Re: DocBooks question

Subject: Re: DocBooks question
From: Rick Copple <rick -at- rlcdata -dot- com>
To: 'techwr-l' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 12:42:42 -0500

Gordon McLean wrote:
> I think for what you've said that DocBooks is possibly a distraction
> to you.
> You need to help tool that supports flat HTML editing, yes?
> Do you currently offer a hyperlinked table of contents, a hyperlinked
> index, a search form?

Thanks for the response. I have the tools to do the html stuff. And the
php stuff. I've created a basic TOC page which links to other pages for
topics. I currently have the guts of a quick start guide, though I think
we will be adding some screen shots and maybe more flash video to it.

However, I've not developed the methods yet to create the index and
search, though I had planned to if needed. Right now, what I have is
more a "How to do..." this and that than a complete reference. But we
will be building one of those.

> Basically the "lack of installed php" is only a problem if you use
> php code within your 'web-based' help. If there is no php code then
> you can typically change the file extension from .php to .htm without
> too much impact (YMMV!). Ask your developers for clarification maybe.

Well, I'm pretty much the developer. :)

Not of the project, but for this html help. The php is used to include
files like header and footer to modularize it more. And, because this
web page is embedded in an on-line application and the javascript "back"
functions won't work in it, I developed php code to do that function and
create a next link when there are a series of screens for one help section.

For this to run on someone's server instead of off a web site, they
would have to have php installed on their server. Otherwise, it won't
work, or we would have to modify the files a lot to get them to work.
So, in those instances, I think a more conventional chm help file would
work better, less fuss.

> Ultimately what I think you are looking for is a Help Authoring Tool,
> the specific needs you'll need to consider in greater depth though.
> Check out for plenty of Help Authoring Tool
> information.
> And, for the moment, steer clear of DocBook altogether. You can
> revisit that area if required later on.

Well, a little too late for that. :)

I installed what I downloaded, and it was essentially the eDE set up,
which is horribly undocumented (at least I've found no documentation on
it yet) but it works through batch files and I was able to look at the
batch files to see what parameters they used and what they did. Was able
to create a few test files, both chm files and pdf, though obviously on
the later I needed some more settings to make it look right. But I was
able to create the help file, just need to become more familiar with the
settings. Then it would just be a matter of porting the text and images
from the html files to the xml ones. Then I'm in business. :)

But I'll check out that link too. Anything to make this simpler. Well,
not *anything* but you know what I mean. ;)

Rick Copple
RLC Data Management

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

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RE: DocBooks question: From: Gordon McLean

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