Help+Manual News

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HelpXplain 1.4 Released

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve released an updated version of HelpXplain. If your maintenance plan for HelpXplain includes the release date (Oct 29, 2020), this is a free update. The quickest way to find out, is to start HelpXplain and click Help > Check for Update.

HelpXplain 1.4

Version 1.4 comes with 2 new features important for social media sharing. It introduces a setting for custom meta tags. Some users have requested we should add additional social media meta tags (such as a Facebook App_Id). The new meta option enables this and a lot more.

HelpXplain Custom Meta Tags

The second new feature is in the Publish dialog: an option to mask the viewport of the Xplain. When an Xplain is embedded in another HTML page, the host page normally restricts the viewport so that the view matches the aspect ratio of the Xplain.

Social media sharing, however, often include direct backlinks to the Xplain HTML page directly. In this case, the Xplain runs in a new window or tab of the browser and the window size hardly ever reflects the aspect ratio of the presentation. As a result, some of the slides might become prematurely visible. The mask viewport option blacks out the browser window area which does not belong to the viewport.

HelpXplain mask Viewport

The difference between masked and unmasked viewport explained:

 

Other changes and bug fixes in version 1.4:

  • The Publish dialog has an option to specify the maximum image size. If you use a lot of high-resolution images, reducing the size will significantly reduce the loading time of the Xplain on the web.
  • HTML Editor: some glitches fixed, right-click menu implemented, shapes and callouts with text now automatically introduce a left and right margin.
  • Recent files list: extended right-click menu has “Clear all” option
  • Save translation file in .xliff format: the save function did not test for source-language compatibility, this has been added.
  • Slide option “Stop Autoplay” did not work, if the slide contained an exit animation.
  • Improvements in Powerpoint import
  • Preview for skin customization: optical glitches fixed

 

Download

This update is included in your maintenance plan! Please download the update and install it over your existing version.

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Fraudulent charges by the name of helpandmanual”S”.com

We have received several complaints between July 11th and today from people who have been charged (on their bank account or their credit card) in the name of “helpandmanuals.com“. (Note the “s” at the end of the domain name, which is different from our domain, which is “helpandmanual.com“). Does this apply in your case? Read the rest of this entry »

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Premium Pack 4.0.4 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.0.4. This update contains a large number of basically cosmetic updates. There is no urgency to install it if everything is already working OK for you. Just read through the descriptions and decide for yourself if and when you want to update.

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.

Help update

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

Skin changes and fixes:

  • Image toggle close mode (V3 & V4 skins): You can now choose whether image toggles close on a click inside or outside the image. This is set with the new IMGTOGGLE_CLOSEMODE variable in the General Settings variable group in the V3 and V4 skins.
  • Image toggle closing: Image toggles will now also close on the ESC key in desktop mode and on tablets with hardware keyboards.
  • Image toggle closing on smartphones: Image toggles closed too slowly in smartphone browsers.
  • Image toggle clickable area: In some skins clicking to the right of some image toggles would also trigger the toggle. This has been corrected.
  • Image toggle positioning: In some skins image toggles with captions would position at the top of the browser window when expanded. In the Advanced Compact and Advanced TOC skins image toggles could be positioned incorrectly when fully expanded in mobile browser mode.
  • Google Analytics: When the path was included in topic references the slash between the last folder and the topic name was sometimes missing. Two slashes instead of one were sometimes shown at the beginning of the path. This was dependent on the configured settings and the number of path levels.
  • Google Analytics: Search terms entered by the user were not tracked in the V4 Advanced Compact and V4 Advanced Full TOC skins.
  • Index keywords containing special characters: Clicks on index keywords containing special characters like slashes (/) failed in some skins.
  • Social sharing in V2 WebHelp skins: The social sharing popup in the still very popular V2 WebHelp skins has been updated to the latest version used in the V3 and V4 skins. The social sharing now uses scalable SVG icons and simple hyperlinks instead of the widgets that had to be loaded with every page. This means that the social sites now only get a ping when the user actually uses the icons.
  • V2 WebHelp skins language files: The English, French, Dutch and German language files for these skins have been updated with the variable changes for social sharing.
  • Video lightbox: Videos configured to open in a lightbox played inline with the V4 Advanced Compact and V4 Advanced Full TOC skins. Videos playing in a lightbox now close when the user presses the ESC key.
  • Topic top margin setting: All V3 and V4 skins now include a TOPIC_TOPMARGIN variable with which you can adjust the margin between the top of your topics and the top of the topic window. This variable is in the Main Layout variables group in the V3 WebHelp and eWriter skins and in the General Layout variables group in the V4 skins.
  • Closing videos in V2 WebHelp and CHM skins: Videos are now effectively closed automatically when stopped without having to reload the current page, even if they are in popups or toggles. The POP_KILLVIDEO option is now on by default and does not need to be turned off.
  • Keyword index search highlights: In some V4 skins the highlight of keywords found with Search in the keyword index was not displayed. This is now set to a dashed underline in the same color as the index keyword text. This is not configurable directly, but you can change it by editing the .idxhilite class definition in the hmwebhelp_index_xxxx.css files in the skin baggage.
  • Search highlight colors in V3 skins: The options for configuring search highlighting colors in the older V3 WebHelp and eWriter skins are not color options because they use a combined setting for text and background colors. This has been made clearer by defining these settings as Layout options. See the Configuring for Use > Other Settings section in the V3 WebHelp and V3 eWriter chapters.
  • Topic and web link hotspots in CHM: Links to topics and web pages in image hotspots now function more reliably in the CHM skins.

Toolbox Utility

  • Changing filter: When you change a variables filter (Colors, Layout Settings etc.) in Toolbox the currently selected variables group is now redisplayed automatically with the filter if the group contains variables of the selected type. Otherwise the first available group is displayed. In previous versions this always switched to the first available group.
  • HM version: Projects created with HM 7 or 8 are now both identified as 7/8 in the Project Information. This is necessary because there is no identifying difference between the versions in the XML headers of version 7 and version 8 projects.
  • Baggage files: The names of Baggage files added to skins or projects by the user are now checked for strict HTML compatibility. Filenames must use only the standard ASCII characters a..zA..Z0..9_, and $, no spaces.
  • Projects with missing TOC: If the TOC of a HM project is completely missing Toolbox now reports this explicitly instead of just saying that the TOC is invalid.

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Deploying eWriter for Software Documentation

Publish eWriter eBooks with Help+Manual

If you are using eWriter books as documentation for your software you will want to open specific topics in the help from your application. To do that you need to be able to reference the viewer directly, so it is best to install it along with your software. You can’t be sure that the user will have it or where it will be otherwise. You also need to consider the following issues:

  • You should always make your help calls explicitly to the version of the viewer that you have installed.
  • You are allowed to and should redistribute the viewer application with your own software.

Read on to learn how to get this set up and working optimally.

Step 1: Get the eViewer.exe executable from the Help+Manual program directory

The current version of eViewer.exe is always included in the Help+Manual program directory. You just need to include it in your own installation. It doesn’t require any special installation or registry keys. It will actually run fine from a USB stick. If you wish you can rename the viewer file and re-sign it with your own certificate so that it matches the rest of your software. That is entirely up to you and we don’t have a problem with it.

Don’t register the .ewriter extension

We also recommend that you do not register the .ewriter extension as part of your installation. Instead, always make your calls explicitly to your installed eViewer.exe and your own help files. This guarantees that you are using the same viewer that was up to date when you generated your help. However, you will also want your users to be able to open your help files themselves by double-clicking on them. So read on to learn how to do that.

Consider using a different extension for your own help files

It is also fine and actually a good idea to change the extension of your help files to anything you like. If you do this, you can register your own custom extension to your installed version of the eViewer application so that your users can open your help files themselves by double-clicking on them.

Then you don’t get any conflicts if the user gets .ewriter files from somewhere else. If they open .ewriter files on Windows 10 they will get the Windows Store version of eViewer automatically (and that extension is required for the Store viewer), and then you don’t have any conflicts: The .ewriter extension is always used for the Store version and your application always opens your help files with your installed version of the viewer.

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eWriter Creator Update

The free eWriter eBook compiler got a small maintenance update. This update does not introduce new features, but improves the readability for high contrast seetings.

Download the update:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/ewriter/

eWriter with high contrast settings

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Starts this Friday, ends next Monday!

https://www.helpandmanual.com/order

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Premium Pack 3.48 Maintenance Update

We have just released a very minor update of the Premium Pack with the following small improvements and fixes. You only need to update your skins if any of the following things are important to you.

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 Skins (WebHelp and eWriter versions)

  • Tooltips in ATOC menu: The ATOC_TIP variable was not set to HTML and as a result the   entity was displayed as code in the tooltips instead of as a space.
  • Disabling the ATOC: The ATOC_SHOW variable for disabling the ATOC was not connected and had no effect. This was never noticed because the ATOC menu is automatically hidden if there are no corresponding links in the current topic.
  • Top navigation button: In some configurations clicking or tapping on the Top topic navigation button would not jump to the correct higher-level topic.

CHM skins

  • Topic header components: Improved scaling on modern. high-resolution monitors and Windows devices.
  • Drop-down menu components: Improved scaling on modern. high-resolution monitors and Windows devices.
  • Topic header title text color: New variable (HD_TEXTCOLOR in the Header Components group) setting the topic header title color in the skin. This eliminates the need to set the color correctly in the Help+Manual  project.

Toolbox utility

  • Close project warning: If you open a new project or skin while one is already open a warning is now only displayed if the current project contains unsaved edits. This makes switching to a new project or skin faster.

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HelpXplain on BitsDuJour

HelpXplain will be featured on www.BitsDuJour.com as product of the day on July 9 and 10, 2019. Save the date!

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Premium Pack 3.44 Maintenance Update

Version 3.44 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on is a maintenance update. It adds a couple of minor new features and corrects some 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.

Changes and Fixes

[showhide type=”updated” more_text=”Click for details” less_text=”Click to hide”]

  • Search highlighting for external Zoom search pages (V3 WebHelp skins and V2 WebHelp skins)
    If you have an external Zoom search page for multiple WebHelp collections or your entire website, search result links to V3 and V2 WebHelp will now also correctly highlight the search terms in the topic page when it is linked to from your search page. In V2 this works both when accessing the topic directly (topic.htm) and with the full syntax (index.html?topic.htm) and also when switching back from the topic-only display to the full WebHelp user interface.
  • Support for opening WebHelp with the TOC closed on mobile devices (V3 WebHelp skins)
    You can now configure your V3 WebHelp skin to open with the TOC initially closed on phones and tablets if the display is narrow enough to force the topic to fill the entire screen width. This is now on by default as it may also slightly improve search engine rankings since the content is not initially covered (unconfirmed, but worth a try). You can configure this with the new MOBILE_TOCAUTOHIDE variable in the TOC, Index and Search variables group.
  • Full version of ZOOM: Support for WebHelp topics in recommended links (V3 and V2 WebHelp skins)
    If you use the full version of the Wrensoft Zoom web search indexer with V3 WebHelp skins or V2 WebHelp skins you can now also enter links to topics in your WebHelp in the Recommended Links feature of Zoom. Previously, this only worked with external web pages.
  • Breadcrumb navigation: incorrect “No TOC entry for this topic” display (all V3 skins)
    In some situations links and TOC entries referring to an anchor caused the breadcrumb navigation incorrectly to display the “No TOC entry for this topic” message instead of the correct topic reference.
  • Text not assigned to variable in keyword index script (V3 skins)
    The text of the IDXTEXT_CLICKTIP variable (“Select sub-keywords of this entry to see references to“) was not updated in the skin when you changed it.
  • Incorrect iOS version warning message (V2 iPad skin)
    The script in the V2 iPad skin incorrectly identified iOS 11 as an outdated version and displayed a warning the first time it was opened.

[/showhide]

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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New Rescue Copy Feature in Help+Manual 7.3

In Help+Manual 7.3 we have removed the feature Rescue Copy from the Save menu. Instead, the feature is now implicitely integrated in the Save-As command. If you ever wondered what the Rescue Copy actually did, this topic is for you.

What the Rescue Copy did, was to create a new empty project that contained only the changes you made since you hit “Save” the last time. The idea was to save pending changes somewhere if Help+Manual could not save them to the original project.

Imagine you are running Help+Manual on your computer and open a help project from a remote file server. The server is connected through VPN and the connection depends on your Internet connection. The Internet connection breaks at some time, but you don’t notice because you are busy making changes to the project. Just when you hit “Save”… ooops! Can’t do it, Sir.

If the connection to the server is broken, Help+Manual cannot save the project to the original location. If you try, you get an error message.

(A bit of panik sets in…)

But Help+Manual suggests to save the project locally instead, using the Save-As command. Excellent idea, you say to yourself and hit Save-As…

The problem is: a “Save-As” normally creates a full copy of the original project, just saved locally. The entire content of the original project is duplicated in this case, including those topic files (on the file server) that have not been even loaded yet, because you did neither view nor change them. To do a complete Save-As, Help+Manual must load those yet-not-loaded files from the server to save them locally to the new project. Which, of course, fails if the server connection is broken, resulting in a second error message, that Save-As could not be completed.

(Tense panic now…)

At this point, it was time for the Rescue Copy. If nothing else works, the Rescue Copy would save the pending changes to a new help project to store them for later, when the connection to the server would be reestablished.

Would you have ever thought of this feature in Help+Manual, when in panic? Probably not. And this is exactly, why we removed the Rescue Copy feature. We implicitly implemented it in Save-As instead.

With Help+Manual 7.3, when the original Save operation cannot complete, because a server connection is broken, you can always use Save-As. Help+Manual will try to create a complete copy of the original project with Save-As.

If a complete copy is not possible (connection broken, remember!), it will save just the changes you made in the meantime and will report, what it could save and what it couldn’t. It is now a transparent save operation, that will work in any case and at the very least rescue all your recent work on the project.

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