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Creating Effective JavaHelp by Kevin Lewis

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How Third-Party Tools Work

Sun Microsystems reports that many help-authoring tools offer or plan to offer JavaHelp support. You should approach the acquisition of a third-party help-authoring tool in the same way you’d purchase any other software:

  • Make sure the software offers the features you need and the ease of use you want.

  • Make sure the price is right.

  • Visit the tool vendors’ web sites to get more information on their products. Some offer free trial versions to help you decide if the product is right for you.

Sun’s JavaHelp site (http://www.java.sun.com/products/javahelp) lists companies offering JavaHelp third-party tools. Some of the popular products include ForeFront ForeHelp, eHelp (formerly Blue Sky) RoboHELP, and Wextech Doc-to-Help. These products are available for the Windows operating systems; RoboHELP and Doc-to-Help require Microsoft Word. In the remaining sections of this chapter, I discuss how these tools can assist you with help authoring.

ForeHelp

ForeHelp, from ForeFront, is a standalone help-authoring tool. You don’t need to use any other application—in particular, Word—in conjunction with it. ForeHelp provides an integrated environment in which you manage projects, write topics, create HelpSet data and navigation files, and enhance the HelpSet.

Creating and setting up a JavaHelp project is fairly easy with ForeHelp. The main flaw, in my opinion, is that ForeHelp doesn’t let you organize help topics into a meaningful subdirectory structure as shown in Chapter ...

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