where they are in your table of contents (assuming
that your CNT files are comprehensive enough). The Robohelp DLL also tracks
where the user is in the TOC when they browse.

The changes to get this to fly are minimal.

(1) The HPJ files need some references to get this DLL started. It is just a
few lines:


(2) Each CNT file needs to have the owning HLP file stated within EACH
hyperlink. For example:

1 Hardware Configuration
2 What is the hardware configuration?=hwc_What -at- HWC -dot- HLP
2 Starting the hardware configuration=hwc_start -at- HWC -dot- HLP

If you need the DLL, I can send it to you for you to experiment with.
However, I recommend that you have a valid Robohelp license before
distributing it. Even if you don't regularly use RoboHelp, this DLL and what
it does to your help system makes the cost justified. And most definitely
when you see the BugHunter and Help Decompiler tools from Robohelp.

At any rate, you should have no problems getting help to work with larger
numbers of CNT files, particularly if you (1) create the triangular
CNT->HLP->Master_CNT(->CNT) references to force things and (2)[optional] use
the RoboEx32.DLL to make the help usage easier for the user.

Good luck. Write me offline if you need more info or details.

Glenn Maxey
Voyant Technologies, Inc.
Tel. +1 303.223.5164
Fax. +1 303.223.5275
glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com

Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
**WEST COAST LOCATIONS** San Jose (Mar 1-2), San Francisco (Apr 16-17) or 800-646-9989.

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