Help+Manual News

Help+Manual 7.3 Beta with TidyXML


We are glad to announce that Help+Manual 7.3 Public Beta is available for download! Version 7.3 implements a slightly modified XML format that is more translation-friendly. We had announced this feature before, now you can try it for the first time.

You can download and install the 7.3 beta version like any previous 7.x update from this direct link:

http://download.ec-software.com/help-and-manual-setup-v730-beta.exe

The link will be kept active during the beta phase and will be updated 2 or 3 times a week.

 

About TidyXML

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. 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.

 

Changing the XML format

Version 7.3 has a switch that you can activate to apply a new and cleaner (tidier) XML syntax. The switch applies per help project and is placed under Configuration > Common Properties > Miscellaneous Options.

To activate the function, perform the following steps:

  1. Make a backup of your help project (!)
  2. Make sure the backup can be restored any time
  3. Open the help project and navigate to the configuration section as shown below
  4. Enabe the option “Write translation-friendly XML“, then click “Apply to all topics

 

 

The difference in XML

The new XML syntax writes <text> tags only where necessary. If the text style is identical with the paragraph style, the text is simply placed between the <para>…</para> tags, making it much easier to read for an external translator. Explicit <text> tags are inserted if the text has a different format than the paragraph. Furthermore, style classes are inherited. The new XML syntax omits redundant “styleclass” attributes for <text> tags and links.

The entire XML structure becomes smaller and more readable.

This new XML structure, however, is not compatbile with older versions of Help+Manual. While you won’t lose content when opening such a converted help project with an older version of H&M, the style inheritance is not recognized and the format might look distorted. Do not open a converted project with an older version of Help+Manual!

 

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