Offline help files

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Offline help files

Postby Kasia Pranke on Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:02 am

What are your most efficient ways of providing access to help files? We are exploring possibilities to be able to download help files in HTML5 format per release of our software.
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Re: Offline help files

Postby Dave Lee on Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:22 am

For offline access, we install the help (HTML5) as part of the software installation.
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Re: Offline help files

Postby Kasia Pranke on Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:13 am

Thank you for your reply, Dave. And how do you keep it up-to-date?
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Re: Offline help files

Postby Dave Lee on Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:54 am

It's part of the software installation - so when you install a new software update, that includes the updated help too.
Help isn't updated independently of the software.

Our installed offline help is only displayed if a customer doesn't have internet access.
If the customer has internet access, they see the online version of the help.
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Re: Offline help files

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:34 am

Dave Lee wrote:It's part of the software installation - so when you install a new software update, that includes the updated help too.
Help isn't updated independently of the software.

Our installed offline help is only displayed if a customer doesn't have internet access.
If the customer has internet access, they see the online version of the help.

How do you put this in place? I'm trying to persuade our lot to change from CHM to HTML5 as the format for our help. Some of our users won't have online access, some will. Is this something the devs need to do or is there anything we can help with with what we provide them?
If a user has intermittent internet access, does their usage information while they were offline get passed to Central, or only if they're using help while they're online?
Started as a newbie with Flare 6.1, now using Flare 2019r1 and 2020.
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Re: Offline help files

Postby Dave Lee on Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:50 am

ChoccieMuffin wrote:How do you put this in place? I'm trying to persuade our lot to change from CHM to HTML5 as the format for our help. Some of our users won't have online access, some will. Is this something the devs need to do or is there anything we can help with with what we provide them?
If a user has intermittent internet access, does their usage information while they were offline get passed to Central, or only if they're using help while they're online?


We have HTML5 help, and a copy is installed to the PC's local file system as part of the app installation.
Our devs included code in the app that detects if you have internet access. I think it works by pinging our website, and seeing if it gets a response.
* If there's no internet access, then help links are directed to the locally installed help on their PC - e.g. file://xxx/yourapp/help/Default.htm
* If there is internet access, then help links are directed to the online help - e.g. https://www.yourcompany.com/help/Default.htm
So the first part of the URL isn't hard-coded, and is switched depending on whether you have access.

We don't use Central, and no offline information is recorded or sent when you go online. We use Google Analytics, and obviously that will only record data when the user is online.
The app itself can be used offline if you need to, so the help also needed to work in a completely offline scenario.
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Re: Offline help files

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:28 am

Dave, a STERLING response, as always! :D

Thanks, I thought it'd be something like that but it's always good to get some confirmation from an expert.
Started as a newbie with Flare 6.1, now using Flare 2019r1 and 2020.
Report bugs at http://www.madcapsoftware.com/bugs/submit.aspx.
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