Implementing What's This Help

Subject: Implementing What's This Help
From: "Ivie, Guy" <GuyI -at- CORPMAIL -dot- FOLLETT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 10:59:00 PST

For those who might be interested in a follow-up to my question about
resources for programmer's that need to implement What's This help...

Several people suggested that I check chapters 18 and 19 of "Designing
Windows 95 Help" by Mary Deaton and Cheryl Lockett Zubak. I've just
skimmed those chapters, and there are good pointers for working with
developers in 18, and excellent tips for developers working with C++ and
Visual Basic in 19. Those tips don't address my specific problem (we're
developing with Oracle), but they may help get the developers thinking in
the right direction (i.e., what sorts of calls will be needed).

Mary Deaton provided this information via e-mail:

"Not all programming environments support What's This Help, either. Or
they do not support it easily. [The application developers] need to check
the SDK for their programming environment, or third-party books about
their programming environment.

"If they get the Microsoft Developer's Network, they can search the
library disk for the entire WinHelp API for calling from C/C++, for
Visual Basic, and other Microsoft products, including the Win32 SDK.

"There is a Knowledge Base article (Q125670) entitled How to Implement
Context-Sensitive Help in Windows. This is for the Windows API.

"In general, this is what they need to know:

"Windows 95 also provides a new dialog style, DS_CONTEXTHELP that adds a
question mark button to the dialog box's caption bar. This button, when
clicked, changes the cursor to a question mark with a pointer. When the
user clicks any control in the dialog box, Windows 95 sends a WM_HELP
message for that control."

I've also talked with friend who is an analyst. He suggested the Windows
SDK documents as a good starting point. The calls should be in there, and
the Oracle developers should know how to make calls outside Oracle.

A few people offered tool-specific assistance in creating the help file,
but no one is using the same tool I am (HDK). I'm not really expecting
problems in creating the help file, as I've used HDK before, and recently
completed Craig Sherod's course for HDK.

Credit goes to Beth Kane for suggesting this follow-up. I hope someone
finds it useful.

Thanks to Mary Deaton for taking time out of her busy day to answer a
very specific question from a complete stranger.

Guy Ivie
GuyI -at- corpmail -dot- follett -dot- com

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