experience using these tools? -Reply

Subject: experience using these tools? -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 17:03:53 -0800

>What about using an IPF editor for help development?

IPF, or Information Presentation Facility, is the system of
formatting online help files for OS/2, the IBM operating system. You
can word process your files in any word processor (for major efforts,
I work in Word in Windows, saving the files as txt; for touch-up work,
I go to DOS in OS/2 and type edit and the filename). To compile, I
make a work directory in OS/2 and copy my .txt file to that. I then
change to the work directory and type IPFC [filename.extension]|more.
This very nice program goes immediately to work and very kindly not
only points out my coding errors, if any, but tells me what line they
are on.

The labor-intensive part of doing IPF help is the coding. IBM has a
good online help program for IPF coding, but you would have install
both this program and your word processor on your OS2 machine. That
failing, I would suggest you buy IBM's Information Presentation
Facility Programming Guide, part Number G25H-7110. Call
1-800-342-6672 in the U.S. or 1-800-465-4234 in Canada. I have
Version 2.0 of this book and it cost me $20 or $25. It's been a
great investment.

There is another, more elaborate interface for compling IPF help, but
it's included in the programmer tools and I don't happen to have those
loaded on my machine at the moment so I don't use it. You may discuss
this with your software developers.

If you know anything about HTML coding, you will see the similarities
as soon as you see IPF code.

If you want a third party program to facilitate the encoding and
compiling, such as RoboHelp for WinHelp, I don't use one. I happen to
feel that there are certain things in life I like to do the
old-fashioned way, or at least in a semi-oldfashioned way, and I have
never bothered.

Bill Sullivan
bsullivan -at- deltecpower -dot- com
San Diego, California

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