Browse Prior Art Database

Technique for Generating an Index for an Online Help Document

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000034486D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-27
Document File: 3 page(s) / 16K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hellie, DM: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

This technique improves IBM's DisplayWrite/36 (DW/36) program in allowing a user to build his online help document by providing the ability to let the user choose whether an index entry will be suffixed with page number references or outline heading section number references and the ability to automatically generate Help instructions at the beginning of the index and at the beginning of each section within the index. IBM's DW/36 program provides users the ability to generate their own online help documents. This is accomplished by first creating a document which contains all the help text. Afterwards, the user inserts help tags throughout this document to denote places to be browsed when the READINFO procedure is used. Help documents can be very large, sometimes large enough to need an index for referencing major topics.

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Technique for Generating an Index for an Online Help Document

This technique improves IBM's DisplayWrite/36 (DW/36) program in allowing a user to build his online help document by providing the ability to let the user choose whether an index entry will be suffixed with page number references or outline heading section number references and the ability to automatically generate Help instructions at the beginning of the index and at the beginning of each section within the index. IBM's DW/36 program provides users the ability to generate their own online help documents. This is accomplished by first creating a document which contains all the help text. Afterwards, the user inserts help tags throughout this document to denote places to be browsed when the READINFO procedure is used. Help documents can be very large, sometimes large enough to need an index for referencing major topics. An index had to be created manually in 4 steps: 1. Print the document initially. 2. Note what sections are found on what page.

3. Key in the index manually.

4. Insert a help tag for the whole index and one help

tag for each section within the index. Also, whenever the online help document was updated, the index had to be manually changed to reflect sections whose section number and/or page number changed. A function was needed that would make it easier to create and maintain an index for an online help document, and this technique thus provides the following abilities: 1. The ability to let the user specify whether an

index entry should reference a page number or an

outline heading level number. The online help

documents for the IBM System/36 products use the

heading level numbers.

2. The ability to automatically generate help tags at

the start of the index and at the start of each

index section. Previously, these tags were

manually inserted in the index of all online help

documents. To use this technique, the user inserts two kinds of instructions into the document. These instructions are: 1. The index entry instruction (.IE) which specifies

the text and other information needed to generate

an index entry.

2. The index instruction (.IX) which specifies where

the index will appear in the document. DW/36 needed a way to give the user the ability to reference the outline heading level numbers in the index. The user also needed the flexibility to mix types of references within the same index, with some entries referencing page numbers and others referencing outline heading level numbers. To solve this problem, an operand is added to the DW/36 index entry instruction. It allows the user to specify whether the current outline heading level number should be printed in the index instead of the current page number. In this way, the user can specify to print a page number for some index entry instructions and the outline heading level number for other index entry instructions.

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The operand is the seventh operand of the index entry instruction. The o...