[Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Kostas Michalopoulos
On 28/7/2012 3:39 μμ, Mattias Gaertner wrote:
> Huh? The chm viewer "lhelp" has only "home", "backward", "forward" and
> a menu to open and close chm files. If I understood your above text
> correct, this is less than your viewer

You are right, i just found and compiled the viewer in my Lazarus.
Actually it is the same as with my viewer, except that lhelp uses icons
while i use text (also there is no menu but lhelp needs that since it is
a standalone viewer).

I'm not sure i've ever encountered this program tbh. I remember some
other program that was almost a clone of Microsoft's CHM viewer.

Kostas "Bad Sector" Michalopoulos


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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Mattias Gaertner
In reply to this post by William Oliveira Ferreira
On Sat, 28 Jul 2012 10:20:32 -0300
William Oliveira Ferreira <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Seems to be a good project.
>
> Could someone from LazCore make a test on it?
>
> I think it should be a step foward to a Lazarus' Embedded Help System

Yes, it should definitely be mentioned on

http://wiki.lazarus.freepascal.org/Add_Help_to_Your_Application

I recommend to put the package and the examples into separate
directories.

Mattias


>
> 2012/7/28 Kostas Michalopoulos <[hidden email]>
>
> > I just noticed this (there is a lot of activity in the mailing list and i
> > only browse it occasionally).
> >
> > On 10/7/2012 6:39 μμ, Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:
> >
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> My question still stands though. I don't know what is the
> >> recommendation for "application help" with LCL based applications. eg:
> >> I create a new project which is a new Programming Editor. I want to
> >> supply a end-user help file with my binary - like all good software
> >> does. What help file format do I use (as the developer of that
> >> product), and how do I create/edit that help file?
> >>
> >>
> > Personally i have written a custom help system:
> >
> > http://badsector.github.com/**lazhelp/<http://badsector.github.com/lazhelp/>
> >
> > It is made up of a bunch of components that can either provide the help
> > content from inside the program (f.e. from a resource or just a string
> > list) or from an external file. The help can be displayed as a
> > popup/tooltip, inside a panel using a custom control or a separate window
> > with back, forward, home and other optional buttons (like introduction,
> > tutorial, etc). It can also be registered as a help provider for LCL (so
> > you can use HelpContext etc in controls).
> >
> > The viewer is written with LCL so it should be portable (although there
> > are some inconsistencies, especially regarding scrollbars). There aren't
> > many things supported by the language (which has a simple syntax) but it
> > should be enough for simple applications. For larger help sites, it
> > probably needs more stuff (f.e. there is no table support).
> >
> > I have used it for Runtime World, my 3D world editor:
> >
> > http://chiselapp.com/user/**badsector/repository/rtworld/<http://chiselapp.com/user/badsector/repository/rtworld/>
> >
> > and for LILCard, a hypercard-like program:
> >
> > https://github.com/badsector/**lilcard<https://github.com/badsector/lilcard>
> >
> > (the latter shows how the help system can become part of the executable
> > itself since lilcard is a single executable in all platforms)
> >
> > The reason i made it is, as you have said in other threads, i find Lazarus
> > current help situation to be inadequate at least. Additionally, i don't
> > want to distribute a huge executable for viewing CHM files (in the case the
> > user's computer do not have the ability to view CHM files) and i find the
> > CHM viewer's user interface to be somewhat complex.
> >
> > Kostas "Bad Sector" Michalopoulos
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > ______________________________**_________________
> > Lazarus mailing list
> > [hidden email].**freepascal.org<[hidden email]>
> > http://lists.lazarus.**freepascal.org/mailman/**listinfo/lazarus<http://lists.lazarus.freepascal.org/mailman/listinfo/lazarus>
> >
>
>
>

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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Hans-Peter Diettrich
In reply to this post by Graeme Geldenhuys
Graeme Geldenhuys schrieb:
> The reasoning for recommending Kylix Help to Lazarus users was simple.
> Only in the last year or so did the Lazarus LCL actually start getting
> help. Not to mention that Lazarus didn't even have a offline help
> system to compete with anything out there.  I still feel to this day,
> the Kylix Help is still a lot more complete, detailed and useful, with
> working example code too.

Isn't Kylix Help free now, with openKylix?

> As for the x86 Linux only comment.... Well, tough sh*t to the Windows
> and Mac users. I paid for Kylix Enterprise, so why the hell may I not
> reuse what I paid a fortune for!

You are allowed to use it, but not to distribute it.

>  In any case, LCL is supposed to be a
> VCL clone (just like CLX), so the Delphi/Kylix help should be very
> appropriate to LCL - if not, then the Lazarus project didn't do a very
> good job cloning Delphi VCL.

In fact the LCL should have been based on the CLX, where many
cross-platform issues have been removed - but the CLX was published only
much later. Then FPC and Lazarus were extended with every new Delphi
version, and some homebrew features have been added, but the really hard
problems never have been solved properly.

I already suggested an native Win32 widgetset, fully VCL compatible,
with limited availability on other platforms. This would make all those
happy which want to move from Delphi to Lazarus, because all their
projects would work almost immediately. And it could have been
implemented in a fraction of the time spent with the LCL.
Cross-plattform projects never have been covered by Delphi/VCL, so that
it's not hard to tell people that such projects require a different
GUI/widgetset (CLX, LCL...).


Furthermore I'm convinced that a portable GUI, based on a mix of native
controls, is a beast and a waste of time. Either the controls should
have native look and feel (skins!...), or the exact look and feel of
some (Win32...) platform. I had preferred to use fpGUI or mseGUI instead
of the LCL, but the according frameworks (IDE...) didn't match my
expectations. Now I'm using a Lazarus IDE, tweaked to fit my needs, and
stay away from projects with a sophisticated GUI or cross-platform
ambitions.

DoDi


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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Graeme Geldenhuys
Hi,

On 28 July 2012 19:06, Hans-Peter Diettrich <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Isn't Kylix Help free now, with openKylix?

Kylix Open Edition was available for free since 2001 when Kylix 1 was
release. Every edition and version of Kylix included the help files as
standard.


> You are allowed to use it, but not to distribute it.

Yes.


> In fact the LCL should have been based on the CLX, where many cross-platform
> issues have been removed

I agree 100% here.


> - but the CLX was published only much later.

I don't know the exact timings... When did Lazarus start? I have heard
10 years ago, so that would have made it the same time as what Kylix 1
was released.



> Furthermore I'm convinced that a portable GUI, based on a mix of native
> controls, is a beast and a waste of time.

+1
Each native widgetset has different features, do things differently,
looks different etc. So there is no way you can get a 100% single
source project based on such diversity - unless you only stick with
the lowest common denominator - thus crippling your "cross platform"
toolkit extensively. It's amazing LCL has gotten as far as it did -
but also explains why it only attracts hobbyist programmer projects.



> I had preferred to use fpGUI or mseGUI instead of the
> LCL, but the according frameworks (IDE...) didn't match my expectations.

fpGUI doesn't dictate what IDE you must use. I use both Lazarus IDE &
MSEide to develop fpGUI or my fpGUI-based applications. You are free
to even use Notepad, if you think that will make you more productive.
:-)

Anyway, we are getting a bit sidetracked here.


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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Mattias Gaertner
On Sat, 28 Jul 2012 20:52:16 +0100
Graeme Geldenhuys <[hidden email]> wrote:

>[...]
> > - but the CLX was published only much later.
>
> I don't know the exact timings... When did Lazarus start? I have heard
> 10 years ago, so that would have made it the same time as what Kylix 1
> was released.

Lazarus already exists since 1999.
AFAIR I came to Lazarus a year before Kylix was released, the Kylix IDE
required wine to run, qt was far less free than nowadays and it was
ugly windowish. There was no doubt to continue Lazarus.

Mattias

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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list
In reply to this post by Graeme Geldenhuys
On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 05:39:05PM +0100, Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:

> > Noted, but I'm using Lazarus (and this /is/ the Lazarus mailing list, so
> > please don't act all surprised :-)
>
> I know that all too well. :)
>
> My question still stands though. I don't know what is the
> recommendation for "application help" with LCL based applications. eg:
> I create a new project which is a new Programming Editor. I want to
> supply a end-user help file with my binary - like all good software
> does. What help file format do I use (as the developer of that
> product), and how do I create/edit that help file?

There is no cross platform helproduct, so that way you are fcked.


> Now if you tell me CHM, that means I need to ship LHelp with my
> product because Linux & Mac users don't have CHM help viewers out of
> the box.

They have no decent help system out of the box. Seems the lowest common
denomitor is plain html, which I would avoid.

The best route would be to create some fphttpserver that serves up chm
content, but I don't know the FPC webcomponents enough for that.


> But what is the source help format for CHM

For non API chms ?  html + some index and project files.

> and what tools (help editor) do I use to edit that source format

It is called an "html editor". Some people rough it though, and use a "text"
editor. Holy wars have been fought

> and what
> tool do I use to "compile" that source help format into the end result CHM
> file?

chmcmd, included with FPC since 2.2.x

> Also, how does my product know where to find LHelp (or whatever CHM viewer
> I want to use)?

As said, that is not a CHM issue, but a "state of linux help" issue.
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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list
On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 06:31:15PM +0200, Marco van de Voort via Lazarus wrote:


> On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 05:39:05PM +0100, Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:
           ^^^^^^^^^^^

Well, that happens, when you try to be modern, and read your mail with mutt
instead of elm :-)
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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list
FWIW your post made me realize i have a few uncommitted changes (including a very important one - outlines https://coinsh.red/p/2018-08-30_20_27_48-Help_-_Welcome.png) for LazHelp :-P. I'm not working on it much though, it is mainly on life support with the rare addition of new stuff (mainly needed because i made it a target for a document preparation system i work on and needed some features from it).

On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 7:11 PM Marco van de Voort via Lazarus <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 06:31:15PM +0200, Marco van de Voort via Lazarus wrote:


> On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 05:39:05PM +0100, Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:
           ^^^^^^^^^^^

Well, that happens, when you try to be modern, and read your mail with mutt
instead of elm :-)
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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list
On Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 08:38:13PM +0200, Kostas Michalopoulos via Lazarus wrote:
> FWIW your post made me realize i have a few uncommitted changes (including
> a very important one - outlines
> https://coinsh.red/p/2018-08-30_20_27_48-Help_-_Welcome.png) for LazHelp
> :-P. I'm not working on it much though, it is mainly on life support with
> the rare addition of new stuff (mainly needed because i made it a target
> for a document preparation system i work on and needed some features from
> it).

I only work on the non visual (CHM reader/writer) parts.

Recently there were some new bugreports from people that use chmcmd with
Sphinx (a tool like fpdoc for .NET).

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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list


On Sun, 2 Sep 2018, Marco van de Voort via Lazarus wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 08:38:13PM +0200, Kostas Michalopoulos via Lazarus wrote:
>> FWIW your post made me realize i have a few uncommitted changes (including
>> a very important one - outlines
>> https://coinsh.red/p/2018-08-30_20_27_48-Help_-_Welcome.png) for LazHelp
>> :-P. I'm not working on it much though, it is mainly on life support with
>> the rare addition of new stuff (mainly needed because i made it a target
>> for a document preparation system i work on and needed some features from
>> it).
>
> I only work on the non visual (CHM reader/writer) parts.
>
> Recently there were some new bugreports from people that use chmcmd with
> Sphinx (a tool like fpdoc for .NET).

Sphinx is Python, not .NET.

I tried for 2 days to get read-the-docs (a web front-end for sphinx) to work.
Never again ! The python dependencies are a complete disaster. Almost as bad
as npm...

Michael.
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Re: [Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list
In reply to this post by Free Pascal - Lazarus mailing list
On 18/08/18 18:10, Marco van de Voort via Lazarus wrote:
>> On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 05:39:05PM +0100, Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:
>            ^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Well, that happens, when you try to be modern, and read your mail with mutt
> instead of elm :-)


hahaha... I was about to comment on dredging up such and *old* thread.
The solution to the original question has been solved since a long
time... DocView of course with the help source in IPF format. ;-)


Regards,
  Graeme

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