Re: Launch a WWW browser from Winhelp?

Subject: Re: Launch a WWW browser from Winhelp?
From: Grant Hogarth <grant -at- ONYXGFX -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 May 1996 15:26:37 -7

Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM> asks:

> I want to put an icon in a Winhelp file that the user can click to
> start their WWW browser. Has anyone done this? Could I use an .INI
> file to specify the browser command, and how would I do this?

Here's a couple of posts from Winhelp-l on the topic:

==== Message 1 ======

Tomanek, Janis wrote:

> Has anyone discussed how to, or if you can, make a jump from within
> a help file to a World Wide Web home page? My product line managers
> (you gotta love 'em) want to say that our help provides "instant
> access" to our support department (i.e., connecting to the product
> support page on our Web site) and I'm trying to implement, without
> much success.

The simplest way to do this is to launch Netscape or whatever browser
you are using with an URL specified in the command line, using a macro
command like this:

EP(`netscape', 0)

(Note that even if the HTML page is actually in a local file, you
should still specify it as an URL, not just as a filename:
'file:///c|/somedir/myfile.htm' rather than 'c:\somedir\myfile.htm').

The main disadvantage is that you'd be getting a new instance of the
browser on each call, rather than changing URLs in the same window.
Most major browsers can be controlled from other apps via DDE or OLE
Automation, but it would require programming, unless you find some 3-d
party DLLs which provide this specific feature for your help files.
(I've seen such a DLL somewhere).

Also take a look at <> for a
way to provide 'instant access' to virtually _everything_ from your
help files.

And at last, just in case you are interested in some exercises in
programming, I'd recommend you the following approach. Typically, when
if need something that you can't do just by WinHelp macros, they tell
you "simply write a DLL...<g>". Believe it or not, but it actually
might be simple - if you have some experience in C++ or Delphi and
only need to write a pair of WinHelp-callable functions, leaving alone
such advances features as embedded windows or LDLLHandler()s.

But what would be really simple, it's to write a tiny application in
VB or Delphi which starts invisible with an URL in its command line,
starts new or finds a running Web browser, passes the URL to it and
then silently quits.

Happy authoring and funny coding!

;-) Alexei M. Reatov

E-Mail: alexei -at- bennet-tec -dot- com WWW:

=====meaasge # 2 =========
You can use either the "ExecFile" or the "inet" macros (the latter
supplied with RoboHELP winhelp kit.)

**Grant's Note: and with may other HAT's
(HWA211 from our ftp site, for example)

For example: to access Sun home page using Netscape as browser:
- netscape.exe is the Netscape executable; as specified, users should
have Netscape defined in their PATH
- http: ... is the url to Sun's home page
- w_show is an argument that causes the Netscape window to appear in
its current size and position.
This is the default argument; there are others to choose from
- oops is the topic ID of a help topic that appears if the specified
file or program cannot be started.


In both cases, users will need the inetwh16.dll (for 16bit help files)
inetwh32.dll (for 32bit help files).

hope this helps,

Frangoise Hembert
PC Networking @ Sunsoft
Chelmsford, MA

Grant Hogarth, Information Developer, Onyx Graphics Corp. Midvale, UT
grant -at- onyxgfx -dot- com WWW: FTP:
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