OpenOffice Online Help
This section contains resources and information regarding the Online Help for OpenOffice.org 2.0 and higher versions.
Beginning with release 2.0 the online help for OpenOffice.org underwent considerable changes to allow for easier collaboration of the OpenOffice.org community in creating, maintaining, and improving the online help files.
Below you find some high level information about the new online help. You can find detailed in-depth information as well as instructions on how to work with the new help files in Understanding and Authoring OpenOffice 2.0 Online Help, (PDF version).
What has changed?
- Help File Format
- Before release 2.0: the help files were available in an unspecified, intermediate XML format based on the OpenOffice.org XML format.
- Now: the help files are migrated to a well-defined, easy and concise XML DTD which was discussed on and is available from OpenOffice.org.
The new extension for all help files is .xhp
- Help File Sources
- Before release 2.0: the nature of the help building process prevented the help source files to be part of the product CVS repository.
- Now: all help source XML files are part of the product CVS and available in the helpcontent2 module.
- Building Help
- Before release 2.0: the binary online help files were built using a complicated process inside Sun.
- Now: the help building process is part of the building process of the application and in the hand of the release engineering. Controlled by makefiles, online help can be built by using standard build and make commands in the cvs module.
- Help Images and Icons Handling
- Before release 2.0: the help file set contained screen shots and application icons in its own archive making it necessary to duplicate each icon used in the application. This also made it necessary to compile a separate help set for differently branded products (like StarOffice and OpenOffice.org).
- Now: all application icons that are used in the help are taken from the central icon repository that is also accessed by the application itself to fetch the icons. In this way, the help always uses the same icons as the application avoiding inconsistencies.
All images that are specific to the online help, like screen shots used in some help files, are now in the helpimg folder of the res CVS module and are accessed by the help in the same way as the icons.
- Help Authoring
- Before release 2.0: authoring or editing the help files was virtually impossible for the community since the source files were not available.
- Now: there is an import and export filter for the OpenOffice.org help file format for OpenOffice.org. Also, there is a set of macros that allows authoring and editing of online help files right from within OpenOffice.org.
- Help Localization
- Before release 2.0: localization followed non-standard process that involved many manual steps to extract and reintegrate content.
- Now: the localization uses the same process as the UI localization. All of this is conducted by the release engineering. For more information about the UI/Help localization process, please contact the corresponding release engineer Ivo Hinkelmann (email@example.com).
Why was it changed?
All of these changes were introduced for several reasons:
- to finally put all the help files to open source
- to allow easier collaboration of the community
- to allow for easier customization of the online help
- to streamline the build and localization processes to use well-defined and working processes
Where can I find more information?
The Understanding and Authoring OpenOffice 2.0 Online Help document.
Work on the help content is still in progress.
|Online Help Documents|
|Understanding and Authoring
OpenOffice 2.0 Online Help
This area gives a detailed overview about the new Online Help format of OpenOffice.org
From the Table Of Contents:
|Migration Script (no longer needed)||A simple Perl script that helps you migrating existing localizations in 1.x format to 2.0 format.
The tar.gz archive consists of
What you need: Perl with XML::LibXML, XML::LibXSLT The transformation style sheet migrate.xsl The English help sources in 1.x format The English help sources in the initial 2.0 format The localized help sources in 2.0 format How to proceed: --------------- 1. Copy the localized help file tree in 1.x format into the 1.x directory 2. Delete the following obsolete directories: - handbuch - setupguide - screen 3. Rename all "common" directories to "shared" 4. Start the script 5. Check the output files in the 2.0 directory What you will get: ------------------ A directory with the localized help files in 2.0 format. But please note: The files only contain elements that could be migrated and that need localization. So you will end up with _incomplete_ help files. You will need to merge those file with the English 2.0 files. After merging you should have mixed language help files containing English and localized content as well as the structural elements that do not need localization This script is only meant to simplify the business of migration. Use at your own risk. Check the resulting files. Feel free to tamper with this. Don't ask for support.