Technical writers can use a special robots.txt file or define robots meta tags in their HTML documentation to specify how popular search engines, such as Google or Bing, should index and serve individual pages in search results. In this article, we will see how we can update the default HTML template provided by the HelpNDoc help authoring tool to generate a robots.txt file, specify a project-wide default value for the robots meta tag, and override its content on specific documentation pages.
HelpNDoc’s stunning user interface has been carefully designed to be as clean and easy to use as possible. It presents the minimum needed to be as fast and effective as possible in writing and producing help files, user manuals and eBooks; Yet it provides advanced features for power users such as the ability to move, resize and place panels wherever you like. Let’s see how this can be achieved in this article.
Creating the most complete, comprehensive and up-to-date documentation is the number one priority of technical writers. But readers expect a clean and modern design and companies oftentimes need to integrate documentation web-sites with their existing material, thus mimicking a predefined look-and-feel. Thankfully, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool lets you rapidly add a logo or custom CSS code for quick customization, or even create a completely new template to fully customize your deliverables.
Technical writers need to frequently build their documentation, user manual or help web-sites to be able to share them with team members or deliver them to end-users. This can be a time consuming process which require care and attention to make sure that the correct version is periodically built. Fortunately, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool can be automated to perform scheduled documentation generation. Let’s see how this can be done.
Technical writers rely on hyperlinks to organize and reference multiple parts of their printed user manuals, eBooks or help files. Making sure hyperlinks are up to date is very important as broken hyperlinks can disrupt the learning flow of the end-user, who might be overwhelmed as she couldn’t find the information needed: this can lead to increased support costs if a support ticket is opened. Thankfully, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool includes a straightforward hyperlink analyzer to help technical writers quickly spot and fix problematic hyperlinks.
The recent release of HelpNDoc 6.4 includes an enhanced single page HTML template with the ability to optionally add a table of contents to the produced single page HTML documentation. We obviously used HelpNDoc’s powerful template editor to modify the single page template and we thought it might be a good idea to document this process for learning purposes. Follow the steps described in this article to learn how you can create and alter HTML-based documentation templates using HelpNDoc’s build-in tools.
HelpNDoc 6.0 added support for topic status, which greatly simplifies the maintenance of documentation projects for technical authors: topics can be tagged as being “Out of Date”, “In Progress”, “Needs Review”, “Complete” or any custom status you define. You might be tempted to leverage that feature to update an old project and change the status of all your topics to “Needs Review” to start reviewing them one by one. But individually updating every topic in a big project will be time consuming.
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Clarity and brevity is the hallmark of technical writing.
HelpNDoc includes a very powerful template processor where you can customize any part of the generated documentation. Most of the time, you’ll use the default template of the documentation format you’d like to customize as a starting point. But when a new version of HelpNDoc is released, the default template might have evolved with new features and fixes, and you might want to include those changes in your custom templates. The solution is to compare and merge the updated default template with your own one.
A standard help authoring tool such as HelpNDoc is a software where you generally write and organize content in order to produce documentation files for the end-user. As revisions are needed, the content needs to stay organized, and it usually involves a lot of laborious and error-prone tasks such as copying / pasting content all over the project, deleting content, moving and merging topics… Fortunately, HelpNDoc includes a powerful scripting processor which can help automate documentation creation, maintenance, reorganization… Let’s see how we can leverage HelpNDoc’s scripting capabilities to merge multiple children topics into a parent topic.