[Lazarus] Building help files: the nitty-gritty

Marco van de Voort marcov at stack.nl
Mon Jul 16 21:14:27 CEST 2012

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

Since linux doesn't guarantee any helpsystem, any solution is going to be a

> 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. 

Both have several chm viewers available (kchmviewer, gnochm, xchm). If you
were so worried about that, I wonder why you didn't work towards integrating
them into lazarus and/or its applications.

Instead you created another solution .inf with the same problem (docview)
and a few extra (no compiler, and not even a non integrated helpfile).

Somehow your actions and problems don't seem to match :-)

>But what is the source help format for CHM, and what tools (help editor) do
> I use to edit that source format, and what tool do I use to "compile" that
> source help format into the end result CHM file? 

The last time this came up, Michael said there was support in fpdoc for
general helpfiles. But afaik there are no examples.

In theory CHM files can be created with any html tool, can be organized with normal MS
html workshop, and then compiled using FPC's chmcmd (2.4.4 in theory, but
2.6.0's is better)

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

That's a *nix/Linux, not a Lazarus problem. If the OS is braindead and doesn't
support this, what's other option is there then to do it yourself?

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