Skip to main content

Importing HHC files with West Wind HTML Help Builder

If you've never tried it, West-Wind Help Builder can be a life-saver. A great tool for creating both Technical and EndUser help files. On the technical side, it lets you import in class definitions and data dictionaries, making it easier to get a total scope of a project.

But what's been missing has been a way to move existing help projects (those built using the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop) into Help Builder.

Now , under the hood, WW's Help Builder uses the Visual FoxPro data file so if you're intrigued, you can type in USE myHelp.VBP and browse the project to get a good feeling behind all of the data.

So the HTML Workshop builds its table of contents with an HHC file which is a terrible HTML file that looks like this:

    • So I imported it into a VFP memvar and then populated the West-Wind Help Project's VBP file. Here's the full code. It's NOT polished but I noted it on the FoxShow podcast and wanted to ensure it was up here:

      LPARAMETERS tcFile,tcProj

      IF NOT FILE(tcFile)
      RETURN .F.

      USE (tcProj) IN 0 AGAIN SHARED ALIAS projFile
      lcFile = FILETOSTR(tcFile)

      LOCAL lnlines
      lnLInes = ALINES(la,lcFile)
      LOCAL llStart,lcParent,lcPrevParent

      ** Note: the INDEX is the top level root ID of the HBP file.
      lcPrevParent = "INDEX"
      lcParent = "INDEX"
      llStart = .F.
      lnAdded = 0
      lcLast = "INDEX"
      lnStart = 900
      FOR lni = 1 TO lnLines
      lcLine = STRTRAN(ALLTRIM(la(lni))," ")
      IF lcLine = "
        llStart = .T.
        lcPrevParent = lcParent
        lcParent = lcLast
        IF NOT llStart
        IF lcLine = "
      • ** New Item
        lcName = ""
        lcContent = ""
        IF lcLine=[ lcName = STREXTRACT(lcLine,[value="],[">])
        IF lcLine=[ lcFile = STREXTRACT(lcLine,[value="],[">])
        IF FILE(lcFile)
        lcContent = FILETOSTR(lcFile)
        lcContent = "File "+lcFile+" could not be found"
        IF lcLine=[]
        ** Add it
        lcID = SYS(2015)
        INSERT INTO projFile (pk,parentpk,topic,type,body,helpid,sortorder) ;
        VALUES (lcID,lcParent,lcName,"HEADER",lcContent,lnID,IIF(lcParent="INDEX",lnStart,0))

        IF lcParent="INDEX"
        lnstart = MAX(0,lnStart-100)
        lnID = lnID+1
        lcLast = lcID
        lnAdded = lnAdded+1
        IF LcLine = [
      lcParent = lcPrevParent

      ** Now the rest of this code was written to clean up some of the garbage that came in with those old HTML files.

      SELECT projfile
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      REPLACE ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,[])
      replace ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,"<","<<")
      replace ALL body WITH STRTRAN(body,">",">>")
      ? lnAdded

      Thinking back, I could likely have just used STREXTRACT for some of these but I needed something quick and dirty and this definitely does the trick. Also note that one of other cool things it does is IMPORT in the actual source.

      You'll still have a lot of clean-up work to do but not a lot of re-writing.

      West Wind HTML Help Builder


Popular posts from this blog

Programmers vs. Developers vs. Architects

I received an email this morning from Brandon Savage's newsletter. Brandon's a PHP guru (works at Mozilla) but his newsletter and books have some great overall perspectives for developers of all languages. However, this last one (What's the difference between developers and architects?) kind of rubs me the wrong way. Either that, or I've just missed the natural inflation of job descriptions. (maybe, it's like the change in terminology between Garbage man and Waste Engineer or Secretary and Office Administrator)

So maybe it's just me - but I think there's still a big difference between Programmer, Developer and then of course, architect. The key thing here is that every role has a different perspective and every one of those perspectives has value. The original MSF create roles like Product Manager, Program Manager, Developer, Tester, etc - so every concept may pigeon hole people into different roles. But the statements Brandon makes are often distinctions I…

Security in Windows 10

 discusses some Windows 10 privacy settings and their implications.

"Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary." "In other words, Microsoft won't treat your local data with any more privacy than it treats your data on its servers and may upload your local data to its servers arbitrarily"
I did a quick install on a VM choosing the Express settings. When I fully deploy this on a real workstation, I will likely choose to wade through all of the individual pages, as David recommends.

Of course, losing one's privacy is nothing new - it's happening all over the place (despite Santa Ana's police force's lawsu…


I'm not TRYING to be "fanboy-flame bait" but what I saw yesterday was a typical "Do it this way, now do it this way and then we'll go back to this way" all over again.... a move similar to what Microsoft does to developers on an ongoing basis.

Remember the first iPhone? Smooth and curved, at least as far as it could be back then. I still pull out my 3G and can see the curves on it.

Then the 4 came out and "boxy" was all the rage. Everything should be "tight with corners"

Now iPhone 6.... smooth and curvy is back. Granted I don't have the actual device yet, but that's the message.

Guess that means the iPhone 8 will be back to boxy.

And honestly, Apple Watch is not worth "one more thing" --- especially when everyone knows it's going to be shown. "One more thing" would be something no one saw coming.  The device itself ? Very interesting and yes, definitely lots of potential but "one more thing" wor…