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Issue 1.2


Postmortem: UniHelp

REALbasic Module (Classic/Carbon/Win32)

Issue: 1.2 (October/November 2002)
Author: Dave Wooldridge
Author Bio: Dave Wooldridge is the founder of Electric Butterfly (http://www.ebutterfly.com), a Los Angeles web design and software development company, responsible for such REALbasic-made products as Stimulus, Lighthouse, and the forthcoming CodeQuiver.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 16,499
Starting Page Number: 11
Article Number: 1108
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Excerpt of article text...

Electric Butterfly has built several shareware and freeware applications in REALbasic, most of which are consumer-oriented products; UniHelp was our first venture into commercial developer tools for REALbasic. The first version of UniHelp was finished in approximately two months, and since then we've released several updates with new features and refinements.

What is UniHelp?

In a nutshell, UniHelp is a module that adds a complete cross-platform help system to your REALbasic project. When compiling an application for several platforms such as Classic Mac, Mac OS X, and the various versions of Microsoft Windows, creating online help for your application can be quite laborious. Building Apple Help for your OS 9 and OS X users, and then Microsoft HTML Help or WinHelp for your Windows users, can consume a lot more time and effort than you are willing (or even able) to spend when rushing to release a new software product.

This is where UniHelp comes to the rescue. No additional plug-ins or classes are needed. Just drag the UniHelp module and its graphics folder into your REALbasic project, add a few lines of code, create your external help pages, and that's it - instant online help for your compiled REALbasic applications that look and function the same on Classic Mac, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows 98/NT/ME/2000/XP.

And the beautiful part is that UniHelp supports most (if not all) of the features you usually depend upon in supplying quality help pages to your customers, such as HTML parsing/rendering, URL links, relative links, anchor links, images, multimedia, custom table of contents, navigational toolbars, a built-in search engine, and more.

It sounds good on paper and yet, oddly enough, the biggest challenges were not in the development (although there were plenty of those), but in explaining to REALbasic developers how investing only $49.00 in the royalty-free UniHelp module could save them hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in precious development time.

...End of Excerpt. Please purchase the magazine to read the full article.