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It's Not Just Help. . .

So How Does It Work?
HTML Topics & Templates



Project File (.hhp)

Contents File (.hhc)

Merging Modular Files

Accelerating Links

Distribution & Installation

HTML Help Resources on the Web

Process Overview

The process of creating an HTML Help system involves several different steps, each using a number of file types and a variety of applications. A quick overview can help you understand the full process.

Basically, the process involves the following steps. Each step is explained in detail within the chapter, and carried out in the sample tree-planting project.

1. Plan the system design
Plan the overall Help system, addressing both traditional online help decisions (audience analysis, high-level organization, navigation model) and HTML-specific questions (compiled or uncompiled projects, style sheet design, interactive elements). This is a good time to set up your directory structure.
2. Craft reusable elements & content
Use an HTML editor or Notepad to write individual topic files (*.htm). Identify and create required reusable elements including graphics, style sheets, and DHTML snippets. Combine these elements into HTML files that can be used as templates.
3. Create & test the HTML Help project
Use the HTML Help Workshop or a third-party product to define the HTML Help project (*.hhp), combining the individual topic files, specifying project parameters, and building the navigation system (table of contents, *.hhc, and index, *.hhk). Finally, compile the project into the distributable file (*.chm), and troubleshoot the results.
4. Merge modular projects (optional)
If you will combine several help projects into a single master project (for example, if your documented application has components that are only available in certain packages), create a master project file (*.hhp) that specifies the constituent .chm files as “Merged Files” in the .hhp and with INCLUDE statements in the .hhc.