It's Not Just
Help. . .
So How Does It Work?
Topics & Templates
Project File (.hhp)
Contents File (.hhc)
Distribution & Installation
HTML Help Resources on the Web
Cross-referencing is one area where HTML Help leaps ahead of standard
HTML pages. Most Web users are familiar with the in-text links of the
ubiquitious <A HREF> tag and the use of a top or left-hand
frame to position the user within the overall “map” of the site. HTML
Help accepts all the standard HTML links, allowing the author to connect
content in different parts of the same Web page, across multiple pages
in the same project, across multiple HTML Help projects, and in pages
located elsewhere on the World Wide Web. But HTML Help also takes these
standard links and accelerates them into hyperlinkages through indexing,
explicitly grouped cross-references, full-text search, and even shortcuts
to other software applications.
HTML’s indexing allows users to quickly find the information by typing
in the words related to the desired topic. Indexes can be single- or multi-level,
and the author can add synonyms to the index list, so that users can find
their information without already knowing the “correct” term. In addition,
indexes can grow automatically, adding content from new modules in merged
Grouped cross-references in HTML Help provide another means of access
to information. These groupings can be based on the same keywords listed
in the index, or they can have a separate set of classifications (ALinks),
or the author can explicitly list the desired topics. Cross-references
based on keywords and ALinks automatically merge the data from multiple
Full-text search provides yet another means of access to the HTML Help
project content. Perhaps the easiest cross-referencing mechanism to implement,
full-text search lets the user locate any word, phrase, or combination
of words appearing in the project. With the advanced search capabilities,
the user can even create complex Boolean queries using AND, OR, NOT, and
NEAR, nested as many as five levels deep.
Finally, HTML Help offers the ability to link to other applications using
shortcuts. An HTML Help shortcut provides a one-click method to open another
application, in a specific state, with a specific file, even at a specific
dialog box. You can also help users set up their Windows machines through
the Control Panel icons—and all it takes from the user is a single click
of the mouse.