Planning a Help Project

Subject: Planning a Help Project
From: Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 1994 13:10:27 +0700

I didn't respond the first time 'round because our current online help
system uses a hierarchical directory of topics (much like MSDOS or UNIX
file directories) and hence the organization somewhat resembles a book,
with chapters, sections, subsections, etc. This is pretty run-of-the-mill,
so I doubt anybody needs pointers on it.

In the future, I'll be going for a hypertextual approach. However, it'll
still start largely from a hierarchical directory, I believe, with more
conventional entry points into the structure, and then additional links
everywhere a cross-reference point could be added.

Essentially, I'll write the online help like ordinary documents, except
that everywhere a cross-reference *could* be added, I'll place a link to
the appropriate location. In a sense, this will be somewhat like indexing
the document...

Hm... I wonder if it'd be feasible to hyperlink a document in the same way
that you index one. That is, proceed through the document entering index
markers (assuming you're using Frame), using the same rules as when you're
indexing, periodically checking to make sure you're not indexing the same
thing with different names, and that you're using the same categories and

Generate the index and check for errors, fix any that occur. Generate
again. Now you have a rough map of how the hyperlink cross-references
should look - any two pieces of text that share an index entry should
probably be cross-linked.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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