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Creating Effective JavaHelp by Kevin Lewis

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Planning Tasks Specific to JavaHelp

In addition to general project planning concepts, you must focus on tasks specific to JavaHelp development. Because of the function and features of JavaHelp, you must also consider several factors when planning your JavaHelp project.

Deciding How to Present the HelpSet

The way in which a HelpSet is presented to users—as standalone, context-sensitive, or embedded help—dictates how much extra time you need for development. During most of the development cycle, you’ll access the HelpSet in a standalone manner. If your goal is to have a standalone HelpSet, you need only a mechanism for launching the JavaHelp system. In many situations, however, you have to improve usability by presenting the HelpSet as context-sensitive or embedded help.

For context-sensitive help, you must account for the time involved in assigning map IDs (from the map file) to the appropriate controls in the application. The amount of time to budget depends on how you connect the context-sensitive help. If you only connect context-sensitivity for the application’s windows, it shouldn’t take too much time to assign map IDs. However, if you are providing field-level help and must assign map IDs for every object and every window, you should study the application’s interface to estimate the number of objects assigned map IDs.

If you are a technical writer, implementing embedded help requires close coordination with the application developer because embedded help is part of the application’s ...

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