HTML context sensitive help

Subject: HTML context sensitive help
From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 13:30:01 +0100

Hello Keith,

* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von Keith Jeremy Posner an All am 04.11.96

KJ> From: Keith Jeremy Posner <posner -at- SODALIA -dot- IT>

KJ> Is it possible to create context-sensitive online documentation
KJ> using HTML?

If you find a browser you can feed HTML pages while it ist running...

Perhaps a little background of GUI program basics is in place:

- Everything that happens in the machine (key pressed/released, mouse
pointer over another window, window about to be closed...) is
communicated all over the system by messages.

- The operating system sorts the queues of programs that receive
the messages. E.g. the program with the active window is further
to the front of the queue than other applications.

- Every program consists of "dispatcher loops" that examine the flow
of messages and execute appropriate actions (relatively small

- If you wish to add help to a window, you need to evaluate the
stream of messages in the dispatcher loop that belongs to that

- What you do with that "need help" message, is your business.
If you do Winhelp, you essentially call "Winhelp (<helpfile>,
<topic number>);"

Bottom line: If your programmers insert another call and are willing to supply
the HTML infrastructure, you can easily use HTML instead of Winhelp. But do
your users a favour and do NOT use Netscape 3 extensions :-)

Greetings from Germany,

Alexander von Obert, Urbanstr. 2, 90480 Nuernberg, Germany
Free-lance Technical Writer (electronics, software)
Voice +49-911-403903, Fax +49-911-403904, BBS +49-911-403905 (FIDO 2:2490/1719)

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