WebHelp Classic System

WebHelp is a form of online help that consists of a series of web pages (XHTML format). Its advantages include platform independence, ability to update content continuously, and it can be viewed using a regular web browser. The Oxygen XML Author WebHelp system includes several variants to suit your specific needs. The WebHelp Classic variant is designed for desktop systems when feedback from users is not necessary and it is available for DocBook and DITA document types.

Layout of the WebHelp Classic System Interface

The layout of the WebHelp Classic system is comprised of the following components:
Left Pane or Frame
This section on the left side of the help system includes the following tabs:
Content
A typical table of contents style presentation of your content. You can use the Expand all/ Collapse all buttons to expand or collapse all the topics presented in the Table of Contents.
Note: You can enhance the appearance of items in the Table of Contents. See the Customizing WebHelp Classic Systems chapter for more details.
Index
Presents the index terms for your content. If your content does not contain any indexterm elements, this tab is not generated.
Search Results
This tab is generated when the Search field is used. It presents the search results in the form of links to topics where the search terms are found, along with a rating scheme for each result. For more details, see the Search Feature section.
Upper Pane or Frame
The upper section of the help system includes the following features:
Search Field
Use this feature to perform searches in your content. When you enter search terms in this field, the results are displayed in the Search Results tab in the left section of the help system, along with a rating scheme for each result. For more details, see the Search Feature section.
Frames Option
Click on this option to display the output rendered in HTML frames.
Print Option
Opens a dialog box with various printing options and a print preview.
Navigation Links
You can navigate through the content of your output using the navigation links or arrows in the upper-right part of the page. These arrows allow you to move to the Parent topic, Previous topic, or Next topic. Links to the parent topics of the currently opened topic are also presented at the top of the page.
Note: You can edit the args.hide.parent.link parameter to hide the Parent, Next, and Previous links.
Main Pane or Frame
The content of the help pages are rendered and displayed in this main section.

Figure: WebHelp Classic Output

WebHelp Classic Search Engine

Search Rules
Rules that are applied during a search include:
  • You can use quotes to perform an exact search for multiple word phrases (for example, "grow flowers" will only return results if both words are found consecutively and exactly as they are typed in the search field). This type of search is known as a phrase search.
  • Boolean Search is supported using the following operators: and, or, not. When there are two adjacent search terms without an operator, or is used as the default search operator (for example, grow flowers is the same as grow or flowers).
  • The space character separates keywords (an expression such as grow flowers counts as two separate keywords: grow and flowers).
  • indexterm and keywords DITA elements are an effective way to increase the ranking of a page (for example, content inside a keywords element weighs more than an H1 HTML element).
  • Words composed by merging two or more words with colon (":"), minus ("-"), underline ("_"), or dot (".") characters count as a single word.
  • Always search for words containing three or more characters (shorter words, such as to or of are ignored). This rule does not apply to CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) languages.
5-Star Rating Mechanism and Sorting
The Search feature is also enhanced with a rating mechanism that computes scores for every result that matches the search criteria. These scores are then translated into a 5-star rating scheme and the stars are displayed to the right of each result. The search results are sorted depending on the following:
  • Search entries that satisfy the phrase search criterion are presented first.
  • The number of keywords found in a single page (the higher the number, the better).
  • The context (for example, a word found in a title scores better than a word found in unformatted text). The search ranking order, sorted by relevance is as follows:
    • The search term is included in a meta keyword
    • The search term is in the title of the page
    • The search term is in bold text in a paragraph
    • The search term is in normal text in a paragraph
Excluded Terms

To improve performance, the Search feature excludes certain stop words. For example, the English version of such stop words include: a, an, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, for, if, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, such, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with.

WebHelp Classic Search Results Tab

When you enter search terms in the Search field at the top of the help system, the results are displayed in the Search Results tab in the left section. When you click on a result in the Search Results tab, that result is displayed in the main pane with the search terms highlighted. If you press Enter with the Search field empty, the highlights are removed.

Figure: WebHelp Classic Search Results Tab

Missing Terms

If you enter multiple search terms (other than stop words), for any result that the search engine found at least one term but not one or more of the other terms, the Missing terms will be listed below each result.

Tag Element Scoring Values

HTML tag elements are also assigned a scoring value and these values are evaluated for the search results. For information about editing these values, see Editing Scoring Values of Tag Elements in Search Results.

Browser Compatibility
This output format is compatible with the most recent versions of the following common browsers:
  • Edge
  • Internet Explorer (IE 9 or newer)
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Opera
Important: Due to some security restrictions in certain browsers (Google Chrome and Internet Explorer), WebHelp Classic pages loaded from the local system (through URLs of the file:///... format) may not work properly. We recommend that you load WebHelp Classic pages in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer only from a web server (with a URL such as http://your.server.com/webhelp/index.html or http://localhost/web_pages/index.html).
Warning: Due to some restrictions in web browsers in regards to JavaScript code, the frameless version (index.html start page) of the WebHelp Classic system should only be loaded from a web server (with a URL such as http://your.server.com/webhelp/index.html or http://localhost/web_pages/index.html). When loading WebHelp Classic pages from the local file system, the frameset version (index_frames.html start page) of the WebHelp Classic system should be used instead (file:///...).