Posted by tim green on January 19, 2017
Experienced Help+Manual user Garry Robinson has just published a terrific tutorial explaining how he deploys and maintains Help+Manual WebHelp documentation on Microsoft Azure sites. In addition to the basics, he also explains how Dropbox and other similar services can be used to keep the site up to date.
Garry reports that the performance is outstanding, even with the lowest-tier Azure web service that he is using.
Visit the tutorial here:
Posted by Alexander Halser on December 17, 2016
We’d like to point you to a new online training course about Technical Writing with Help+Manual, created by Subash Sarath, a technical writer, software developer and Help+Manual user.
This is an online class consisting of several dozens of video tutorials and is best described as a Technical Writing Course for Beginners using Help+Manual. The focus is more on technical writing than on the nuts and bolts of Help+Manual.
Having used Help+Manual more than any of the other HATs, in the course I teach a fairly good amount of Help+Manual besides fundamentals of Technical Writing. If you or anyone you know is interested in learning Technical Writing or wants to become a Technical Writer, then this is the course for you. You may follow this link to the course.
The class curriculum includes among other chapters:
The online course costs $225 regular (a special offer for $199 in December 2016 is planned) and offers unlimited access to all videos in the class.
Check out the link to the course with several short free preview videos:
Posted by tim green on December 9, 2016
Premium Pack version 3.20 is now available, and since the initial release we have also put out a small 3.21 maintenance release that corrects some issues reported by users. This is a free update for all current Premium Pack 3 users. It is the largest update to date, with significant new features and improvements for the V3 Responsive skins and the V2 skins for both WebHelp and EWriter books.
You can download and install the updated version with the same download link and installation password from the mail you received when you purchased your copy of Premium Pack 3. If you no longer have this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you out.
Posted by Alexander Halser on December 9, 2016
This topic is all about translation of Help+Manual projects. As you know, Help+Manual saves a project in XML format, enabling external translation programs to parse the XML and translate it.
The XML code, that Help+Manual creates, however, is a bit more complicated than many translation programs would like to have it. And we are going to change this with the next update(s). I mentioned this detail in the 7.2 maintenance update already, here’s more about it. It is best explained with an example…
Please run Help+Manual and paste the following 2 lines of text into a topic:
Now let’s switch the editor to “XML View” and have a look at the XML code created for these 2 lines:
The XML colored in yellow is the code created for the two lines. These are 2 paragraphs (<para> tags in XML) and several separate text elements (<text> tags in XML). A translation program that parses the XML code, does not see the visual representation like you do in Help+Manual. It sees the XML structure only and has to make sense of it.
What makes it difficult for translation programs and translators are the <text> tags in particular. It would be much easier to read and less error-prone to translate if the XML structure was more simple and – nested. For example, the very same text could be represented by an XML code like this:
You see in the picture above, that there is just a simple <para> tag that starts the paragraph. There is not even a style attribute to it, which makes Help+Manual assume that the paragraph style will be formatted with the default style “Normal”. Text follows immediately after the <para> tag, no extra <text> tag is used here. The text will as well be formatted with the default style “Normal”, to be exact: with the same style that is already defined by the <para> tag. Just when a text part with a different style comes along, an additional nested <text> tag with modified style attributes is inserted.
This simplification of the XML code makes it much easier to translate those two sentences with an external translation program. It’s not only more compact, but the translation program doesn’t have to worry about moving plain text around. It’s just plain text between and opening <para> and a closing </para> tag. The same rule applies to links and other objects with meta information: easier to read, easier to re-group text, easier to translate.
There is just one caveat with this new more compact XML code: it is not backwards-compatible with older versions of Help+Manual. So we decided to implement it in 3 steps:
<para>This is <text style="text-decoration:underline;" translate="true">text</text> with style Normal. The word " text" is underlined.</para> <para styleclass="Heading1">This is <text style="text-decoration:underline;" translate="true">text</text> with style Heading1. The word " text" is underlined.</para>
When you switch back to WYSIWYG view, the result should look more or less like in the first picture – depending on your own style settings for “Normal” and “Heading1”. Version 7.2, however, does not write this XML code. That’s planned for the next update.
Help+Manual’s XML code has been back- and forward compatible through many versions. We have introduced additional attributes, new objects and new features (think: publishing tasks) over the years, but basically, you can still open a help project created with version 7.2 with an old version 5.0 of Help+Manual. It will work, topic content is the same.
The new TidyXML format breaks this backward compatibility and the step-by-step introduction decreases the risk that people who still work with older versions will run into a problem when opening or editing content.
Stay tuned for the announcement of a 7.3 beta to test it. We will publish it in this blog.
Posted by Alexander Halser on December 2, 2016
We have updated Help+Manual 7.2 to build 4033 by today. This build-update fixes a problem with the project report and with the table of contents.
Selection of multiple topics in the table of contents with CTRL + mouse click did not work. Several users also reported that the project report did not work in the local browser and generated just an empty page. This bug was new with 7.2.0 that has not been detected during the beta phase, unfortunately. We are sorry for the inconvenience!
Please download the update to Help+Manual 7.2 build 4033 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.
Posted by Alexander Halser on November 22, 2016
We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 7.2 ! After v7.1 earlier this year, this update is another big “minor” update that is free for all 7.xx users. Plus, there is an important update for the Premium Pack to version 3.20!
H&M’s output format “EWriter eBooks” (self-executable eBooks for Windows) is getting more and more popular as a replacement format for CHM files. We have implemented new features to make it more flexible:
Together with Help+Manual 7.2 we have also released version 3.20 of the Premium Pack add-on. This is a major upgrade with a number of powerful new features and improvements. These include a WordPress plugin, support for Google Web Fonts, advanced support for developers and new ways of displaying tables and images on mobile devices.
Please download the update to Help+Manual 7.2 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.
Posted by Alexander Halser on October 31, 2016
Being Delphi developers ourselfs, we are a proud sponsor of the Delphi Developer Days!
Delphi Developer Days 2016 is a four-city Delphi tour in the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia. Each Delphi Developer Days event includes two days of Delphi sessions with Cary Jensen and Nick Hodges. They present both joint sessions, in which they explore in-depth topics together, as well as simultaneous tracks, where they break out into separate rooms to present diverse topics. All attendees will receive a Delphi Developer Days course book, containing more than 300 pages of material presented during Delphi Developer Days.
Chicago, Illinois: November 14-15, 2016
Copenhagen, Denmark: November 24-25, 2016
Frankfurt, Germany: November 28-29, 2016
Baltimore, Maryland: December 5-6, 2016
Posted by tim green on October 18, 2016
We are proud and excited to announce that EC Software has once again received both the Top 50 Publisher and Top 100 Product Awards from ComponentSource, one of the leading online shops for professional development software.
In addition to this, Help+Manual is now the top-selling help authoring tool at ComponentSource by a wide margin. Help+Manual ranks 67th in the overall sales ranking for all products in the ComponentSource store.
ComponentSource Publisher Awards page:
Posted by tim green on October 7, 2016
Our free standalone tool for generating EWriter eBooks and help files from HTML source files has now been updated to 1.0.1. This update brings the standalone version up to date with the EWriter publishing features in the current version of Help+Manual 7.
You can download the installer for the updated EWriter tool here:
EWriter is a freeware Windows eBook and help format that supports context-sensitive help and can replace CHM files for documenting Windows applications. It combines the benefits of CHM and WebHelp and eliminates the major disadvantages of both: Like CHM, it is a compact, single-file format that opens every context help call in the same window. Like WebHelp, the entire interface can be skinned and the books work on network drives. In addition to this, it also supports unique security functions and the ability to link to EXE files to create interactive documentation.
Note that some features supported only by Help+Manual, like links to EXE files, still require EWriter source files generated by Help+Manual itself, because the HTML code for the links is different. Even if you generate the source as WebHelp in Help+Manual and then use the standalone EWriter tool to compile the WebHelp to EWriter the links to EXE files won’t work because they will be coded differently.
Posted by tim green on August 11, 2016
As you will know if you use Subversion, recent changes to the Tortoise SVN client have made it necessary to downgrade to Tortoise SVN 1.9.2 to maintain compatibility with Help+Manual 6 and 7. This is potentially problematic in the long term, because it means that your version of Tortoise may no longer match the current version of your Subversion Server.
We now have a solution for this that works for both Help+Manual 7 and Help+Manual 6. We are going to provide more integrated support for it in the next update to H+M 7, but you can install the solution now and it will work fine. All you need to do is update Tortoise and then install the current 32-bit SVN client from Collabnet. The download is free, but at the moment you do need to register with Collabnet to get it. We are looking for a better solution for this.
The only caveat is that you must make sure that all components have the same version. The version number indicates the Subversion version. Currently, Subversion, Tortoise and Collabnet are all at 1.9.5. If you update any of the components in the future you should update ALL of them to the same number again. It is best to check all three components before updating, because sometimes one component is ready with an update later than the others.
You can download the current version of Tortoise here:
Make sure that you choose the 64-bit version for 64-bit Windows and the 32-bit version for 32-bit Windows.
When you click on the download link on this page you will first need to complete a free registration with Collabnet before you can proceed (Collabnet will not spam you):
IMPORTANT: You ONLY need the 32-bit command line client, even on 64-bit Windows. In the current version this is titled “Subversion 1.9.5 (Windows 32-bit)” and is 6.42MB. This is the only component that is missing to make the current version of Subversion work properly with Help+Manual.
After downloading, run the installer and accept the default location it chooses for installation.
Subversion functions should now work properly without any further action on your part. In the unlikely event that there are problems, select the Collabnet client manually in View > Program Options > Subversion. It is installed in C:\Program Files (x86)\CollabNet\Subversion Client and the file you need to select is libsvn_client-1.dll.