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What's in a Modular Help System

Your modular Help system will consist of a number of modules or components, created from a number of Doc-To-Help projects. In addition to these component projects, the linking or merging of components in a modular Help project is done using what we shall call the hub project (generally one for each platform), which are primarily responsible for tying the modules together into an apparent whole.

Module Files:

      For WinHelp, each component is a separate WinHelp .HLP file and a WinHelp .CNT contents file. Each matching set of .HLP and .CNT files is the product of a separate Doc-To-Help project.

      For compiled HTML Help, each component is a separate HTML Help .CHM file. Just like with WinHelp, each .CHM file is the product of a separate Doc-To-Help project.

Hub Files

      For WinHelp, the hub is the WinHelp .HLP file and the WinHelp .CNT contents file.

      For compiled HTML Help, the hub is another compiled HTML Help .CHM file.

Note:    When working with HTML Help hub files, there is a limitation to the naming convention that is unrelated to Doc-To-Help. Using spaces when naming the hub .CHM files will disable the next/previous functionality of the modular Help system. It is therefore advisable to eliminate spacing in your .CHM file names wherever possible. If your .D2H project file contains spaces (and, be default your .CHM file also contains spaces) simply remove the spaces from the BaseName property of the Help target.

In the examples in this documentation, we often describe the files as the hub project or hub Help file. You do not have to name your project hub, and in fact probably shouldn't. A better choice would be a descriptive name that reflects the content and purpose of your Help system.

Similarly, in the module examples, we describe files as module document or module Help file. Again, except for illustrative purposes in discussions of modular Help development, these are poor choices for file names—a descriptive and specific name is much better.