Re: Checking Application HTML Help Context IDs

Subject: Re: Checking Application HTML Help Context IDs
From: Rainer -dot- Jochim -at- pwc -dot- ca
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 15:35:09 -0500


Once you've got the IDs from your programmers you can use Microsoft's HTML
Help Workshop to test your help file to make sure that your help file isn't

One thing I used to do when creating help files in the past was to generate
a dummy help file in order to provide development as soon as possible with
a test tool.
This dummy help file only contained a set of empty html pages copied from a
template that would do nothing but display its own file name (JavaScript).
Copy that template and rename each copy to match the ID (if the ID is
0000456 then the file name would be 0000456.html), generate the help file
and see what happens.
If nothing happens either the software called an ID that was not
communicated to you or the help call was not implemented correctly. If,
however, you see a page displayed you can check if this is the ID you would
have expected in that particular context.

For on-line help related topics you might try to subscribe to the HATT list
(a yahoo group).


ForeHelp came with a great utility called QuickFix that would run in the
foreground and intercept the F1 call from any application to the
corresponding WinHelp file. So, if we had a field on a form in our product,
and I needed to know the field's context ID, I could just press F1 and the
QuickFix dialog would display the help file name, the context number, and
the topic name.

We are now creating our help using Microsoft HTML Help, but I can't seem to
find a similar utility. The product we are using, RoboHelp for FrameMaker,
doesn't have a similar utility, and the folks at RoboHelp don't have any
idea where I could find one.

Yes, I know I can just get the list of IDs from the programmer, but
sometimes even with the list, I get errors for certain fields, and with
QuickFix, it was easy for me to tell whether the ID had been assigned
incorrectly by the programmer, or whether I had forgotten to assign the ID
to the topic.

If I need to, I can have one of my programmers here come up with something
that intercepts the call to the HTML Help API, but I'd rather not have them
reinvent the wheel, so to speak.


Peter Lucas

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