RE: Online Help for Mac applications

Subject: RE: Online Help for Mac applications
From: "Zvi Gilbert" <zgilbert -at- aw -dot- sgi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 13:44:47 -0500

> 1. I would like to know the options for developing online
> help for Mac (to
> be precise OS X) apart from pure HTML/Webhelp. I have seen
> Mac software
> that display online help as "Help Center". How to develop
> such an online help ?

Online help for Mac OS X is AppleHelp.

AppleHelp is HTML 'under the hood'.

Much like HTMLHelp for Windows, which must be compiled,
there are some special codes and strategies necessary
to producing a robust AppleHelp system. For example,
you must 'register' the AppleHelp with the operating
system so that it appears in the AppleHelp Center.
You must also index the HTML system using Apple's tools
so that it searches properly.

Here is your guide:


Warning: complex HTML that works in most browsers
may not work in AppleHelp. We've run into many issues
of this sort.

> 2. I have created a Webhelp using RH Office 9.2 (on Windows)
> that runs
> smoothly on PC (Win 2k) but on Mac (OS X) displays error
> "File not found"
> (for some HTML pages). I am using the same set of HTML pages
> and directories
> on both platforms. Any ideas what could be the reasons for that?

Off the top of my head: there are some issues with file
names in certain browsers. That is due to the fact that
Mac OS X allows long (32+ character) filenames, but OS 9
does not. If the Web browser that you're using to display
these HTML files is 'Carbonized' (OS 9 underlyingly with
libraries that make it work in OS X -- as opposed to Cocoa
[OS X from the ground up]), filenames may appear truncated
*to the browser*, which will result in file-not-found errors.

Or I could be barking up the wrong tree. But we've
encountered this specific file-not-found issue in browsers
because of long filenames.

> 3. Are there any s/w for developing Online Help using a Mac ?

Not that I know of. Create your HTML in whatever you
choose to create it in, from RoboHelp to WebWorks Publisher.
Then you can quickly run through the 'AppleHelp' steps laid
out in the previous documentation, and voila, an AppleHelp

Best wishes,

Zvi Gilbert Documentation Manager, Maya / New Products
zgilbert -at- aw -dot- sgi -dot- com | tel: 416-874-8507 | fax: 416-369-6151
Alias|Wavefront 210 King St. E., Toronto, ON Canada M5A 1J7


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