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HTML Help Tutorials

For a Spanish tutorial on the HTML Help Workshop, please see the AyudaHTML page at el Guille.

RoboHELP MVP Rick Stone has developed a set of Tips 'n Tricks help files for HTML Help, with additional information on RoboHTML. He covers everything from adding notes to email tricks and Information Types. This is a great resource, and should be in everyone's collection. You can download it by clicking here.

Char James-Tanny's
HTML Help Workshop Tutorial

Updated February, 2003

 Download Here (575k) ( attached below)

We are very honored to host a comprehensive tutorial on Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop, written by help-conference-favorite and fellow Microsoft Help MVP Char James-Tanny, author of Teach Yourself RoboHELP 2000 for HTML Help. This particular version was part of Char's presentation at WinWriter's 2003. 61 pages in length and supplied in Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf) format, this tutorial will teach you everything you need to know on the subject and then some.

Also available are sample files for use with the above tutorial:

 Download Sample Files (48k) (see attached below)

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required for the viewing of Char James-Tanny's tutorial.

Don Lammers' HTML Help API Tutorials
For Visual Basic and Visual C++

Updated November 1, 2000

Developer/speaker Don Lammers has written a couple of great tutorials for using HTML Help with Visual Basic and Visual C++:
Also available are comprehensive samples illustrating the techniques described in Don's tutorials:
Don's tutorials are in the PDF format, so Adobe's Acrobat Reader is required for viewing them.


Mapping Context Integers

Updated March 1, 2003

Mapping help topics in an HTML Help file for use with an application isn't a difficult procedure, but it's really not covered too well in too many locations. Here's the scoop on just what you need to know about the specific areas of the HHP file that make this work.


This section lists all of the topic source files for the project:

; more files may be listed here

When the HTML Help Workshop converts a WinHelp project to an HTML Help project, it also creates two subfolders: "html", and "images". You should create these same folders for the majority of your source files as well. It assists greatly in keeping things organized.

The source file section of the project file can be modified by clicking the Add/Remove Topic Files button in the workshop. Clicking this button brings up a simple dialog for accomplishing the task.


This section of the project file is a bit more complex:

; more Aliases may be listed here

Here, we're aliasing each required topic file to a topic ID. This uses the standardized IDH_ prefix used by the developers of WinHelp. It's still a valid constant-based ID system that works well, so we'll continue to use it. These are set via the Alias tab of the API Information dialog.

Note that the context ID's are arbitrary ... you can make them up in any manner you wish. However, the IDH_ prefix is recommended as, once again, it assists in keeping things organized.


This section then equates the individual topic ID's to context integers for use within our Help system. The context integers are kept in a header file, which has a *.h file extension. The information in this header file is rather straightforward:

#define IDH_CI_CONTENTS 1060
#define IDH_CI_INTRO 1040
#define IDH_CI_STEP_1_OF_2 1010
#define IDH_CI_STEP_2_OF_2 1080
// more context integers may be defined here

It is recommended, though, that they begin with 1000 and increment in steps of 10. This in line with older recommendations about the WinHelp system.

Note that these are in the C++ constant-definition syntax. These cannot be written within the HTML Help Workshop itself. This file can be created in NotePad, then added to the HHP project file through the API button. The result is an HHP entry that looks like this:

#include library.h

That's all there is to it. There's nothing you have to do to the specific HTML files to get this going. It's all in the HHP file.

Creating "What's This?" Topics

Topics for What's This help from HTML Help are likely the simplest you'll ever create. They're created as text files: they have no scrolling capability, nor can they display images, hyperlinks, or even local formatting (e.g., a bolded word).

The syntax for the a text popup is:

.topic contextstring(carriage return)

If you'll open the text popup file for the sample application (library.txt), you'll find the first topic looks like this:

Enter the patron's barcode here. If the barcode is damaged, just type the number in the box.

Opening the map file (library.h) reveals this context string is mapped to the context integer of 20000:

#define IDH_PATRON_BARCODE 20000

Finally, both the text popup and map file are listed in the [TEXT POPUPS] section of the HTML Help project file:


Note that I've started the context integers for the popup topics with 20000 and incremented by 10. This in line with older recommendations about the WinHelp system. It assists in keeping the main and popup types of topics separate, which assists in maintaining the developer's sanity.

Robert Chandler,
Aug 20, 2013, 2:24 PM
Robert Chandler,
Aug 20, 2013, 2:24 PM