You are probably all too familiar with the annoying yellow warning bar in that appears in Internet Explorer when you open WebHelp files directly on your own computer. Google Chrome also has problems with local WebHelp files, although they display fine in Chrome online. Without a web server environment, browsers like Internet Explorer and Chrome are unable to confirm the security of active features in HTML files and they block them to be on the safe side.
Help+Manual 2 Go (HM2Go) is a tiny server in a single 1.5mb EXE file. When you open your WebHelp output automatically after publishing it, Help+Manual opens it in HM2Go so that all browsers display it correctly.
If you are distributing WebHelp for local viewing you can install HM2Go and be sure that the help will display properly, even if it opens in browsers with defective local HTML handling like IE and Chrome. HM2Go is royalty-free and very easy to deploy and works both on hard disks and on removable media like CDs and DVDs. There are just two switches in the command line:
The HM2Go server is started automatically if you activate the option for displaying your help output in the Publish page (Display file when publishing is complete). Once it is running you will see its icon in the system tray notification area in the Windows Taskbar, with options for exiting and configuring:
Configuring HM2Go locally:
Just right-click on the HM2Go taskbar icon and select Configure. You can set the port it uses and the timeout after which it will exit automatically if it is not used for the number of minutes you specify. The standard port is 80 and you will only need to change this if you are already running another web server on your computer. A good range of ports that are guaranteed to be free is from 8805 - 8872. Any number between those values is generally safe to use. The port and timeout settings will be saved and used the next time HM2Go is started.
Opening HTML pages with HM2Go when it is running:
Once HM2Go is running you can open any local HTML pages (for example your WebHelp) with it by entering its IP address in the address field of your web browser. If you have changed the port you also need to enter the port number. The normal address with the standard port (80) is http://127.0.0.1 , and you just need to add the absolute path to the file you want to open after it like this:
Use plus (+) characters instead of spaces.
If you have changed the port address to anything except 80 you need to include the port number in the URL, directly after the IP address and preceded by a colon, like this:
Relative paths in the browser URL:
In addition to the absolute URL shown in the examples above, you can also use a relative URL for accessing the help. The path is always relative to the location of the HM2GO.EXE file when it is started. For example, if the help is in a sub-folder called HELP in the folder where the HM2GO.EXE program file is stored and started, you can also use this URL:
HM2Go can be distributed with your own WebHelp and used to display it with the user's default web browser, avoiding all problems normally associated with opening WebHelp locally without a server. This also works with WebHelp distributed on CDs and DVDs. It will run fine directly from the CD/DVD.
How to get the HM2Go program file:
If you are using Help+Manual the HM2Go.exe file is located in the Help+Manual program directory. Just copy it from there to use it. All you need is this single EXE file. It is easiest to save it in the same folder as your WebHelp files to use it.
If you are using HM2Go as a stand-along solution you can get it from the EC Software website here, where you can also always download the latest version:
The basic syntax for starting HM2GO is:
HM2Go.exe /P:xxxx /T:xx /PRJ:xxxx.html
The /P= switch is the port number, the /T= switch specifies the number of minutes until HM2Go exits automatically if it is not used and the /PRJ= switch specifies the HTML file you want to open. Your command line will normally look like this:
HM2GO.EXE /P:8810 /T:0 /PRJ:index.html
It is best not to use the default web server port (80) in case the user already has a local web server installed. A good range of ports that are guaranteed to be free is from 8805 - 8872. Any number between those values is generally safe to use. Set the timeout to 0 to prevent the server from exiting automatically unless you have a specific reason for setting an explicit timeout value.
The /PRJ: switch is not absolutely required. You can also enter:
HM2GO.EXE "index.html" /P:8810 /T:0 /PRJ:index.html
Absolute and relative paths:
You can also use an absolute or relative path for the location of the WebHelp file to open. Relative paths are always relative to the location of the HM2GO.EXE file, not to the location of the current folder or the batch file!
Relative path with the help in a folder called "help" below the HM2GO.EXE folder:
HM2GO.EXE /P:8810 /T:0 /PRJ:help/index.html
Absolute path, only possible when you know the drive letter:
Starting HM2Go in a batch file:
If you start HM2Go with a batch file you don't want the command console window to open visibly. To prevent this, use the start /B command, this example assumes that HM2GO and the help are in the same folder:
The best way to use HM2Go on a CD or DVD is to design the disc with a program that creates an interactive menu for your disc content so that the user can start the help by clicking a button. You can also create a simple autorun disc (see below), but many users turn off autorun for optical discs nowadays because of security considerations, so these may not always work.
All you need for a produced disc is to store HM2Go.exe in the same folder with all your WebHelp files and enter the command line options outlined above to start the help. You can also make context-sensitive calls to topics in the WebHelp: You just need to prefix the address with the IP and the port number you have configured for HM2Go, for example:
HM2Go on an auto-starting CD or DVD:
To install HM2Go with your WebHelp on an auto-starting CD or DVD you just need to burn the WebHelp files and the HM2Go.exe file to the CD or DVD together with an icon file to be displayed for the disc in Windows Explorer and a text file called autorun.inf. The minimum contents of autorun.inf are the following lines:
Here too, you can make context-sensitive help calls to topics in the WebHelp as shown above for produced discs. You can find lots of tutorials for creating more complex autorun discs online, but it is really better to use a tool for creating "produced" discs with proper menus where the user starts the help by clicking a menu button.
Relative paths on CDs and DVDs:
You can also use relative paths for accessing the help in commands and links on CDs and DVDs. Here too, the path is always relative to the location of the HME2GO.EXE program when it is started. So these commands and links will also work:
The relative http:// URL will only work after HM2GO has been started to establish its relative location, of course.