Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

This forum is for all Flare issues related to the DotNet Help target, and the Dot Net Viewer

Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby LTinker68 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:23 am

BruceMcNaughton wrote:Are you saying that the files used by DotNetHelp can be stored on a server (as in webhelp) but the UI is actually available on the client?
If yes! How is this actually done? The interface does not seem to be able to open a website? or Is there some other trick?

The help viewer (client) would always have to be on the user's computer, regardless of where the DotNetHelp file resides. The help file can be on the user's computer or a network share. To test it, install the DotNetHelp Viewer for the version of Flare you're using, then go to C:\Program Files\MadCap Software\MadCap Flare V6.1\Flare.app\Resources (replace V6.1 with whatever version of Flare you're running). Copy the Flare.mchelpf or FlareLight.mchelpf folder to a network share. Open that folder on the network share and double-click on the Manual.mchelp file. You'll see the help open in the help viewer, even though the help file is on a network share. You couldn't do that with CHM -- it can only be accessed from the user's computer.

I don't know if DotNetHelp can be served on a web server. If it could, you'd have to provide a link to the Manual.mchelp file, but it might try to open it in the browser, which a quick test showed wouldn't work. So you'd have to somehow format the link to have the Manual.mchelp file open in the DotNetHelp Viewer, and that's beyond me. I did that once on a shortcut on Windows Explorer, but I don't know how to do the same in an URL.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby BruceMcNaughton on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:36 am

Hi,

I understand 'network share'. This approach is definitely better than installing all htm files on every PC. I seem to recall that Help3 may have been able to get files from a web server.

I guess I stick to a CHM until a better solution comes along!!!

Many thanks,
Bruce
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby samjones6 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:52 pm

LTinker68 wrote: And unlike CHM, it can be viewed over a network.


The above is not correct. CHM works fine over a network. A small registry tweak is all that is needed.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby samjones6 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:54 pm

FWIW, we would love to use DotNetHelp, but we can't, because it doesn't compile to single file.

DotNetHelp is perfect for us, but is not usable due to this.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby RamonS on Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:19 pm

samjones6 wrote:
LTinker68 wrote: And unlike CHM, it can be viewed over a network.


The above is not correct. CHM works fine over a network. A small registry tweak is all that is needed.


And that is much appreciated by customers? Hey, you want help? Then go ahead and fork around in the registry on every stinkin' client machine and open it up to a major security hole.
You are right, the registry hack will work, but Microsoft put that in place, because it was easier than fixing the security issues in the CHM Viewer from the miocene era.

Don't want to sound snippy, but using that hack as a solution is bad advice.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby samjones6 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:29 pm

RamonS wrote:Don't want to sound snippy, but using that hack as a solution is bad advice.


It is a hack, but it does work.

What would REALLY work (for us, anyway) is if DotNetHelp was a single, compressed file.

Bummer that the MadCap guys can't solve this for us.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby LTinker68 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:05 pm

samjones6 wrote:
LTinker68 wrote: And unlike CHM, it can be viewed over a network.


The above is not correct. CHM works fine over a network. A small registry tweak is all that is needed.

And you're going to tell all your users how to edit their registry? And that's assuming they have admin rights to be able to do so (I'm pretty sure you need admin rights to be able to edit the registry). And if they did edit their registry and it screwed up the computer, then bad news for you. There might be a way to do that automatically when your application is installed, but 1) it still requires the user to have admin rights on the PC, and 2) it still leaves you open to litigation if your program screws up the registry.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby adlangx on Tue May 03, 2011 10:06 am

samjones6 wrote:What would REALLY work (for us, anyway) is if DotNetHelp was a single, compressed file.

Bummer that the MadCap guys can't solve this for us.


This is the crux of the problem. We wrote an app to zip and unzip all the files in order to facilitate download to the client machines, why can't Madcap offer this functionality out of the box? It is pretty clear that many customers would appreciate it.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby RamonS on Tue May 03, 2011 2:05 pm

Did you put in an enhancement request? MadCap doesn't reliably know that there are "many customers would appreciated it" when these many customers do not report to MadCap that they want this feature. Going solely by the number of people asking in the forum it doesn't strike me as "many", but I might be wrong with this assessment.
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby nsemple on Tue May 03, 2011 4:34 pm

Yes. There are many of us out here who would greatly appreciate this feature. Yes. We have been making enhancement requests regarding this since version 1.0 of Flare to no avail. You get tired of repeatedly asking when no one seems to want to hear. If you have not been seeing this request in great numbers lately it is because we understand that Madcap has been waiting for a move by Microsoft before investing resources in this effort.

But please, it's been years -- Madcap, we don't know if you've gotten the answers you need from Microsoft yet to make this happen, but we would really appreciate anything you could do to make this feature enhancement possible in the near future!
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Re: Compiling DotNetHelp into a single file

Postby adlangx on Wed May 04, 2011 9:50 am

Yes, we have made an enhancement request. We did it during implementation when we realized the number of files that we were going to need to push to the client machines. That was several years ago. We have yet to hear anything.
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