Help+Manual News

Archive for category Browsers

Premium Pack 3.46 Maintenance update

Version 3.46 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on is a general maintenance update including fixes for minor issues and some fine-tuning improvements.

How to Get the Premium Pack Update:

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

Toolbox utility

  • The Normalize Styles tool failed to identify some styles as paragraph styles and incorrectly reported that the style could not be found. The affected styles were styles based on other styles without explicit paragraph attributes of their own.
  • Some HM projects converted from Help+Manual 4 would cause Toolbox to crash and close when they were opened.
  • The Add/Remove Topic ID Prefixes function failed without completing on some projects with an unusual combination of settings.
  • The Rename Variable function didn’t update the display of the new variable name in some projects.

V3 WebHelp Skins

  • In the layout tables function the style name for identifying layout tables has been changed from layout-table to layout_table. This was necessary because you need to define a project style for this and Help+Manual no longer permits the definition of style names with dashes in the project stylesheet. Old projects using the hyphenated style name will still work; you just can’t create new styles with hyphens. The tap images function is not affected because the style for that does not need to be defined in Help+Manual.
  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • User-defined menus in the page header would sometimes extend beyond the edge of the page.
  • If you are using Google Analytics, topic pages opened from search results or the keyword index will now include the search text or index keyword in the tracking reference. For example, if the user searched for red widgets or used the red widgets index keyword and clicked on the Introduction topic the tracking reference will be introduction.html?q=red+widgets (?q= is the standard reference for search terms in GA). You can turn this off with the new URL_QTRACKER configuration variable.
  • If you are using a non-standard port (anything except port 80) for your web server the permalink function will now include the port reference in the permalink to prevent the URL from being invalid.

V3 eWriter Skins

  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • User-defined menus in the page header would sometimes extend beyond the edge of the page.

V2 Webhelp/eWriter skins

  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • The Open topic in a new tab function displayed an incorrect message that the topic is already open in a new tab on some touchscreen Windows devices (MS Surface and similar).

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HelpXplain Animated Infographics Beta Program

Try out HelpXplain now by joining the beta program

HelpXplain is an exciting new program from EC Software that takes the pain out of making HowTo tutorials and other animated infographics for the web. You can see some examples and join the beta program here:

http://helpxplain.com/

HelpXplain takes the pain out of making HowTo tutorials

HelpXplain can make a whole range of different web-based infographics, but for documentation authors its ability to make animated HowTo tutorials is nothing short of revolutionary. Instead of trying to get every step of a “performance” right you just make a series of screenshots that the program then links together in an editable screencast with an animated, editable mouse cursor. Let me put what this means this into perspective from the point of view of a documentation author.

From typewriter to word processor

I’ve been working with HelpXplain for a while now while writing the help for it. For me as a help author there is one aspect of it that stands out from all the others. It reminds me of the huge aha experience I had the very first time I saw a word processor. The one thought I had was: “I am never going to have to retype anything ever again.” That was huge. For writers of all kinds, it is still 99.9% percent of the benefit of using a word processor instead of a typewriter. Everything else that modern writing tools do is nice to have, but all those additional functions are still nothing compared to the ability to edit and change your text without retyping everything.

From video screencasts to HelpXplain

HelpXplain is the first time that I have had a similar experience as a documentation author. It is really comparable. Like everyone else, I experimented with using video screencast tools like Camtasia and Captivate. Like everyone else outside of very large, very rich companies, I abandoned them very quickly. They only make sense if you have a huge amount of time to work on little video tutorials, and if someone is willing to pay you a reasonable hourly rate for that time. Both of those things are simply unrealistic expectations for most technical writers working in today’s market. It just doesn’t happen. You’re not going to have that much time to work on a tutorial, and even if you do nobody is going to pay you for it.

Video: When you had to do it just right

But that’s not the only problem with video screencast tools: They are very stressful and thus unpleasant to work with, because you have to get everything right. If you make a mistake while making the video you have to start again. And again. And again. And again. And if you ever need to add something you have to remake the entire screencast. Again. I found this so unpleasant that I would do pretty much anything to avoid having to make video tutorials even if I did have the time and reasonable payment for them. To be honest, I would probably even pay to not have to make them.

HelpXplain: Work at your own speed, correct later at leisure

That is why HelpXplain is such a revelation for me, personally, quite separate from the fact that this is an EC Software product. Once you get the hang of it, making little HowTo tutorials is literally as easy as making a series of screenshots — which is what we are doing anyway. And it is completely stress-free: I don’t have to get my timing right and I don’t have to worry about needing to set up everything right. Between screenshots I can take my time to make any changes I want in the program. And not only that: If I ever need to change or add something I can do that at any time, without having to redo the whole thing.


HelpXplain New Dialog

There is no doubt that making tutorials with HelpXplain is radically faster and more pleasant than struggling with a video screencast tool. In fact, for myself, I could say that it is infinitely faster, because with HelpXplain I am actually making the tutorials, whereas with video screencast tools I wouldn’t be making them at all. Not in the real world.

HelpXplain can do a lot more. But if you’re a documentation author, taking the pain out of making HowTo tutorials for documentation simply makes it a must-have.

Tim Green

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Premium Pack 3.45 Update

Version 3.45 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on adds a new set of V3 WebHelp and EWriter skins using the popular Samurai Red color theme and corrects some minor issues.

How to Get the Premium Pack Update:

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

New Samurai Red Skins

Changes and Fixes

More information

See the Premium Pack information page for general details and purchase information and the Premium Pack web-based documentation for full instructions.

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Premium Pack 3.42/3.43 Maintenance Update

Versions 3.42/3.43 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on is primarily a maintenance update. It is recommended for all Premium Pack users because it corrects several small but potentially annoying issues.

How to Get the Premium Pack Update:

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

3.43 Additional Corrections

V3 Skins Maintenance Update

Extended support for the full version of the Zoom web search indexer

More information

See the Premium Pack information page for general details and purchase information and the Premium Pack web-based documentation for full instructions.

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Broken YouTube videos in CHM – and how to fix it

With Help+Manual 7 we have introduced web-based videos like YouTube and Vimeo for embedding videos in help files. Especially YouTube worked like a charm in CHM files – until recently.

After a change in the YouTube scripts, the videos – when clicked to play – might trigger a Javascript error. The reason for this error is, that the script expects a “newer” version of MS Internet Explorer, it requires MSIE 9 as the minimum.

The Windows HTML Help viewer internally uses the rendering engine of MS Internet Explorer to display CHM files. By default, it runs with MSIE 7, even if a newer version is installed. To force the CHM viewer to use a newer rendering engine, it can be elevated with a HTML meta tag. We do this with all our CHM templates and skins, and the default elevation for CHM files was MSIE 8 so far. With the recent change in the YouTube scripts, it requires MSIE 9 or higher.

 

A quick and easy fix

To fix the YouTube problem, you need to apply a small change to the skins or HTML templates that you publish your CHM files with. Here is a step-by-step instruction:

  • If you publish CHM with a skin, open the skin file in Help+Manual
  • If you publish without a skin, open the help project in Help+Manual
  • In the Project Explorer, navigate to Configuration > HTML Page Templates > Default
  • Switch to the HTML source code tab
  • Locate the line with “X-UA-Compatible” in the HTML code editor
  • Change it to “IE=9” or “IE=edge
  • Publish your CHM file again

Old:

Modified:

 

This modification will be part of the next update of Help+Manual. However, your customized skins will need a manual tweak though – just follow the steps described above.

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Premium Pack 3 and Help+Manual 7.0.8 Released

We are proud to announce the release of the all-new Premium Pack 3 with advanced responsive skins. This is accompanied by Help+Manual 7.0.8 with new features to support the new skins and a set of demo Premium Pack 3 skins. Help & Manual 7.0.7 or higher is required to use the new responsive skins.

See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

Premium Pack 3: Responsive. Fast. Embedded. WebHelp.

A single WebHelp site now works smoothly on desktop, tablet and smartphone browsers, with an optimized user interface for each device type. Even large TOCs and keyword indexes are handled well on smartphones. And browsing has been optimized for lightning-fast topic loading. These skins represent the first iteration of our new online help format, which we call WebHelp 3. This has been made possible by a number of new technologies that we have been working on for the last eighteen months.

Key Features

  • Fully responsive – create one WebHelp site for desktop, tablet and phone browsers
  • Frameless topics – no more index.html layout page, the topic pages are your pages and their names are your URLs
  • Embedded WebHelp – embed your help in existing web pages with a snippet of code like a YouTube video
  • Field-level popups – display formatted popups from your help in your own web pages with simple links
  • Responsive X-tables – add a single setting to data tables to make them reformat automatically on mobile devices
  • Local WebHelp – deploy WebHelp locally without a web browser, even for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer
  • Fast browsing – highly optimized topic loading for extremely fast browsing
  • Scalable – user-adjustable text size for the best possible user experience.

Premium Pack Toolbox Configuration Utility

The Premium Pack now also comes with a configuration utility with direct help for every configuration setting when you select it. This also works with older Premium Pack skins and comes with a large number of additional advanced features for power users. For example, you can add features to skins that are normally only available in your project settings. And you can edit your templates and baggage files directly in your favorite code and graphics editors.

Help+Manual 7.0.8

Help+Manual 7.0.8 comes with a set of demo Premium Pack 3 skins that you can try out, plus support for the new features in the Premium Pack 3 skins. Help+Manual 7.0.7 or higher is required for using the responsive skins in Premium Pack 3.

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Unpatched Vulnerability (0day) in Flash Player

A new vulnerability in the latest Adobe Flash player (Flash version 16.0.0.257) is already being actively exploited. One can expect older versions of Flash player to be affected as well. At risk are Windows users from Windows XP to Windows 8.

Disabling Flash player for some days might be a good idea.

Is Help & Manual affected?

No, not generally. Help & Manual does not use Flash. Even the Webhelp output of Help & Manual 6 does not rely on Flash anywhere, it is entirely built on standard web technology with HTML5 and Javascript.

However, if you include videos in Adobe Flash format into your documentation, keep in mind that users might not be able to view the content, because they may disable Flash player in general until a fix becomes available.

Link to full article:

http://malware.dontneedcoffee.com/2015/01/unpatched-vulnerability-0day-in-flash.html

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Premium Pack 2.5: Instant Display of WebHelp Changes

Timed Browser Cache

Premium Pack 2.5 for Help & Manual adds a major new feature: “Timed Browser Cache” ensures that web browsers always display the latest versions of your topics instantly. Visitors no longer need to clear their browser cache or reload multiple times to view new and updated topics. If you don’t yet have the Premium Pack this is one of the best reasons ever to start using it. If you do, you’ll want to update to version 2.5 right away. Timed Browser Cache is available in the WebHelp skins, smartphone skins and the new combined iPad and Android tablet skin.

Combined iPad + Android Tablet Skin

The dedicated iPad skin receives a major upgrade and is now also compatible with current Android tablets. This also includes offline web app mode, which allows users to save their WebHelp documentation locally and view it without an Internet connection.

Other Improvements

Premium Pack 2 also includes a number of other major improvements in the all the web-based skins. See the full change log further below for details.

Premium Pack 1 updated to 1.63

At the same time, we have also updated Premium Pack 1 to version 1.63. This includes the new combined iPad + Android tablet skin, which version 1 shares with version 2, and new dedicated redirects for Android tablets. The WebHelp skins in version 1 do not support Timed Browser Cache, but it is included in the iPad/Android skin.

Purchase and information:

Purchase Premium Pack 2
Premium Pack 2 Information Page

How to get the updates:

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 the Premium Pack. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out.

Continue below for the full change log.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Premium Pack 2.42 and 1.62 Maintenance Update

The Help & Manual Premium Pack download packages for Help & Manual 6 have been updated to versions 2.42 and 1.62. In addition to this, the old package for Help & Manual 5 has been updated to 1.58. These are minor maintenance updates with fixes for some reported issues.

Version 2.42 Update:

  • WebHelp skins: Mail feedback links failed  in some versions of Firefox and the standard feedback mail body text was incomplete.
  • WebHelp skins: Permalink components updated, Permalink dialog more efficient.
  • CHM skins: Changes to eliminate errors with MP4 video files on some systems.
  • Dual-mode classic skins: Elimination of errors on some systems caused by the update to the new jQuery framework (search in keyword index, URL switches for index and search panes, links to anchors in other topics). More efficient Permalink dialog.

Version 1.62 Update (version 1 skins for HM6):

  • Elimination of errors on some systems caused by the update to new jQuery framework (search in keyword index, URL switches for index and search panes, topic Auto-TOC function). More efficient Permalink dialog.

 Version 1.58 Update for HM 5:

  • Elimination of errors on some systems caused by the update to new jQuery framework (search in keyword index, URL switches for index and search panes, topic Auto-TOC function). More efficient Permalink dialog.

How to get the updates:

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 the Premium Pack. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out.

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Premium Pack 2.40/1.60a Update

The Help & Manual Premium Pack download packages for Help & Manual 6 have been updated to versions 2.40 and 1.60a. The version 1 update has just been given an “a” suffix because the changes there are very minimal: The main skins have not changed at all; the only real change is the updated version of the iPad skin that is shared with version 2.40.

In addition to some minor changes, the 2.40 package includes a new “Samurai Red” WebHelp theme in response to requests from many users, who wanted the color scheme of this theme from the old 1.x skins.

  • V. 2.40 WebHelp: New Samurai Red WebHelp theme
    This color theme was very popular in Premium Pack 1.x and has now been added as a WebHelp theme in the current 2.40 package.
  • V. 2.40 CHM: Mail Links in CHM files
    Links that created an email failed in CHM files when the file link fix function in the CHM skins was on. This has now been corrected.
  • V. 2.40 & 1.60a WebHelp & iPad: Searches enclosed in quotes
    If you use the JavaScript search platform enclosing the search argument in quotes will now only find complete words. For example, searching for “red dog” will only find topics that contain the exact words “red” and “dog”, not “Redmond” or “doggone”. You still need to use PHP or ASP search to search for exact phrases, however.
  • V. 2.40 WebHelp: Google Chrome in full screen mode
    Google Chrome in full screen mode (F11) was incorrectly identified as a mobile browser and the new tab and undock tools were disabled.
  • V. 2.40 WebHelp: WebHelp in an iFrame
    Links from the parent page to WebHelp in an iFrame opened in a new tab or window instead of in the iFrame.
  • V. 2.40 and 1.60a WebHelp, iPad: Google Analytics tracking
    An issue was discovered in the Google Analytics tracking code generated by Help & Manual that could cause more than one tracking signal per page view to be sent to Google Analytics. This has now been corrected in Help & Manual and the updated WebHelp and iPad skins support this. The current version of Help & Manual is required.
  • V. 2.40 WebHelp: Favicon images in stand-alone topics
    The favicon image was referenced incorrectly in stand-alone topics, so that no favicon was displayed in the browser tab or title bar when a topic was displayed without the full user interface. This was almost never visible, since topics are hardly ever displayed on their own.

How to get the updates:

You can download and install the updated version with the same download link and installation password from the mail you received when you purchased the Premium Pack. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out.

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