[Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Mark Morgan Lloyd markMLl.lazarus at telemetry.co.uk
Wed Jul 11 11:03:35 CEST 2012

Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:

>> [Nod] I suspect that we're not the only people asking for guidance.
> And it seems everybody is reluctant to give an answer. I guess LCL
> based applications simply don't ship with help? Well, for the few LCL
> based apps I have tried (excluding Lazarus IDE), that sure was the
> case.
> I just remembered form years ago when I still used Delphi 5 & 7, we
> used to use a product called HelpScribble to author our .HLP help
> files. HelpScribble now supports .CHM authoring too. So I guess that
> answers my own question. You need to purchase a proprietary CHM help
> authoring tool to generate your own CHM help, and you'll probably be
> limited to author those help files under Windows only.

I didn't make a note of the URL, but I noticed a Debian bugtracker entry 
yesterday where somebody was requesting that chmcmd/chmls be packaged 
separately since they're the only free tools that do the job.

The bottom line appears to be: generate either XML or HTML files, make a 
list of their names, and run the lot through chmcmd to produce a single 
indexed file. In principle, it should be possible to postprocess 
something like a .pdf to generate very simple context help entries (take 
any heading prefixed by e.g. ยง as a help keyword, and the following 
paragraph as the associated text).

Mark Morgan Lloyd
markMLl .AT. telemetry.co .DOT. uk

[Opinions above are the author's, not those of his employers or colleagues]

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