Dec 222017
 
VB/DOS info on its help file format, with sample form(?).
File VBHELP.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category BASIC Language
VB/DOS info on its help file format, with sample form(?).
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
HELP.BAS 27586 7314 deflated
HELP.BI 758 298 deflated
HELP.MAK 35 26 deflated
HELPDEMO.TXT 15963 5166 deflated
HELPF.FRM 25029 5316 deflated
HELPUTIL.FRM 7049 1792 deflated
TPCREAD.ME 199 165 deflated

Download File VBHELP.ZIP Here

Contents of the HELPDEMO.TXT file


.TOPIC:
Contents
The Visual Basic for MS-DOS Help Toolkit makes it easy to add
hypertext Help to your applications. The text you are reading
now is a Helpfile. The Help Toolkit is written entirely in
Visual Basic and can be modified. Help files are standard ASCII
files that can be edited with most text editors and even by
Visual Basic itself.

Click the mouse over one of the topics below for more
information. Or press TAB to select a topic then press ENTER
to jump to it.

Creating and Editing Help files
Adding Help to Your Applications
Using Help
Customizing the Help Toolkit
.TOPIC:
Creating and Editing Help Files
To create a new Help file:

1. Determine which topics a user might want Help with.
2. Start any text editor that reads and writes ASCII files.
3. Create a topic named Contents and type a table of
contents below. See Creating and Editing Topics.
Note that the Contents command button will not work
correctly unless you include a topic named Contents.
4. Every entry in the table of contents should be a link
to a Help topic. See Creating Links
5. Create a Help topic for every link in the table of
contents. See Creating and Editing Topics
6. Every Help topic can contain links to other Help topics.
7. Help topics do not need to be listed in the table of
contents.

To edit an existing Help file:
NOTE: The Help Toolkit cannot access Microsoft .HLP files.

1. Open the Help file in a text editor that reads and writes
ASCII files.
2. Modify Links and Topics as described above.

See Example Help File
.TOPIC:
Creating and Editing Topics
The Help Toolkit distinguishes Help topics from ordinary
text by requiring that all topics are formatted in a
specific way.

1. The word TOPIC must be on a line by itself, preceeded
by a period (.) and followed by a colon (:). TOPIC
must be in uppercase.
2. The period must be the first character on the line.
3. Only spaces are allowed after the colon.
4. The name of the topic itself must be on the line
immediately below the .TOPIC: statement.
5. The topic text should begin on the line after the
name of the topic.
6. The Help Toolkit will not word wrap text. Use the
ENTER key to break text into reasonable length lines.
64 character lines work well because the Help window
defaults to 66 characters wide.
7. The next topic should begin immediately after the last
line of the current topic.

For example, the following would be a valid topic except
that the period is the second character on the line not the
first.

.TOPIC:
This is a help topic name
This is the first line a Help topic.
.
.
.
.
This is the last line of a Help topic.

See Creating Links Example Help File
.TOPIC:
Creating Links
Links are hot spots that a Help user clicks on to jump
to a Help topic. Links are ordinary text surrounded by
special triangle characters (ASCII codes 16 and 17).

Links and Topics must have exactly the same name or the
Help Toolkit will not be able to find a Topic when a Link
is clicked.

For example, click on Valid Help Topic to see how Links
jump to new Topics. And click on Invalid Help Topic to
see what happens if you create a Link without a matching
Topic.

See Creating and Editing Topics
.TOPIC:
Adding Help to Your Applications
Necessary Files
---------------
You must add the following files to your project to use
the Help Toolkit:

1. HELP.BAS
2. HELPF.FRM
3. HELPUTIL.FRM

All files that call Help Toolkit routines must also have
the following statement at the module level:

'$INCLUDE: 'HELP.BI'

Calling Help Toolkit Routines
-----------------------------
Required Steps:

1. Initialize the Help system by calling the
HelpRegister procedure. You should do this
when your application starts.

2. Display Help topics or the table of contents by
calling HelpShowTopic . HelpTopicName$
should be "Contents" to show the table of contents.

3. Call HelpClose just before your application ends.
NOTE: You must call HelpClose during a Form_Unload
event if your application ends when the last form is
closed rather than by executing an END statement.
Your application will not end if you fail to do this
because frmHelpMain is still LOADED although invisible.

Optional:
1. Call HelpSetOptions to set Help colors and show/hide
specific Help command buttons after you call HelpRegister.
See Help Toolkit Procedures for details.

2. Call HelpSearch to open Help's Search dialog. Many
applications have a Search item under their Help menu.

See Example Help Toolkit Application and
Help Toolkit Procedures for detailed information.
.TOPIC:
Valid Help Topic
You jumped to this topic by clicking the Valid Help Topic
link.

Click ---> Creating Links or choose the Back command button
to return.
.TOPIC:
Customizing the Help Toolkit
You can add or remove functionality from the Help Toolkit
by changing the code in the following files:

1. HELP.BAS
2. HELPF.FRM
3. HELPUTIL.FRM

HELP.BAS contains all the application callable procedures
such as HelpShowTopic and HelpRegister.

HELPF.FRM is the main Help form. It contains the code
required to display and scroll through Help topics. It
also has the code used to detect mouse clicks (to jump Links)
and keyboard support.

HELPUTIL.FRM is a form that serves as the Search dialog, the
History dialog, and the Copy dialog. It is called from
HELPF.FRM and HELP.BAS. The look of the form is controlled
entirely from the cmdButtonBar_Click routine in HELPF.FRM and
the HelpSearch routine in HELP.BAS.

HELPF.FRM and HELP.BAS use the HELP.BI INCLUDE file.

See Adding Help to Your Applications
.TOPIC:
Example Help File
The following is an example of a small Help file. Note that
real Help files must be flush left. This example is indented
one character to stop the Help Toolkit from processing .TOPIC:
statements. A real Help file would also have ASCII 16 and 17
characters in place of the > and < symbols used below.

.TOPIC:
Contents
Welcome to Bob's Accounting System version 7.1




.TOPIC:
Introduction
Bob's Accounting System is specificially designed for small
business accounting. It includes modules for
and . Other modules may be purchased
seperately. See
.TOPIC:
Adding New Accounts
Choose New from the Accounts menu.
You can also press F8.

Note that Bob's Accounting System can store as many accounts
as disk space allows.
.TOPIC:
Accounts Payable
Access the A/P module through the Payables menu.

Note that A/P entries are automatially added to the general
ledger when you exit Bob's Accounting System.

See
.TOPIC:
Accounts Receivable
Access the A/P module through the Receievables menu.

Note that A/R entries are automatially added to the general
ledger when you exit Bob's Accounting System.

See
.TOPIC:
Ordering Additional Modules
You can call (123) 555-5555 between 9 am and 5 pm to
inquire about new modules. New modules such as tax, benefits,
and inventory are scheduled to be ready later this year.

See Creating and Editing Help files
.TOPIC:
Example Help Toolkit Application
The following shows how the Help Toolkit procedures should be
added to an application. Assume the application is one form
with menu controls for Help|Contents, Help|Search, and
Help|Using Help. It also has a Text control named txtFileName
and a check box named ckReadOnly.

' Module-level
'$INCLUDE: 'HELP.BI'
DIM SHARED HelpLoaded%

SUB Form_Load ()
HelpRegister "MYHELP.TXT" , HelpLoaded%

' HelpLoaded% is set to TRUE (-1) if HelpRegister
' was successful or to FALSE (0) if it failed.
IF HelpLoaded% = FALSE THEN
' Ensure that Help menu choices cannot
' be selected.
mnuHelpContents.Enabled = 0
mnuHelpSearch.Enabled = 0
mnuHelpUsingHelp.Enabled = 0
END IF
END SUB

SUB Form_Unload ()
HelpClose
END SUB

SUB mnuHelpContents_Click ()
HelpShowTopic "Contents"
END SUB

SUB mnuHelpSearch_Click ()
HelpSearch
END SUB

SUB mnuHelpUsingHelp_Click ()
HelpShowTopic "Using Help"
END SUB

SUB txtFileName_KeyUp (KeyCode AS INTEGER, Shift AS INTEGER)
IF KeyCode = 112 AND HelpLoaded% THEN 'F1 Key
HelpShowTopic "File Name"
END IF
END SUB

SUB ckReadOnly_KeyUp (KeyCode AS INTEGER, Shift AS INTEGER)
IF KeyCode = 112 AND HelpLoaded% THEN 'F1 Key
HelpShowTopic "Read Only"
END IF
END SUB

See Adding Help to Your Applications
.TOPIC:
Using Help
Note that the following text is appropriate for adding
to your own Help files. A user should be able to access
Using Help from the Help menu in your application.

See Example Help Toolkit Application
============================================================

Selecting a Help link:
----------------------
With a mouse - click on phrases outlined by two triangles.
With the keyboard - Press TAB or Shift-TAB to select a link.
Press ENTER to jump to that topic.

Scrolling the Help window:
--------------------------
With a mouse - click on the horizontal or vertical scroll
bars.
With the keyboard - press the cursor navigation keys.

Closing the Help window:
------------------------
With a mouse - double click on the window's control box icon.
With the keyboard - press Ctrl-F4.

Command Buttons:
----------------
Applications may use one or more of the following command
buttons. Use a mouse to click a button or press the letter
mentioned below.

Contents - displays a table of contents for the application's
Help. Press C to select Contents.

Search - opens a dialog box that lists all available Help
topics. Select a topic from the list box and press ENTER.
Press S to select Search.

Back - jumps to the last Help topic viewed. Press B to select
Back.

History - lists the last 20 Help topics viewed. Jump to a
topic by selecting from the list box and pressing ENTER.
Press T to select History.

Copy - Copies the contents of the current Help topic into
an edit area. Select the text you want copied to the
Clipboard and choose Copy. Choosing Copy without selecting
any text in the edit area copies the entire Help topic to
the Clipboard.
Press P to select Copy.
.TOPIC:
Help Toolkit Procedures
Five procedures in HELP.BAS give you access to all of
Help Toolkit functions.

HelpRegister , Success%
-----------------------------------------
HelpRegister opens the requested Help file and searches for
all Help topics. The Help topics and their file positions
are stored in an array for later use. The file itself remains
open until you call the HelpClose routine (below).
HelpRegister is normally called at application initialization
(e.g. Form_Load).

You must call HelpRegister before showing any Help topics.

HelpFileName$ is the name of the help file required by
your application. It can be any valid MS-DOS file name.
You must include the appropriate extension (.HLP or .TXT
for example). Note that the Help Toolkit will NOT search
your path for the file so it may be necessary to supply a
fully qualified file name (e.g. "C:\MYAPP\MYHELP.TXT").

Success% will be set to TRUE if the Help file was
successfully registered and to FALSE otherwise. The Success%
flag should be checked before making subsequent Help Toolkit
calls to prevent run-time errors.

HelpShowTopic TopicName$
------------------------
Calling HelpShowTopic with a valid TopicName$ causes the
Help Toolkit to display the text for TopicName$. The Help
form will be restored to its former size and location if it
is minimized when HelpShowTopic is called.

TopicName$ must be the name of a Help topic. An error
will occur if the Help Toolkit cannot find the TopicName$.

HelpRegister must be called before calling HelpShowTopic but
it is not necessary to call HelpRegister before every
HelpShowTopic.

HelpSearch
----------
HelpSearch opens the Help Toolkit topic search dialog box.
The Help form will display the selected topic unless the
user chooses the Cancel button.

HelpRegister must be called before calling HelpSearch but it
is not necessary to call HelpRegister before every HelpSearch.

HelpClose
---------
HelpClose closes the Help file and UNLOADs the Help form.
Call HelpClose before you end your application. HelpClose
should always be called when your application's last
form is being unloaded.

HelpSetOptions BackColor%,ForeColor%,DialogBackColor%,DialogForeColor%,ButtonColor%,SelectColor%,Flags%
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is an optional routine that makes it easy to customize
the look of the Help form. You cannot call this procedure
before you call HelpRegister. The Help Tookit will use the
default values listed below if you do not call this procedure.

BackColor% is a value between 0 and 15 that specifies the text
background color on the Help form. Default is 7 (gray).

ForeColor% is a value between 0 and 15 that specifies the text
foreground color on the Help form. Default is 0 (black).

DialogBackColor% is a value between 0 and 15 that specifies
the background color of the Help dialog boxes (Search, History,
and Copy). Default is 7 (gray).

DialogForeColor% is a value between 0 and 15 that specifies
the foreground color of the Help dialog boxes (Search, History,
and Copy). Default is 0 (black).

ButtonColor% is a value between 0 and 15 that specifies the
command button background color on the Help form.
Default is 7 (gray).

SelectColor% is a value between 0 and 15 that specifies the
foreground color of Help links selected using the TAB key.
Default is SCREEN.CONTROLPANEL(0) (AccessKey Color).

Flags% is a bit field that sets the VISIBLE status of the
five command buttons and enables other Help Toolit options.
Add the values below to show buttons and enable functions.

Function Value Default
--------------------- ----- -------
ESC Closes Help 1 0
UNLOAD Help at Form Close 2 0
No Contents Button 4 0
No Search Button 8 0
No Back Button 16 0
No History Button 32 0
No Copy Button 64 0

For example, Flags = 65 would allow ESC to close Help
and hide the Copy button.

Space is only reserved at the top frmHelpMain if at least
one button is visible.

Buttons normally to the right of missing buttons
will shift to the left to fill gaps.

The Help Toolkit will automatically call HelpRegister to
re-open the Help file if HelpShowTopic or HelpSearch is
called after the Help form has been unloaded. This can
only happen if:
1. Unload on Form Close is TRUE and the user closed
the Help form. Or
2. An error such as "Insufficient Memory to Display
Help" caused Help to close itself.

Registering a Help file can take some time so Unload at
Form Close should be set to FALSE unless:
1. The Help Toolkit is running standalone (as it is
now). Setting Unload at Form Close to TRUE
allows the application to end when the Help
form is closed.
2. Memory is extremely constrained.

See Adding Help to Your Applications and
Example Help Toolkit Application



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