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Author Topic: how do you write a .chm file?  (Read 14517 times)

urlwolf

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how do you write a .chm file?
« on: August 17, 2007, 01:38:38 PM »
I'm toying around with an idea for a program. It's mostly ready for public beta consumption, but I need to write a help file. Now, how do you write a .chm file? I guess it's just html but how do you compile it into .chm?

Thanks!

Eóin

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007, 02:10:10 PM »
I've heard of HelpMaker before. I haven't used it myself but it's free and looks very professional.

HelpMaker.png

Curt

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2007, 02:22:41 PM »
- or purchase the $25 Abee Chm Maker from http://abeetech.com/chmmakerpro/
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 12:18:50 PM by Curt »

katykaty

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2007, 02:26:54 PM »

Curt

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2007, 07:50:05 PM »
or if like me you like the easy life

$459.00   :o
The easy life seems to be an expensive life!

mouser

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2007, 12:13:51 AM »
There are a lot of "Help File" maker tools.  I also am a huge fan of (the very expensive) Help+Manual.  There may be another discount on it at DonationCoder but it's still out of the price range of many.

Most people don't need the power of H+M, and probably most tools are fine.  I can, however, think of a few features you might really want to look for:

1. integrated spell check
2. can it create pdf documentation?
3. can it create nice pure web documentation?

those last 2 features are bound to rule out most entry-level help makers, but they are very important features.

please keep us updated on what program you finally settle on, and whether it can do #1,2,3.

mouser

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2007, 12:19:11 AM »
You know I'd love to see a more organized process on this forum where a small group of people could agree to do an organized, exhaustive, frenetic testing of programs and try to come up with some consensus of best tools for a task.

In other words, it would be nice if we could take a thread like this and have a few people just go out and try every help file maker they can find and winnow down the list of top candidates.  Not only would that be helpful but we could then go and try to get some discounts on these, as well as provide some guidance to the non-top authors on how they could improve their programs.

Renegade

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2007, 12:51:28 AM »
or if like me you like the easy life

$459.00   :o
The easy life seems to be an expensive life!

Not really... $459.00 is quite reasonable considering what it delivers... The question is whether you need that power or not.

The ability to produce CHM, HLP, PDF, XML, RTF, and other formats all from the same source is so worth it. Here's why...

You have a help file where you're creating a CHM. But you decide that you need it done for the web. The help is say 100 pages long. How long does it take, and how much is your time worth? Remember that you need to do this manually each time...

Next, you need it in PDF format... Same as above...

Now you need to do this all for every release! OUCH! You just screwed yourself for time if you didn't plan ahead and get a solution like H&M.

It's all about saving time and being more productive. Tools like H&M are always expensive for a very real reason. They save money and pay for themselves.

However, a lot of people don't need them. I don't use H&M for GDT's docs because they're short and I don't need that much power. At the dayjob, I really need it badly.

Besides - Alexsander is a fun guy after a few glasses of wine! :P

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

PhilB66

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2007, 02:43:12 AM »
1. MSHelpWiki see Available Tools and Software Reviews.

2. CHMTools

3. Check out Microsoft's Office Resource Kit (Browse to Creating Custom Help for info).

katykaty

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2007, 01:26:34 PM »
or if like me you like the easy life

$459.00   :o
The easy life seems to be an expensive life!

Not really... $459.00 is quite reasonable considering what it delivers... The question is whether you need that power or not.

The ability to produce CHM, HLP, PDF, XML, RTF, and other formats all from the same source is so worth it. Here's why...

You have a help file where you're creating a CHM. But you decide that you need it done for the web. The help is say 100 pages long. How long does it take, and how much is your time worth? Remember that you need to do this manually each time...

Next, you need it in PDF format... Same as above...

Now you need to do this all for every release! OUCH! You just screwed yourself for time if you didn't plan ahead and get a solution like H&M.

It's all about saving time and being more productive. Tools like H&M are always expensive for a very real reason. They save money and pay for themselves.

However, a lot of people don't need them. I don't use H&M for GDT's docs because they're short and I don't need that much power. At the dayjob, I really need it badly.

Besides - Alexsander is a fun guy after a few glasses of wine! :P



Exactly  :)

The important part is the '+' in the name. If you need to publish the same content in more than one format it's a breeze. It only needs to save about 5 days worth of development time before it's paid for itself.

mouser

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2007, 01:29:52 PM »
Well for those that want it but can't quite afford it yet, we will try hard to have another discount on Help+Manual this year, it really is a pleasure to use, and a real powerhouse.

imtrobin

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2007, 10:32:06 PM »
This is the best. You create a folder of html files, then it can compiile to chm.

http://helpware.net/FAR/

Curt

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2007, 02:16:44 AM »

mahesh2k

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2007, 04:26:06 AM »
Well in some cases i would love to go with Vizzac help maker it creates PDF HTML help files what more u want.

urlwolf

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2007, 06:51:51 AM »
hmm, I'm trying Vizzac... I don't see how it creates PDF, other than that it looks great.

NOTE: big downside for me: it doesn't work with intellicomplete!

Curt

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2007, 12:28:41 PM »
or if like me you like the easy life

$459.00   :o
The easy life seems to be an expensive life!

The price is now $489!

http://www.ec-software.com/ :
TNT.gif

Blaster

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2007, 04:56:53 PM »
I won Help & Manual last year on a BCB programming contest  here at donationcoder  :Thmbsup: ,
and it is probably the best programe I've tried since then.
I'm amazed what it can do!


BCB developer's journal wrote about some free help tool... I read it today...

« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 04:58:31 PM by Blaster »

Cuffy

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2007, 01:41:46 PM »
HTML Help Workshop is available for free from Microsoft. I've used it for years to compile simple help files and I say simple because I'm too old and lazy to get into ActiveX and the other hairy things you can do with it.
Google should find it for you easily and if not come back.
I have dozens of chm files compiled from pages downloaded from the web. Download the pages, patch the links or add an html index and compile using Workshop. It's a neat way to save tutorials downloaded from support sites. All the screenshots, etc., are compiled into one package.
I'll be glad to help get you started if you want. My experience is limited to HTML Help Workshop though!


Ralf Maximus

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2007, 02:01:43 PM »
Here's a nice little site with links to the Microsoft tools mentioned, plus some other tutorials and goodies in the sidebar:

http://www.ec-softwa...ownloads_mscomp.html

Cuffy

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Re: how do you write a .chm file?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2007, 11:50:39 AM »
More tools:

In addition to Microsoft's HTML Workshop I've found that an index maker can be helpful, especially when you want to throw a little tutorial or help file together and don't want to invest too much time in the project.
Mihov's Index Maker generates an html index from a folder of html pages so by using the index and your Back button you don't need to link all the pages together. I usually just add a note at the top of the index "You must use the browser Back button to navigate these pages".
Since the index is an html page you can edit to fit your needs, use your own CSS page, etc.

http://www.mihov.com/eng/im.html

I haven't been to his site in a long time so he may have some other goodies to play with.
The indexer is Freeware!