Microsoft Online Help: Collapsible Links

Subject: Microsoft Online Help: Collapsible Links
From: "Cedric Simard" <cedricns -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 16:05:34 +0100

Hi all,

If any of you works at Microsoft, this mail is for you! If any of you are developping online help at MS, this mail is even more for you.

In some Microsoft online helps, you can find what I will call "collapsible links", that is, links that make appear text that was not displayed before you clicked them. The text is displayed in the same Window/panel the link is in, generally just below the link.

This help feature is extensively used in Windows and Office XP online helps.

Here are my two questions about it:
Is there an official MS term to refer to what I call "collapsible links"?

How are these collapsible links created?

- They seem to be produced using simple javasript (In the code, you can find the following: onclick="doSection(Expand1, button1)" ).
Am I right? I have to tell I'm not a javascript expert.
So... Is there ONLY ONE javascript function that is called each time this feature needs to be used in a help topic? I guess yes. In that case, where is it located, and above all: How do technical writers to implement it/use it at authoring time? Do they have to write the code corresponding to that function directly into the HTML source code (I guess no) or do they have a special option in their Doc Authoring Tool that just require them to do 2 or 3 clicks to create a "collapsible link"?

By the way, does anybody knows what tool(s) MS techical writers do use to produce their online helps? Do they only use HTML Help workshop, Robohelp...? Talking about Robohelp: I've not used that tool for years. So may be "collipsable links" are just a basic option in the latest version of Robohelp...
In that case, please accept apologies for my ignorance.
Does this feature exist as a default option in any other Doc Authoring Tool?
In any case, my question about javascript remains valid.


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