HTML Help Builder
West Wind Html Help Builder 5.16 released
Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. West Wind Html Help Builder 5.16 released
  Rick Strahl
  All
  Mar 6, 2019 @ 07:03pm

Hi all,

I've released HTML Help Builder 5.16 today, which is primarily a maintenance release.

About Help Builder

Help Builder is an easy to use documentation generation tool that uses Markdown and a live synced preview to let you quickly and interactively build help content. The editor lets you focus on your content, with easy to type Markdown text along with a set of toolbar helpers to make it easy embed content and markup text. You can easily embed images via the clipboard, the image picker or the built-in screen capture. Cross topic links are easy with the topic picker and code snippets can be easily formatted and displayed with syntax colored code. Output can be generated to a self contained static and mobile friendly Web site that's ready to be copied to a Web site, or you can create CHM help files or Word or PDF documents.

Help Builder is what we use here on west-wind.com to produce documentation for all of our products including Markdown Monster, West Wind Web Connection, West Wind WebSurge, Help Builder, and more.

Version 5.16 Updates

For the most part the 5.16 release is a maintenance release with a big focus on making Help Builder more stable. As many of you know Help Builder is a very old FoxPro application with many modern enhancement and well, FoxPro can be quirky. A lot of work has gone into this release to make the editor more responsive and fix a number of timing and update issues related to the preview. We've also refactored the spell checker to use cached local lookups which should help especially with larger documents editing performance.

The other big UI issue in Help Builder has been the incessant focus stealing issues of the editor, which have been mostly addressed do dialogs should now pop up much cleaner and properly display their focus.

There are a few other notable improvements:

  • Updated Build Wizard and Completion Dialog Help Builder projects cannot be previewed from the file system due to dynamic loading of content which browsers do not support from local files. So to preview the generated HTML Web Project you have to run through a Web server. Help Builder includes a built-in Web Server via Tool->Open Html Project in Web Browser, but now you can also do this independently from the Command line via HelpBuilderConsole WebServer -p "<pathToOutput>".

  • New Copy Web Output Files
    Added a new output option that allows you to export all necessary generated Web files output to a dedicated Web ready folder that can be hosted as a static Web site. This option publishes all files needed to run your content as a static Web site. This new option is useful if you publish your files locally to a folder to be published as part of a larger Web application or GitHub Pages as part of a Git Repository.

  • Updated Output to Zip File
    Like the **Output to File option the Zip file option lets you export a completed Web project to a self-contained Zip file that you can simply copy and then unzip on another machine or server. The files are the Web ready files that can be served by a Web server to provide the fully self-contained Project Documentation site. The update adds a .nojekyll file for hosting on Github Pages and properly preserves case for all files copied.

  • Updated Bookmark Dialog
    Updated the UI of the Bookmark dialog to be more clear and less cluttered. Fixed a few activation issues.

  • Help Builder Console to start a Local Web Server Help Builder projects cannot be previewed directly from the file system due to dynamic loading of content which browsers do not support from local files. So to preview the generated HTML Web Project you have to run through a Web server. Help Builder includes a built-in Web Server via Tool->Open Html Project in Web Browser, but now you can also do this independently from the Command line via HelpBuilderConsole WebServer -p "<pathToOutput>".

Some other recent feature updates:

  • Time to Read in topics that shows how long it will take to read a topic
  • Soft break shortcut using Shift-Enter (enters two spaces and line break)
  • New external link dialog - fixes focus issues (more dialogs to come)
  • Http Links open in a new Window/Tab automatically
  • New Topic Outline for Web in the right side panel for large screens
  • Many template improvements and style cleanups
  • The MSDN and Github themes have most of the cleanups
  • FTP Improvements: Upload images, styles, TOC individually
  • JSON Export for Help Builder Projects
  • Improved false positive handling in spell checker
  • Support for .NET 4.7 and .NET Standard Library Imports

For more detail about these updates check out the full what's new document in the docs:

Update your Templates!

As always when updating Help Builder you'll need to update your templates. This release adds the Time to Read feature as well as a handful of small consistency updates to the core templates. You can use Tools -> Options -> Update Templates to update your templates to the latest version. If you made changes to your stock templates you a backup is made (as well as _layout_old.wcs which is the most commonly changed template).

Download

To get the latest version of Help Builder go to:

You can download the shareware version, or if you're a registered user of version 5.0 updates are free and the download will automatically update your registration to the latest version.

Aloha,

+++ Rick ---

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