Linking client files to web help?

Subject: Linking client files to web help?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 09:33:39 -0500

Connie Giordano wonders: <<One of our client companies has asked us about
linking some of their existing files to our help files. This is an xml/xslt
application deployed over an intranet (developed in Visual Interdev). The
help system is Web Help (created in RH 9.2).>>

Not knowing how they're creating their files, my guess would be that you
could come up with a simple kludge that would work. For example, create a
sample Web Help file that consists of a single page, called "Connie.HTM",
ask them to include a link to that external file in their own files, then
test that opening the external file works correctly. Once it does, all you
need to do is name your compiled help file "Connie.htm" and send them that.
If the link to the test file worked, then the link to your help file should
also work.

If not, it might be worthwhile hiring a local programmer to develop a simple
script or related solution for your company; treat this as a work for hire
(you own it and can resell it) or negotiate a royalty/licensing agreement
with the programmer. For the cost of a few hundred dollars, you can then
resell the solution you develop as a value-added utility for your clients.
Or throw it in free; $300 isn't likely to be a large proportion of your
annual operating expenses.

<<We would like to avoid providing source files and having them alter the
existing system>>

Can't be done. Many Help systems have a very useful feature that lets you
import compiled Help files and convert them into editable text; this is
great if you have an old Help file but lost the word processor file you used
to create it, but not so great if you want to stop people from editing your
Help files. But at least if you provide a compiled file, they have to
decompile it first, and perhaps that's all you need to do.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a
personality, and an obnoxious one at that."-Kim Roper

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