To access the script editor, click Script Editor on HelpNDoc’s Tools ribbon tab. This opens the ‘Script authoring and execution’ window. You have two options:
Enter a new script manually, or Load an existing script by clicking Load Script in the upper left-hand corner of the window to import the script. HelpNDoc’ API offers a variety of functions and procedures to help you automate tasks.
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greatly simplifies the maintenance of documentation projects for technical authors: topics can be tagged as being “Out of Date”, “In Progress”, “Needs Review”, “Complete” or any custom status you define.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.
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.
Writing an online help file, a user manual, an eBook or any other format handled by HelpNDoc is usually lengthy ongoing and non-linear process. Oftentimes, as the content evolves, the overall topic hierarchy can become sub-optimal and a re-organization is required in order to make the documentation easier to read and navigate. Even though HelpNDoc provides tools to easily re-organize the table of contents, in some cases the process can be lengthy and error-prone, such as when an alphabetical sorting of topics is required.
HelpNDoc includes a very powerful script editor with access to multiple API methods which provides a way to automate almost all parts of your documentation creation and maintenance process. We’ve already seen how to use HelpNDoc’s scripting capabilities to automate help and documentation creation, update the path of your external media elements when they are moved and export Help IDs and Help Context numbers for your developers.
Let’s now see how we can create a handy script to automatically reset help context numbers for all topics in the documentation project.
You can choose how your library items (pictures, movies, documents…) are handled by HelpNDoc: they can be included within your project, or they can be dynamically included at generation time, when you choose to build your final documentation files. Using the second option, you provide a path for your media items so that HelpNDoc can find and include them when needed. This is very useful to be able to handle those items from outside of HelpNDoc, share them with a third party software…
Once you’ve written your help file or documentation web-site, you’d usually like to be able to integrate it with your existing products: when users are having difficulties performing an action, they should be able to launch the help file and be presented with the correct associated topic explaining that specific action. For that purpose, Help Authoring Tools such as HelpNDoc provide two unique identifiers for each topic: an alpha-numeric Help ID and a numeric Help Context number.
HelpNDoc is so easy to use that a complete multi-format and multi-device documentation can be produced in just a few minutes after downloading and trying HelpNDoc for the first time thanks to its intuitive user interface and Microsoft Word-like topic editor. It is also extremely powerful and provides many advanced tools to simplify and speed-up the creation of amazing help files and manuals. One of those advanced feature is the script editor which lets you manipulate HelpNDoc through a scripting language.