Topic links from H+M

HelpXplain is the exciting new animated infographics and screencast tool that integrates with Help+Manual.

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Ga Bowen
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Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:29 pm

We deliver training to our customers on how to use our machines. At the moment a lot of the content is just the user manual content reproduced in Powerpoint presentations.

I would like to create a presentation that just highlights the main points and then provides a link to detailed information in the manual (preferably an ebook but pdf is also fine).

Can I add H+M topic links to a HelpXplain? If not what would be the best method?

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Tim Green
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:52 am

Ga Bowen wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:29 pm
Can I add H+M topic links to a HelpXplain? If not what would be the best method?
Certainly: You can add a web link to any element in a slide. Just click on the item in the HelpXplain editor to select it. Then look in the Properties panel on the right and open the Link & Interaction dropdown. Select "Go to a web page" and enter the web address including the http:// or https:// prefix (it won't work without it). Then select "New Window" for the Open Page in: option. If you don't do that the link will replace the Xplain when the user clicks on it.
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Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Ga Bowen
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:12 am

Sorry, I don't understand. How does this relate to adding links to Topics?

I want the HelpXplain to link to a specific topic in a H+M produced ebook or pdf.

The content would be kept locally.

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Tim Green
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:57 am

Hi Gareth,

By default, HelpXplain is a web format, so I was assuming that your HM project would also be WebHelp (since you didn't provide any information on this). To link to that you just use a regular WebHelp URL, as you would to any other WebHelp collection. That is also by far the best solution: Your content is on just one place on your web server and you can change, correct and update it at any time without having to redistribute.
I want the HelpXplain to link to a specific topic in a H+M produced ebook or pdf.
Don't use PDF for anything you want to link to unless you enjoy frustration, extra work and unnecessary user support queries. Even though Adobe has tacked on some "interactive" functions to PDF with flour paste and duct tape, PDF is not suitable for any kind of interactive application, and particularly not for links from other formats.

If you're viewing locally how and where is the HelpXplain presentation being made available? And where is the HM eBook going to be stored, also in relation to the HelpXplain presentation? Again, by the best way to do this is to have both components (HX presentation and HM project) on the web, on your web server. Then links are trouble-free and you also don't have any distribution problems.
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Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Ga Bowen
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:13 am

OK. I'll output the H+M file as a webhelp.

The presentation though will be delivered in various places round the world. Internet access is sketchy at best in some places, so it needs to be accessed from a local drive.

Basically I want to put it on a pen drive and give it to the trainer so he can download it onto his laptop.

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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:48 pm

Ga Bowen wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:13 am
Basically I want to put it on a pen drive and give it to the trainer so he can download it onto his laptop.
That would be one of the reasons not to use WebHelp, of course. I only suggested it because it's the easiest option, all other things being equal. In this case you would theoretically want to use eWriter for both items, the Xplain and the documentation project. The problem is that HelpXplain doesn't have the File Link option, which you need for links between eWriter files. I'm going to check with our developers if there's a way around this problem. 8)
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Alexander Halser
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Alexander Halser » Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:57 pm

You can execute file links from an Xplain as well - presumed that this Xplain is published in eWriter format. Because only the eWriter viewer does understand and execute file links. File links simply have a prefix called "exec:". That prefix is followed by the file name you want to open. If the file name has no path, the eWriter viewer assumes it in the same folder as the currently displayed eWriter eBook. If the file to open is in a different folder, you must specify it with a relative path to the current one.

Imagine you have 2 Xplains both published as stand-alone eWriter eBooks. They are called Xplain1.ewriter and Xplain2.eWriter and both reside in the same folder. To open Xplain2.eWriter from Xplain1.eWriter, the latter would include a link like this:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Alexander Halser
Senior Software Architect, EC Software GmbH

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Tim Green
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:10 am

Hi Gareth,

Further to Alexander's comments on this, note that you will only be able to open the eWriter file with a link like this from an Xplain using the exec: method. You can't add a parameter after the filename, so you can't specify a topic to link to, which makes this not very useful for what you are trying to do here. I'm going to see if I can come up with an alternative local solution for this. 8)
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:10 pm

Hi Gareth,

You can achieve this most easily and flexibly on a USB thumb drive by using HTML for both your Xplain presentation and your HM WebHelp project. You would then combine this with the HM2GO.EXE mini web server from the HM program directory and a small command batch file to start your Xplain presentation in the server. You would set up the thumb drive like this:

thumb2go.png
Assuming that the Xplain presentation is called presentation.html, the contents of the go.cmd batch file would be like this:

Code: Select all

@echo off
start /B HM2GO.EXE /P:8810 /T:0 /PRJ:./XP/presentation.html
Explanation: The /B prevents a command console from being opened. /P:8810 uses a dedicated port, in case the user already has another web server running. /T:0 stops the server from timing out automatically. /PRJ: is the link to the Xplain presentation. Since the XP folder is one level down from the current location the relative link is ./XP/presentation.html. Note the dot and slash (./) at the beginning, which means "start at this level".

So you publish your HelpXplain presentation as HTML and store it in the XP folder on the thumb drive and the HM project as regular WebHelp and save it in the HTML folder. The go.cmd batch file needs to be executed with a double-click. It opens the Xplain in the browser in the HM2Go server.

Links in your Xplain presentation:

For the links in your Xplain presentation you then use the Go to a web page option with relative URLs. From its location in the XP folder this means you have to go up one level and then down into the HTML folder, like this:

../HTML/index.html?topicid.htm

Note the TWO dots at the beginning, meaning "go up one level". If you are using .html for your topic extensions the URL would be:

../HTML/index.html?topicid.html

And if you are using a Premium Pack V3 or V4 skin the URL would be just the topic filename, like this:

../HTML/topicid.html

ALTERNATIVE METHOD WITH V3 or V4 SKINS:

The Premium Pack V3 and V4 skins can also be used without a web server when they are compiled with the no web server option set (Skin Options in Toolbox). Then you could use a combination of a WebHelp folder published with the V3/V4 skin and the Xplain in an eWriter file in the same folder (i.e. inside the WebHelp folder). You don't need HM2Go or the go.cmd batch file for this method.

Then the links in your Xplain would be like this:

exec:topicid.html
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Ga Bowen
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:53 am

Hi Tim,

I appreciate the detailed reply. It's easy to implement and links well.

Just one issue, and I think it might be something to do with the browser, but when I click it from the HelpXplain generated eWriter file, it opens in the web browser at the correct topic, then goes to the default topic, and then shows an error. :? I've tried to capture it here, but it's fast:

https://i.imgur.com/CTezM4f.gif

Image

It does the same in four different browsers, except explorer which stops at the default topic.

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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:42 pm

Your link seems to have ".htmll" with two lls at the end... :?
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Ga Bowen
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:15 pm

How odd.

It doesn't have that in the HelpXplain or the eWriter.

Image

Image

If I delete the l in the browser and press enter, it still come up with the error message. :?

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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Tim Green » Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:56 pm

Hi Gareth,

I'm assuming you are publishing your WebHelp with the no server option activated. I need to look at this to see what you're doing. Please pack the following in a zip and send me a download link at support AT ec-software.com (replace the AT with @):
  • Your .xplain source file
  • A small demo project with a couple of the affected topics you want to link to, in single-file .hmxz format.
  • The .hmskin file you are using.
Don't try to attach these items to an email. The email server would see the scripts in the files and would block the attachments. 8)
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Ga Bowen
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:04 pm

I did.

Anyway, I've sent you a link.

Thanks.

Ga Bowen
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Re: Topic links from H+M

Unread post by Ga Bowen » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:23 pm

In case anyone stumbles across this with the same problem, I hadn't realised that when you publish a WebHelp you should be setting index.html as the output file name.

Thanks, Tim.

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