The compression that HTML Help provides for .chm or .its files is quite good. However, KeyTools can increase the compression rate and decrease the size of your help system and create even smaller files.
You don't need to recompile every help system you create. If all you're gaining is a few bytes, then the possible risk of using a recompiled help system may be higher than is justified.
Important: We've taken every precaution in testing the recompile feature. Nevertheless, be sure to test on as many computers as possible before distributing a recompiled system.
MC Hammer wrote:Hello
We have migrated to Flare from RH 5 and have noticed that the compiled CHMs (our output is HTML Help) are considerably larger when built in Flare than when they are built using RH. Is there any way in Flare (or even outside Flare) of increasing CHM compression so that final size is not as large and global resolution of screenshots/pictures is not too low?
Andrew wrote:I'm just curious: does the file size problem persist in v4 in your testing?
I have a formerly RHx5 project (about 6000 topics) that I now edit in Flare. The size of the CHM files are comparable (both around the 5MB range), but I use only a dozen small graphics in the entire thing.
RamonS wrote:You can always use the .hhp file that Flare creates and recompile that after tweaking the settings in HTML Help Workshop. I do not know if you can set compression there, but in the end Flare does not create CHMs natively. Flare creates an HTML Help Workshop project that then gets compiled by Microsoft's proprietary CHM compiler. Sure, would be nice if Flare exposed more of the compiler options, but the question is if those options can be passed to the compiler via CLI. That may not be possible and explain the subset of all options offered in Flare.
MC Hammer wrote:Hi there
Thanks for your replies, guys. I thought that in Flare, we might have been able to control the amount of compression but from what you are saying it is not feasible (I just do not know enough about the back end ~ Microsoft proprietary CHM compiler).
To answer some questions, the CHM sizes are similar in Flare v3.1 and Flare v4.0, i.e. twice (or more) the size of the same projects built using RH (I won't be able to compare for much longer as we have been adding large numbers of topics and screenshots since we migrated). One thing though, if you optimise Flare v4 (by disabling all sorts of things, mainly to do with Analyzer and IntelliSense, as per some posts on the forum), I found out that compiling in Flare v4 is 2 to 4 times quicker than compiling in Flare v3.1, and that I could use a command line build batch file without getting an out of memony error (which I systematically get for Flare v3.1).
My CHMs used to be approx. between 7 and 11 Mb with RH and now they are around 20-22 Mb, so I have had questions from some Sales guys and customers, hence me posting this query here.
Dave Lee wrote:Do you keep any files in the Content folders that you don't actually use in the output?
e.g. old images or different formats of images that you don't use.
Flare will include everything in your Content folders, all files are included even if they aren't referenced or linked to from the topics or stylesheet.
This happens now and again in our projects, people can 'leave' files in the project (e.g. large BMP files, visio diagrams, word docs, etc) without realising they'll be included in the output.
Looking inside a CHM is a bit tricky (without a tool to do so), but if you build your project as WebHelp then you can browse through the output and see what's included. Flare's reports can also give you a list of unused files.