February 11, 2002

QuickHelp - Linux application help

Author: JT Smith

Excel Software writes: "Excel Software today announced the availability of QuickHelp for Linux. QuickHelp is a development tool for quickly creating and distributing online help for Linux applications. Help information for Linux has traditionally been delivered as ReadMe files, man pages or a loose collection of html files. These approaches are awkward and inadequate for new GUI programs arriving on Linux as it moves to the desktop in more organizations. QuickHelp brings professional online help to Linux KDE and GNOME desktops.QuickHelp consists of a QuickHelp Builder for creating help systems and a QuickHelp Viewer for deploying them to end-users. The help information resides in a single XML file distributed with the QuickHelp Viewer.

For the end-user, QuickHelp supports a table of contents, an index with automatic search field, word searches across topics, color highlighted topic text with hypertext links and context sensitive help from applications. QuickHelp presents a window with a Contents and Index tab. The Contents panel shows a table of contents and the selected topic. Users can expand or collapse topics in the Contents tree or click items to view help topics. The Index panel shows an index word list and the selected topic. Each word has a list of related topics that can be viewed. Type in the Search field to quickly locate a topic or use the Find dialog to locate all topics containing specific text. The forward and backward buttons navigate through recently viewed topics.

For the developer, QuickHelp provides a highly productive editing environment to create, verify and maintain application help. The QuickHelp Builder has the same Contents and Index panels as the QuickHelp Viewer but adds the Edit and General panels for editing the help file. The Edit panel is used to add, edit, delete or move topics within the Contents tree. It contains fields for defining index words or context sensitive identifier strings that link topics to application menus and dialogs for context sensitive help. The General panel contains buttons for saving, opening, closing, verifying or importing help topics or listing help topics to a text file.

The QuickHelp Builder handles administrative activities like maintaining links between topics, reordering topics and locating bad links or missing indexes. Its intuitive design enables a developer to productively begin help building in minutes. At any time, the developer can see or use the same working help system that the end-user will see by simply clicking the Contents or Index tab.

QuickHelp Linux is $295 and includes the QuickHelp Builder, a license to freely distribute the QuickHelp Viewer and interface glue code for Kylix (Borland's IDE for Linux) applications. Site licensing information, product descriptions and online ordering are available at www.excelsoftware.com. Excel Software has over 15 years of experience in providing tools to thousands of Macintosh, Windows and Linux developers in over 30 countries.

Excel Software

Ph: (505) 771-3719
Fax: (505) 771-3718
Web: http://www.excelsoftware.com

Email: info@excelsoftware.com"

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