HelpWrite HelpWrite Professional 5.0, first released in January 1999 is jam packed with features and power. It makes creating help files as easy as possible, and contains many features for adding pizzazz to them, through the use of internal macro systems, plus the ability to use WinHelp's macros. Support for multimedia, contents files, mini compiler, styles and stylesheets and much more! By Ariad
So what is new in this version? Well, if I was to list everything that was new from the original HelpWrite version 1 back in 1996, I would probably be sitting here 10 years from now tapping away. Even from version 4.5, the list of new features is huge. However, I will attempt to get everything listed here...
For the first time in any Ariad application, HelpWrite contains a full spell checker and thesaurus.
You can now define and use secondary windows in your help projects. Each window can have a customisable position, caption and colours.
HelpWrite now uses a central database, which stores all of the user options, such as topic templates, HelpWrite macros, WinHelp macros and colour and window definitions. This allows for more efficient editing and reading of these options.
The internal projects system has been redesigned. Projects can have their own individual titles, properties and more. A brand new Projects toolpanel has been created, which is displayed similar to a toolbar, allowing you quick access to all the documents in each open project, and access to several of HelpWrite's function windows as well.
Also, projects now support individual command options, such as the ability to break compilation into two stages, whereas this was a global setting with version 4.
HelpWrite Professional now supports all options available in the Help Compiler project file, including the Config, Map, Alias and Baggage sections, and the Citation command, except for the MULTIKEY option.
HelpWrite 5 can import your colour, window and macro dictionaries from version 4 into the version 5 database.
In the same way, version 4 projects can be imported to version 5 format.
Documents now have their own individual titles, and can specify various display settings such whether or not to display a horizontal scrollbar on all document windows, and also define the font and colour settings. All these settings are saved in the documents, so they will look the same when you open them again, no matter what HelpWrite's defaults are set to.
The internal macro system has once again been redesigned. Macros are now stored in the central database, solving small problems which existed in version 4, and adding to the power of the macro system. As well as this, a list of Windows Help and HPJ Config macros are also stored in the database, from where you can easily add, edit or remove them. All macros used by HelpWrite can contain variables from the new variable system.
The macro system also supports the new Endosys® Query statement, allowing you to run macros containing dialogs of parameters, which are very useful.
Version 5 will import and export version 4 projects, and can also import and export Ariad InfoBook version 2.0 online help system files. The image converter can export many file formats into bitmaps.
Tools and Utilities
Additional tools have also been carefully designed and selected for use with HelpWrite, including new and updated versions of Icon to Bitmap Converter, RGB Colour Generator and Media Browser. New tools have been written, such as Ariad Gallery and the Help Decompiler.
Drag and Drop
Many of the dialogs using filenames support Drag and Drop, so you can drag files from File Manager or Windows Explorer and automatically fill in file fields.
A new floating toolbox has been added, as well as Project and Macro panelbars. All toolbars, panels and floating windows can be shown or hidden as required, and the fixed bars can also be aligned in different positions, which are remembered from session to session. There is also a file browser which allows documents to be opened, or files included or referenced in your documents, all via drag and drop. The actual buttons on the toolbars now use the Office 97 look and feel, but this can be reset to use the standard look if required.
The core part of HelpWrite, the compile routines have been rewritten and optimised, with good error trapping and advanced option support. The RTFGen program has been modified so that it is now faster than ever before! The Manual Compile window feature in version 4 is present in a highly advanced form, although it is really not necessary in this version due to the new features.
The Compiler Output window has been redesigned, as has the entire system for keeping track of compiler output documents. Naturally, it's better and more powerful than the previous system.
The Mini Compiler which made it's first appearence in version 3, but was never included in 4 has reappeared, allowing you compile small portions on your help file, without having to wait while an entire help file is compiled.
HelpWrite has support for the playing of Wave, MIDI Sequencer and AVI Video files using internal Windows macro's. Various options and flags are supported for each media type.
It also has it's own Media Player allowing you to preview these files as easy as pressing a button, as well as supporting drag and drop.
You can use standard borders within your help files.
The Document map featured in version 3 and upwards of HelpWrite was OK, but it only displayed information for the current document. The new Project Map displays all topics and popup windows for every single document in your project, and displays a list of images and other referenced files for each topic. You can also printout the map, or jump to any topic displayed.
Plus, both the Project and Document maps use a new method of scanning documents, so they work a much faster than before!
There is now an inbuilt table editor allowing basic tables to be easily included in your help files. Individual table cells can contain formatting, images and more.
When opening and saving files, you can choose between the standard file dialog, modelled in the Windows 3 style, or a new enhanced dialog based on the Windows 95 counterpart which allows more files to be listed, images to associate with file types and basic file management options.
The HelpWrite environment has been vastly improved, with many more customisation options and time saving features than earlier versions.
Several sample files have been included, with each one dealing with a specific topic, such as Context-Sensitive help, using Multimedia and more. Each sample includes full HelpWrite source and are more informative than the ones featured in version 4.
The Wizards included in HelpWrite 4.5 are also in 5.0, along with new Wizards for executing complex tasks or functions.
File and Path Fields
You can now type directly into filename and path fields, instead of having to use a browse button each time.
Ariad Development Library
HelpWrite Professional supports all of the Endosys® configuration parameters which can be set using the Ariad Configuration Utility.
Max Map Length
This parameter, required in earlier versions of HelpWrite for both the Document Map, and Topic Lists, is no longer necessary.
You can now customise all the tools displayed on the tools menu and on the toolbox. Defined tools can use internal variables in most fields. Among the options you can customise are menu title, toolbar image, filename, startup directory, startup mode, command parameters and more.
The image browser featured in version 4.0, and removed from 4.5 has been redesigned and rewritten. Instead of being a modal dialog, requiring you to close the window before working on your projects, it is now a floating window similar to the toolbox. It also contains more functionality and supports more image formats than any previous versions. Image Browser will remember where you left it and it's visible property from session to session.
The online help system has been redesigned, to provide information clearly and in more detail. Additional HelpWrite samples containing demonstration tasks have also been written.
When you use the formatting codes options on selected text, HelpWrite is now more intelligent in the way the codes are inserted. For example, carriage returns are correctly detected and acted upon, plus the end of paragraph code is recognised.
With the new project toolpanel, navigating between documents in your project, and topics in each document is easier than ever. Plus, new functions on the Edit menu mean that jumping to the start or end of a topic, or selecting a single topic, is as easy as the click of a button.
New features for converting text to comments, or enclosing text with selected delimiters has been added.
Import and Export
As well as an advanced import and export section, HelpWrite also features the Copy From and Paste To functions.
Document Files Dialog
The document files dialog now features a cancel button, so any changes made are not permanent unless the OK button is clicked.
Macro Customisation Dialogs
All macro customisation dialogs now feature a cancel button, so any changes made are not permanent unless the OK button is clicked. They also have browse buttons, allowing you to browse the data directly in the database using a spreadsheet style grid.
The replace dialog now has an option to replace text in either the current document, or all documents.
New Project Wizard
A new wizard for creating projects has been added, which allows the use of templates, and the creation of projects based on existing projects.
Colour and Window Lists
When selecting colours and windows from drop down lists, current values are no longer lost when the combo is opened.
HelpWrite now uses styles, which allow easy insertion of multiple formatting codes. Styles can be viewed using the Style Gallery, or edited using the Customise Styles dialog.
Templates, containing information such as window positions and colours, including secondary windows and default build macros can be used. If you are a Premium Registered user, you can also create and edit your own templates.
The new Find Links dialog displays a list of all referenced links in the project, in two lists, allowing you to instantly see missing links, and which document they are located in. Very useful!
The standard Goto Topic dialog also has the facility to display a list of all topics in the current project, similar to the new Project Map. This feature is also present in the Insert Hyperlink dialog, enhancing the power of the dialog.
Dynamic Data Exchange
Other applications can now control HelpWrite using DDE. A DDE testing program is available to test the links. The HelpWrite Batch Compiler tool uses these DDE links to tell HelpWrite what projects to compile.
After a compile has complete, a sound is played indicating if the compile was successful or not. The sounds used can be changed via the options dialog.