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Creating HTML Help - The Contents File

The Contents file (*.hhc) provides a Table of Contents that the user of the compiled Help file can view in order to navigate the HTML Help file's topics (see Figure 7.24).

The Contents of an HTML Help file as seen by the end user.
FIGURE 7.24 The Contents of an HTML Help file as seen by the end user.

Listing 7.5 provides a simple example of a Contents file.

LISTING 7.5
A SAMPLE HTML HELP CONTENTS FILE

<HTML>
<HEAD>
</HEAD><BODY>
<UL>
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Personal information">
</OBJECT>
<UL>
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Gender">
<param name="Local" value="html\Gender.htm">
</OBJECT>
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Marital Status">
<param name="Local" value="html\maritalstatus.htm">
</OBJECT>
</UL>
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Benefits">
</OBJECT>
<UL>
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Medical Insurance">
<param name="Local" value="html\Medicalinsurancestatus.htm">
</OBJECT>
</UL>
</UL>
</BODY></HTML>

Like an Index file, a Contents file is really a specialized HTML file that also uses the same HTML format as the Index file, that of the unnumbered list of OBJECTS (with standard HTML tags such as <UL>…</UL>, <LI>…</LI>, and <OBJECT>…/OBJECT>).

Also like an Index file, a Contents file is optional. As the Listing illustrates, the lists in Contents files differ from those of Index files because Contents lists can be nested in various levels of depth. This nesting then implements subsections and sub-subsections in the Table of Contents.

Each OBJECT of type "text/sitemap" in the unnumbered HTML can represent a topic with a single Table of Contents entry pointing to it. For example in the listing, we see that the Help topic furnished by the file MedicalInsuranceStatus.htm is referred to by the Table of Contents entry "Medical Insurance." You can add a reference to a Contents file to your project by using the Files tab on the Project Options dialog (available from the Change Project Options icon on the main screen of the HTML Help Workshop).

You can automatically create and maintain a Contents file using the Contents tab on the main project screen.


  

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