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Creating Effective JavaHelp by Kevin Lewis

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Embedding Help into the Application

To maximize the availability of help information, consider embedding online help into your application. Rather than running the HelpSet Viewer in a separate window (and a separate operating system process), you can place the JavaHelp content pane and navigation pane directly into your application window. Chapter 1, provides a conceptual explanation of embedded help in more detail.

When embedding help, you can retrieve and arrange JavaHelp components as you do text areas and buttons, which gives you the greatest amount of control over the JavaHelp system. However, it can also increase programming requirements, depending on how responsive to user actions the help system must be.

Understanding Embedded Help

The JavaHelp API contains methods for handling the separate parts of the HelpSet Viewer individually:

  • The HelpSet Viewer’s content pane displays the help topics (HTML files). In the JavaHelp API, the content pane is known as a content viewer.

  • The navigation pane typically includes three tabs, each providing a way to find and display help topics. In the JavaHelp API, these tabbed navigation components are known as navigators.

Thus, you can associate a number of different navigators with a single viewer. This modularity enables you to create customized (and often impressive) help viewers for your application. You can also create custom navigators and attach them to existing viewers.

Once you decide which JavaHelp components you want to use, you can retrieve ...

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