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Chapter 7 - Implementing Online User Assistance in a Distributed Application


The basic idea behind this chapter is to display the Help information to the user.

Assuming that a standard HTML Help or WinHelp file already exists for your application, VB makes it easy for you to link up the Help file's topics (which have unique internal identifying numbers that you must know) to various types of context-sensitive help in VB. You can set special VB properties to change the Help file and to cause Help to appear in various ways when the user presses the F1 key or performs other actions.

This chapter also briefly discusses how to create an HTML Help file that you can use in your VB applications. HTML Help is Microsoft's new standard for Help file formats.

The third subobjective listed, "Implement messages from a server component to a user interface," is more appropriate for a discussion of COM components. We therefore discuss that subobjective in Chapter 12, "Creating a COM Component that Implements Business Rules or Logic" in the section, "Sending Messages to the User from a COM Component."


  1. Two Types of Help Files
           HTML Help Files
           WinHelp Files

  2. Referencing Help Through the HelpFile Property of an Application
           Setting Help Files at Design Time
           Setting Help Files at Runtime

  3. Context-Sensitive Help for Forms and Controls
           Context-Sensitive Help With the HelpContextID Property
           Adding ToolTips to an Application
           Providing WhatsThisHelp in an Application
                  WhatsThisHelp Property
                  WhatsThisMode Method
                  WhatsThisHelpID Property
                  WhatsThisButton Property
                  ShowWhatsThis Method

  4. Creating HTML Help
           HTML Help Source File Structures
           Creating and Compiling an HTML Help File Project With HTML Help Workshop
                  The HTML Project Header File
                  HTML Help Source Files for Extensive Help (HelpContextID)
                  Topic Files and the [FILES] Section
                  Mapping Files, Topic IDs, and the [ALIAS] and [MAP] Sections
                  The Index File
                  The Contents File
                  HTML Help Source Files for WhatsThisHelp


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