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FAR 5 beta Screen Shots

FAR v5 introduces support for editing MS Help 3 meta tags.

See Blog Post - http://weblog.helpware.net/?p=269

Below are screen shots of FAR HTML v5 Beta (build 698).  A work in progress.

Tag Editor

The Tag Editor is available from the Authoring menu and main tool bar.

Tag Editor Window - Here you can Find and Edit various types of tags.
   HTML topic files, the source of the tags, are listed in the FAR file list (main window).

Window Relationship
Lay the FAR main window and the Tag Editor window side by side.
  1. Select some files, then click "Select Tags..." --> The tags belonging to those files are now highlighted.
  2. Select some tags, then click "Select FAR Files..." --> The Files owning those tags are now highlighted.

Tag Editor Window
  > Edit Tags page > Delete Select Tags - Select one or more tags and click Delete. Tags are deleted from their files.
  > Edit Tags page > Rename Select Tags - Enter the new tag and click Rename. Selected tags are renamed.

As you can see FAR offers templates for renaming.

Insert Tags - This command works on just select files (tag list not required).

More FAR smarts:
  • H2 tags are automatically grouped inside <xml> tags.
  • Notice the %GUID% place holder (below)? FAR will generate a unique GUID with every replacement.
  • Help 3 Language and Help.Id are allowed only once per document.
    FAR will enforce this rule automatically by first removing any existing Language or Help.Id tag before inserting.

TOC and Index Editor

Here is the main attraction. Help 3 is relatively easy to work with. Author your content; ZIP it and Ship it.
The tricky part is manipulating all those topic meta tags to form the required TOC, Index and F1 Keywords.

FAR TOC & Index Editor to the rescue.

Open the TOC & Index Editor

See the new Help 3.x Import and Export commands in the File Menu, and also in the new "Help 3" page tab.
  • Import extracts all the relevant H3 meta tags from your FAR files, forming either a .HxT or .HxK file you can edit.
  • Exports writes the TOC or Index info back out to file as H3 meta data.

Here is the FAR help TOC file (in .HxT file format)

Notice in the FAR main window (behind)  I have listed all the HTML topic files for my project.
This is important as Import & Export must load and save Meta Tags from/top these files.

Preparation for Export

Before Exporting I've done 2 small adjustments to my .HxT TOC file.
  1. I've moved all my TOC items under a single node.
    Since when we parent into the host MSDN TOC we want to see a single folder representing FAR TOC.
  2. I've also specified the Help.ID of the MSDN TOC topic that will be parent to my TOC.
    And I've set a TOC Order of "1" so my help is positioned near the top.
Note: The actual VSIP parent ID will actually be some GUID which I don't know at the time of writing.

Click "Export"

You will be asked to select the type of H3 Meta Tag to write.
I've select a v2 TOC (which is the proposed TocInfo() tag which can exist muliple times in a HTML file)

H3 Help IDs

At this stage FAR detects Help ID meta tags are missing from my HTML files.
Help ID is a required tag (and TOC and Index are built from these tags).

I'll just click Yes to continue and let FAR fix the problem automatically.
FAR generates a unique Help ID for each document using a GUID (like Microsoft does).

Export Validation

Next Export finds a few more problems that I need to fix (or ignore).
  1. My "Authoring menu" item has an empty link (fine for Help 2.x but major problem for Help 3.x which needs a topic file to store TOC meta tags in).
    Notice the checkbox [X] Auto create 1 missing link file?  If I continue, FAR will automatically generate an empty HTML file for me to fix this problem.

  2. My "Index Editor - .." item has a web link, so it's also invalid since a local topic file is required to store the meta tag.
    I can safely ignore this error, but the web node will not be exported.

  3. My "Invalid Code Page Dialog" item link contains a #bookmark. Help 3.0 does not understand bookmarks.
    I can safely ignore this error, however the #bookmark part of the link wont be exported.
FAR took care of the major migration problem. And warned me of the minor ones.

Results of Export

Export takes just a few seconds.

If we view the source of the home page, we see the H3 TocInfo meta tag.
  -- Format: <meta name="Microsoft.help.TocInfo" content="ParentID | TocOrder | ProductID | Version" >

Hope you've enjoyed this peak into FAR HTML v5 Beta (build 698).

Please keep an eye on my Blog or Tweets to keep up to date with all Help 3 news.