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Issue 1.5


RB Help Writer

Issue: 1.5 (April/May 2003)
Author: Michael Richardson
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,620
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 1505
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

Just about every REALbasic developer, at one point or another, develops an application large enough to merit a help system. While Apple does provide a system-wide help system, it is generally difficult to implement into a REALbasic application, and doesn't integrate well. The other option, of course, is to build your own help system, but that takes time which could be better spent working on other parts of your program. RB Help Writer promises to assist you in creating a simple help system which you can use in your REALbasic project.

I downloaded RB Help Writer and unstuffed the archive and was met with two files: The REALbasic project for RB Help Writer and a Carbon build of the program. Unfortunately, the included application was compiled with a very old version of REALbasic, and on Mac OS X does not use anti-aliasing. It would have been better to omit the compiled program to decrease the download time and allow the user to compile the program with the latest version of REALbasic. While the program, no matter how it's compiled, functions fine, I found it somewhat difficult to learn how it worked until I found the built-in help, which was under the Apple menu for some reason. You type your code, which is similar to but not exactly HTML, into the "document" window. In another window, your code is displayed in real-time in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). This was nice, but I would have preferred something more like a word processor: just one window where you select styles and enter your help that way, and then it outputs the proper code.

Once you are done coding you can save your code to a file which can then be opened later by RB Help Writer, or opened by your REALbasic program to be displayed by the HyperLinkField class, which is inside of the included REALbasic project. Unfortunately, when I tried to run the project it did not recognize a method. That is because it requires the "Theo's String Stuff" plugin. This was not indicated anywhere on the ElfData website or in the program's help. However, once you install the plugin, which supports all REALbasic targets, the project runs fine.

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