HelpSmith 4.0 Introduces a Completely Redesigned Web Help System Format
February 20, 2013 - Divcom Software today announces the release of HelpSmith 4.0, a major update of the help authoring tool for software developers and technical writers. The new release includes a completely redesigned Web Help system format that makes it possible for technical writers to fully customize an entire help system, and also includes other significant improvements to the built-in Search capability, Index tool, user interface, and different behavior options. The main idea behind the new Web Help format was to provide companies who uses it for delivering their documentation with a complete solution that can be easily created and customized according to the company's needs.
Nowadays, Web Help is one of the most popular formats that many companies use to publish and deliver technical and other kinds of documentation. Since a Web Help system is based on modern web technologies and works as a regular website, it can be easily placed on a web server, shared through the corporate local area network, or simply distributed with a regular desktop application. All that the end-user needs to access a Web Help system is a regular browser program like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, or any other web browser on any platform.
The developers of HelpSmith, a help authoring tool that allows developers and technical writers to create documentation in multiple help formats (HTML Help, Web Help, Printed Manual), have completely redesigned the Web Help format in HelpSmith 4.0 version update. Now HelpSmith allows you to customize a Web Help system, so, for example, the appearance of the web help system can fit to the common corporate style. To accomplish that task, HelpSmith offers a set of flexible yet easy-to-use options: you can simply apply one of the ready-to-use style schemes, or edit individual appearance settings manually; you can define custom icons; finally, you can customize Web Help's heading area by linking a special topic that can be prepared directly in the HelpSmith's word-processor, or by linking it to a special web page that may already been used on your website.
Another enhancement for Web Help that HelpSmith 4.0 introduces is the built-in Search engine. Now the Search tool can quickly find separate keywords or whole phrases in a large number of help topics, and rank the results according the their relevancy. Thus, users of the help system will be able to easily find the information they are looking for. Finally, HelpSmith allows the developer of a help system to define which words should be excluded from the Search results, and change the way it highlights found words in topic text.
Of course, these are not the only improvements that the new Web Help format includes. The new Web Help also includes an improved alphabetical Index that makes it possible for the user to quickly find a keyword and the topics associated with that keyword.
Overall, the new Web Help available in HelpSmith 4.0 now includes all of the features that a professional help system should have: easy navigation, customizable view and behavior, built-in Search engine, and the ability to print any information. Of course, a Web Help system can be integrated with a website or application in order to provide context-sensitive Help. HelpSmith developers have also worked on the compatibility of Web Help with different web browsers by following strict web standards, so the end-users will be able to access it on any platform that has a full-featured browser program.
"With HelpSmith 4.0, we introduce a complete solution that can be used by software developers, technical writers, and webmasters when they need to develop a professional help system that will fit to the corporate standards regarding its feature-set, view, behavior, and the ability to be integrated with a website or application. And, as usually, HelpSmith lets technical writers to concentrate on writing without the need to know much about technical aspects of a help system creation," said Igor Ivanov, CTO, Divcom Software.