Help+Manual News

Archive for category Browsers

Premium Pack 4.3.0 Update: SharePoint Embedding

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.3, with a couple of major improvements and some minor fixes and fine-tuning.

SharePoint embedding

The main change in this update is support for embedding WebHelp in SharePoint using the V3 and V4 skins. SharePoint administrators can now host WebHelp created with these skins on SharePoint site pages. This will also work on the SharePoint iOS and Android apps on tablets and smartphones. See Embedding in MS SharePoint in the Premium Pack documentation for details and instructions.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the download link and personal installation password you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these details please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 4 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

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Premium Pack 4.2.1 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.2.1. This is a minor maintenance update that adds one important new feature to the Toolbox utility, which can now edit HMXR style repository projects as well as Help+Manual projects and skins.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the download link and personal installation password you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these details please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 4 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

Main changes and new features

The main change in this otherwise minor update is the addition of the ability of Toolbox to edit style repository projects (.hmxr). This makes it possible to use the new import/export styles tool on these projects as well. You can also use the other topics tools on these projects.

In addition to this, it was found that Help+Manual continues to maintain outdated XSD schema files in some old HMXP projects. This happens when backup or other tools are used that update the XSD file timestamp to the current date, which prevents HM from identifying an outdated file. When Toolbox encounters XSD validation errors it now automatically backdates the XSD, forcing HM to update it next time the project is updated.

Toolbox changes

  • Support for editing HMXR projects
  • Check for read-only TOC and topic and files in otherwise accessible projects
  • Add/Remove prefixes: Error if a topic ID was shorter than the prefix
  • XSD validation: Force Help+Manual to update outdated XSD schema file

Skin changes

  • The variable for the “Copied!” text in the new code sample boxes was inactive in some skins.

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Premium Pack 4.2 Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.2.0. This is a significant update with several new features, along with a number of minor fixes and corrections.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the download link and personal installation password you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these details please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 4 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

Main changes and new features

Version 4.2 includes a general overhaul of a lot of code, also for the update to the latest version of jQuery. Because of this, please don’t try to backport this version to older skins — use the new skins instead. It also brings three major new features:

Code Sample Box

All skins now include a Code Sample Box feature. This enables you to add programming code samples to your documentation in a box with a Copy to Clipboard link that copies the sample code directly to the Windows Clipboard. This even works in CHM files.

Import/Export Styles

The Toolbox utility has a new Import/Export Styles feature, with which you can import individual text, paragraph and table styles to Help+Manual projects from other projects and style files created with the tool. (In Help+Manual itself you can only replace an entire project stylesheet with another one.)

Validate XML against XSD

The Toolbox utility now validates XML against the XSD schema file included with every Help+Manual project. This prevents the accidental creation of invalid HM XML when working on the XML source code, for example with the search and replace tool.

jQuery Update

All skins have been updated to the latest 3.6 version of jQuery. This includes quite a lot of low-level code changes in the scripts, so please don’t try to backport the changes in these skins to older versions. Use the new skins instead.

Toolbox Utility Changes and Fixes

  • XML validation against XSD: This checks all projects and skins you open and prevents the creation of invalid XML (see above).
  • Import/Export Styles tool: Import individual styles to Help+Manual projects from other projects or style files exported with the tool.
  • Normalize Styles: Corrected an error that could incorrectly reset Bold/Underline/Italics formatting when processing some projects.
  • Edit Preferences: A message is now displayed in Edit Preferences explaining that all current projects and skins need to be closed to change some options.
  • Complex Search & Replace: On some projects the search and replace tool could only be used once if the Autosave feature was active.
  • Complex Search & Replace: An error could be generated when replacing in invalid topic files because they were not automatically excluded from searches.
  • TOC \Maps folder in uncompressed HMXP projects: Toolbox would crash silently on opening an HMXP project if there were non-TOC files or invalid secondary TOC files in the \Maps folder.
  • Plus a number of cosmetic changes, like showing a red explanation that you need to close all projects to be able to edit the disabled preferences in Edit > Preferences.

V3 and V4 WebHelp Skins

  • Embedded Help: A new option enables you to leave the WebHelp header visible when opening help embedded in another web page.
  • Local without Web Server: Changes in the security features of current browsers caused a number of errors when using these skins in local mode without a web server. These errors have been corrected, along with others caused by some Google Analytics features not being disabled in local mode.

All V3 and V4 Skins

  • Image toggle close mode: The Click Inside option for closing image toggles caused an error in some skins.
  • Image toggles: Image toggles were inactive when published with Help+Manual 7.
  • Search results: Some V3 WebHelp and eWriter skins showed only the project title in the search results instead of the topic title. The incorrect topic title was sometimes shown in the search results in the Advanced skins.

All Skins

  • A potential cross-site scripting vulnerability has been corrected in the Zoom Search component. The vulnerability was only available when date range searching was activated. This is only supported the full, standalone version of Zoom, so it was not an issue in WebHelp generated with the version in Help+Manual.

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Premium Pack 4.1.0 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.1.0. This update introduces a large number of both minor and major improvements. The most extensive change is an overhaul of the embedded and field level help system for both regular WebHelp and WordPress sites to support multiple WebHelp collections and WebHelp collections on remote servers.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the download link and personal installation password you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these details please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 4 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

Code certificate updated

The code signing certificate used for the Premium Pack installer and Toolbox utility has just been updated. Because of this you may see a dialog asking you to confirm that you want to trust the publisher before installing. This is normal with “fresh” certificates until they have re-established their trust level.

Remote and multiple domains in embedded & field-level help and WordPress:

It is now possible to use embedded and field-level help from multiple WebHelp documentation systems on the same web page. In addition to this you can also embed WebHelp hosted on other web servers, not only on the same server as the HTML pages on which you are embedding and displaying the help. These new features are supported both in regular WebHelp and in the WordPress plugin.

See the updated Embedded and Field-Level Help chapter for full details.

V3 and V4 WebHelp Skins

  • Print Topic functionality: Improvement of topic printing in local no web server mode, both with the hamburger menu function and directly via the browser’s own print function.
  • Printing only first page: In some browsers only the first page of multi-page topics would be printed.
  • Print breadcrumbs: There is now an option to include the breadcrumb trail above the topic title when the user prints topics.
  • Inline toggle icons: Inline text toggles with icons are now also supported in these skins.
  • TOC autohide in mobile mode: When the TOC is folded over the topic content on mobile devices it now automatically slides out of view when a topic is selected. This new option is configurable.
  • Buttons as popup links: These are now supported.
  • Magazine skins: Calling context IDs via the URL didn’t work in the magazine skins because of a small internal error.
  • Magazine skins: TOC width was sometimes too narrow when opening/closing.
  • Flexible skins: The icon for page header open/close in the divider between the TOC and topic panes was hidden on the first load when the help was embedded.
  • Modern Standard skins:
    These skins have been generally overhauled and tidied up for better appearance and easier editing.

    • Maximum width setting: These skins now also have a HELP_MAXWIDTH setting for limiting the width of the help window in large browser windows.
    • iPad and iPhone behavior: The TOC pane could be narrower than the tabs above it on first access on some iPhone and iPad devices.
    • Swipe to change TOC pane width: Did not work on older iPad Mini devices.
    • General layout: A large number of minor tweaks and improvements to the layout in these skins.

V3 eWriter Skins

  • Title bar display in eViewer: You can now configure the title bar display in eViewer in the same way as in WebHelp. Options: Current topic title, current project name, current project name and current topic title.
    Print breadcrumbs: There is now an option to include the breadcrumb trail above the topic title when the user prints topics.
  • Inline toggle icons: Inline text toggles with icons are now also supported in these skins.
  • Buttons as popup links: These are now supported.

Toolbox Utility

  • Variables without names and unregistered baggage files: Toolbox now checks for the existence of variables without names and unregistered files in the baggage section and can correct this. (This can sometimes happen when the XML of your project file is generated programmatically or edited manually.)
  • Baggage files incorrectly shown as edited: Sometimes baggage file listings would be highlighted red as edited when this was not the case.
  • RTF build option removed: This option is no longer relevant in Help+Manual 7 and 8, which now generate Word DOCX by default.
  • Context and Edit menu updating: Sometimes the right-click context menu and Edit menu for Baggage files would not update correctly after adding a Baggage file to the current skin or project.
  • Baggage file handling: General handling of Baggage files improved, including better distinction of the differences between the processing of Baggage files in projects and skins when writing back to the project.

Help update

  • The Premium Pack help has been updated and extended with more detailed information for version 4.

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Premium Pack 4.0.3 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.0.3. This now includes the promised V4 Modern Standard set of skins, which are similar to Modern Flexible but with a more basic appearance and functionality. In addition to this it tidies up some color variables and style settings and corrects a couple of small issues reported by users.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

Skin Updates 

  • New skin category: The V4 Modern Standard skin category is now included. This is a simple, functional layout similar to Modern Flexible, but without width restriction (always full width), with simple drop-down user-configurable menus in the page header.
  • General: Minor corrections in color variables and layout.
  • Modern Compact skins: New settings in Skin Options to disable the logo and link buttons.
  • Flexible and Magazine skins: The MAX_PAGEWIDTH variable in the General Settings variables section now accepts both pixel (px) and percent (%) values for setting the maximum width of the help in the browser window.
  • Magazine skins: Improvement to drop-down menu behavior in phone mode (opening one submenu now closes any other submenu to save space, as in the other skins).
  • Flexible skins: Feature images did not move up with the page header in phone mode when hiding the page header, leaving a gap.
  • V3 eWriter skins: An error caused a delay on opening WebHelp, during which context calls to the skin would fail.
  • V3 eWriter skins: The Minimalist Standard skin included some double variable references that prevented saving changes.

Toolbox utility

  • New program icon
  • New language files for Dutch for V4 skins
  • Minor bug fixes

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Premium Pack 3.50 Maintenance Update

This update adds some significant improvements to Google Analytics configuration and handling to the V3 WebHelp skins. It also includes some other small improvements and fixes in the V3 WebHelp skins and the Toolbox utility.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

V3 WebHelp Skins 

  • Google Analytics updated from the older gat.js system to the new analytics.js system. This should be more reliable. In addition to this you can now configure inclusion of the WebHelp path, named trackers and the titles of the search and keyword index events in your Google Analytics console. See Google Analytics in the V3 WebHelp skins chapter.
  • No Server Mode: Demo links in the header menus failed in some browsers because they used the shorthand // protocol instead of http:// or https://. Browsers have become stricter about resolving links using the shorthand protocol reference since this feature was created.
  • No Server Mode: Anchor links in the TOC and keyword index failed as an unintended result of another change in recent updates.
  • Permalink tool: The “:” colon character for the port reference was included even when the port was the standard port 80 and was not referenced. This was also caused by a change in browser behavior.
  • Smartphone mode: Tables tagged with the phone CSS class were hidden in phone mode because of changes in HM HTML output for tables. This is related to CSS for the X-Tables function that was then applied to other tables.
  • X-Tables function: Expanding rows lacked borders in some X-Tables in phone mode. This was also related to changes in Help+Manual HTML output for tables.

Toolbox utility

  • Baggage Files — Add File: After adding a Baggage File the column headers of the Baggage Files list were sometimes updated incorrectly.
  • Baggage Files — Export File: On some systems the prompt to save the baggage file could appear multiple times when exporting a baggage file.

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Premium Pack 3.47 Maintenance Update

We are happy to announce the release of version 3.47 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on. This is a minor maintenance update. It includes fixes for the issues described below in the V3 skins and the Toolbox utility. All other skins remain unchanged.

How to Get the Premium Pack Update:

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

V3 WebHelp and eWriter Skins

  • Anchors with keywords: Selecting anchors with keywords in the keyword index caused a JavaScript error and did not open a toggle associated with the anchor. This was a side-effect of the Google Analytics query feature added in 3.46.
  • Non-server mode: The optional q=search+term addition to the URL for Google Analytics for search and keyword index clicks added in 3.46 is now automatically disabled when V3 WebHelp is accessed without a web server. This caused errors in non-server mode and cannot be used there anyway.
  • Non-server mode: In some cases the use of a file name other than index.html for the main WebHelp file caused errors when viewing V3 WebHelp without a web server. This has been corrected, but use of index.html is still strongly recommended.
  • Search highlighting: In some configurations search terms were not correctly highlighted in the found topic pages.
  • Popups: Popups can now also be closed with the ESC key.
  • Popups: The title font from the popup title bar is no longer applied to the entire popup (the main font from the project is used).
  • Popups: Automatic positioning and sizing of popups have been improved.
  • Port reference in permalinks: The port reference is now included in permalinks if the web server is not running on the standard port 80.

Toolbox Utility

  • Editing warnings: Additional checks and warnings have been implemented to help prevent simultaneous editing of skins and projects in Help+Manual and Toolbox.
  • Non-active options: The program would exit if the user tried to activate a non-active option without first setting a value for the option (e.g. in HTML Options or Project Options).
  • Add Build Option: The Add Build Option tool in the Edit menu was not active in projects that did not yet have any build options defined.
  • Delete user-defined variable: Deleting the last user-defined variable in a skin or project did not refresh the variables list and the deleted variable was still displayed.

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Premium Pack 3.46 Maintenance update

Version 3.46 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on is a general maintenance update including fixes for minor issues and some fine-tuning improvements.

How to Get the Premium Pack Update:

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

Toolbox utility

  • The Normalize Styles tool failed to identify some styles as paragraph styles and incorrectly reported that the style could not be found. The affected styles were styles based on other styles without explicit paragraph attributes of their own.
  • Some HM projects converted from Help+Manual 4 would cause Toolbox to crash and close when they were opened.
  • The Add/Remove Topic ID Prefixes function failed without completing on some projects with an unusual combination of settings.
  • The Rename Variable function didn’t update the display of the new variable name in some projects.

V3 WebHelp Skins

  • In the layout tables function the style name for identifying layout tables has been changed from layout-table to layout_table. This was necessary because you need to define a project style for this and Help+Manual no longer permits the definition of style names with dashes in the project stylesheet. Old projects using the hyphenated style name will still work; you just can’t create new styles with hyphens. The tap images function is not affected because the style for that does not need to be defined in Help+Manual.
  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • User-defined menus in the page header would sometimes extend beyond the edge of the page.
  • If you are using Google Analytics, topic pages opened from search results or the keyword index will now include the search text or index keyword in the tracking reference. For example, if the user searched for red widgets or used the red widgets index keyword and clicked on the Introduction topic the tracking reference will be introduction.html?q=red+widgets (?q= is the standard reference for search terms in GA). You can turn this off with the new URL_QTRACKER configuration variable.
  • If you are using a non-standard port (anything except port 80) for your web server the permalink function will now include the port reference in the permalink to prevent the URL from being invalid.

V3 eWriter Skins

  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • User-defined menus in the page header would sometimes extend beyond the edge of the page.

V2 Webhelp/eWriter skins

  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • The Open topic in a new tab function displayed an incorrect message that the topic is already open in a new tab on some touchscreen Windows devices (MS Surface and similar).

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HelpXplain Animated Infographics Beta Program

Try out HelpXplain now by joining the beta program

HelpXplain is an exciting new program from EC Software that takes the pain out of making HowTo tutorials and other animated infographics for the web. You can see some examples and join the beta program here:

http://helpxplain.com/

HelpXplain takes the pain out of making HowTo tutorials

HelpXplain can make a whole range of different web-based infographics, but for documentation authors its ability to make animated HowTo tutorials is nothing short of revolutionary. Instead of trying to get every step of a “performance” right you just make a series of screenshots that the program then links together in an editable screencast with an animated, editable mouse cursor. Let me put what this means this into perspective from the point of view of a documentation author.

From typewriter to word processor

I’ve been working with HelpXplain for a while now while writing the help for it. For me as a help author there is one aspect of it that stands out from all the others. It reminds me of the huge aha experience I had the very first time I saw a word processor. The one thought I had was: “I am never going to have to retype anything ever again.” That was huge. For writers of all kinds, it is still 99.9% percent of the benefit of using a word processor instead of a typewriter. Everything else that modern writing tools do is nice to have, but all those additional functions are still nothing compared to the ability to edit and change your text without retyping everything.

From video screencasts to HelpXplain

HelpXplain is the first time that I have had a similar experience as a documentation author. It is really comparable. Like everyone else, I experimented with using video screencast tools like Camtasia and Captivate. Like everyone else outside of very large, very rich companies, I abandoned them very quickly. They only make sense if you have a huge amount of time to work on little video tutorials, and if someone is willing to pay you a reasonable hourly rate for that time. Both of those things are simply unrealistic expectations for most technical writers working in today’s market. It just doesn’t happen. You’re not going to have that much time to work on a tutorial, and even if you do nobody is going to pay you for it.

Video: When you had to do it just right

But that’s not the only problem with video screencast tools: They are very stressful and thus unpleasant to work with, because you have to get everything right. If you make a mistake while making the video you have to start again. And again. And again. And again. And if you ever need to add something you have to remake the entire screencast. Again. I found this so unpleasant that I would do pretty much anything to avoid having to make video tutorials even if I did have the time and reasonable payment for them. To be honest, I would probably even pay to not have to make them.

HelpXplain: Work at your own speed, correct later at leisure

That is why HelpXplain is such a revelation for me, personally, quite separate from the fact that this is an EC Software product. Once you get the hang of it, making little HowTo tutorials is literally as easy as making a series of screenshots — which is what we are doing anyway. And it is completely stress-free: I don’t have to get my timing right and I don’t have to worry about needing to set up everything right. Between screenshots I can take my time to make any changes I want in the program. And not only that: If I ever need to change or add something I can do that at any time, without having to redo the whole thing.


HelpXplain New Dialog

There is no doubt that making tutorials with HelpXplain is radically faster and more pleasant than struggling with a video screencast tool. In fact, for myself, I could say that it is infinitely faster, because with HelpXplain I am actually making the tutorials, whereas with video screencast tools I wouldn’t be making them at all. Not in the real world.

HelpXplain can do a lot more. But if you’re a documentation author, taking the pain out of making HowTo tutorials for documentation simply makes it a must-have.

Tim Green

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Premium Pack 3.45 Update

Version 3.45 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on adds a new set of V3 WebHelp and EWriter skins using the popular Samurai Red color theme and corrects some minor issues.

How to Get the Premium Pack Update:

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

New Samurai Red Skins

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The Samurai Red color scheme in the older V2 skins was so popular that many users have asked to have a version of it in the new V3 skins. We have now complied and provided a total of six new V3 Samurai Red skins, with Boxed, Flat and Minimalist versions for both WebHelp and EWriter. Matching tablet and phone modes are included in all three WebHelp skin variants, of course.

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Changes and Fixes

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  • V3 skins: The social sharing option did not always disable in phone mode when it was turned off.
  • V3 skins: A change in the Safari browser on Mac computers prevented V3 WebHelp from working correctly in local mode without a web server.
  • V3 skins: If the topic title contained an ampersand character (&) it was displayed as & in the browser tab title.
  • V3 skins: In embedded/field-level topics and popups a dummy page title text was sometimes visible briefly on slower servers.
  • V2 skins: Web links to secure pages (https) did not automatically open in a new tab when this was configured. This now works correctly for links starting with http://, https:// and //.
  • V2 skins: If the topic title contained an ampersand character (&) it was displayed as & in the tooltip for the internal topic tabs in the page.

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More information

See the Premium Pack information page for general details and purchase information and the Premium Pack web-based documentation for full instructions.

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