What's New

Version 5.38

January 25th, 2024

  • Add Base WebSite Address To Configuration and Show On WebSite
    The Topic and Upload menus now have an option to Open on Web Site which opens the topic on a published Web site, if the Web site is configured in Settings using the Web Site Base Url.

  • Script Embedding for Output Rendering
    You can now embed <script> tags into your Markdown text that allows you to run script content in your help topics. However, script tags are removed from the Previewer (due to the obsolete WebBrowser control that's used for rendering) and the scrip only shows up in output generated in the External Web Preview or in generated site build output.

Version 5.35

April 23rd, 2023

  • Updated Editor and Markdown Parsers
    Update to latest versions of the editor and Markdown parsers to fix a handful of small errors.

  • Template Updates
    Tweak GitHub and Dharkan templates. GitHub was updated to match recent changes on the GitHub site.

  • Fix: Timing issues with Preview
    Fix a number of timing issues where the preview was not correctly updating on changes or clicks into the document. Optimized rendering for large documents to minimize CPU overload.

Version 5.33

June 1st, 2021

  • Updated Web Search Display for Table of Contents
    Updated the way search results are displayed as a flat list rather than tree as before. This drastically reduces clutter and actually visible topics.

  • Topic Content Search Added for Web Table of Contents
    The TOC now has a title based 'Simple' search which works as before by directly searching title text (and ids) only. There's a new 'Detailed' mode which is an indexed search that returns results from title, content, keywords and Ids and returns weighted results based on occurrances in topics, proximity etc. You can also use multiple search terms, require search terms (+first +second) and using wildcard (*) characters.

  • Editor Inline Syntax Highlighting
    The editor now highlights inline code snippets for csharp, powershell, json, and foxpro in addition to the built-in modes of html, javascript, css, xml, and css.

  • Graph API Meta Tags for Topics
    The default templates now add Graph API meta tags to each topic page, to make linking of Web content automatically more attractive for social media links back into your content.

  • New Projects now add a favicon.ico Placeholder
    New projects now get a favicon.ico file with the default Help Builder icon in the root folder as a placeholder to remind you to create a custom favicon.ico to display for your site.

Breaking Changes
  • Update your Render Templates
    The search and list changes in the Web Output require changes in the rendering templates and scripts to work correctly. Please update your templates in Tools-> Options-> Update Templates.

Version 5.30

October 23rd, 2020

  • Import From Markdown Files
    You can now create a new project or import to an existing project, a folder of Markdown files. If you have a Github repo just a plain folder full of Markdown files for documentation you can now import those files into Help Builder. HB picks up the hierarchy based on folder structure, imports the file content as markdown content and pulls in the title from the document, front matter or the file name. Available on File -> Import -> Import from Markdown Files.

  • Updated Code Badge in Themes
    The code badge that shows language and code the copy link now show several of the syntax items with properly fixed up full names rather than the extensions that might be used on the fenced code block header.

  • Links in Preview Editor open in System Browser
    Any external http or https links you click now open in your default Web Browser rather than Internet Explorer previously.

  • Improved Menu and Toolbar Handling
    The toolbar handling in Help Builder has been less than optimal in the past with clicks to the toolbar in particular often 'not taking' unless you hover over options briefly. Change the way the menu control handles activation events which should provide better click reliability.

  • Fix: CodePage display in TreeView
    Fix issue with some languages where the display in the TreeView would display incorrectly encoded content in the treeview. Now explicitly set the character set for the treeview to match the currently active CodePage in the application.

  • Fix: Bug with Spellchecker
    Fix spellchecking selection dropdown that would cause an error when the drop down is supposed to open.

Version 5.25

May 8th, 2020

  • Improve Editor Performance
    Update editor text processing logic to improve overall performance especially on larger documents. Preview refreshes are now better optimized and use both preview and scroll position updates to maximize preview refresh. Also very large documents now increase the preview refresh timeout to avoid overly eager preview refresh.

  • New Bookmark Dialog
    Refactored the bookmark dialog to make reference link embedding more visual and and quicker. New look for the form and a number of small tweaks.

  • Many small Bug Fixes
    This release is mostly a maintenance release but there are many small improvements and fixes that improve overall performance and reliability especially in the editor.

  • Topic Time To Read
    For content topic types like TOPIC, HEADER etc. there's now a small tag at the top that estimates the time to read for a given topic.

  • Small Template Updates
    There are many small enhancements in the various templates for improved rending Please make sure you update your templates

Version 5.21

October 25th, 2019

  • Fix: Search Dialog Crash
    Fix issue with the search dialog crashing due to a missing UI component.

  • Fix: Progress Bar Issues
    Fix a number of issues related to the progress bar not displaying progress properly.

Version 5.20

September 20th, 2019

  • Performance and Stability Improvements
    Updated to the latest version of Ace Editor which provides a smoother editing experience. Also updated the syncing mechanism which has been causing slow typing and lockup problems with larger pages.

  • Updated Script Templates
    Code snippets now show the syntax and a Copy Code button on the right hand side of a code snippet. There have also been some slight adjustments in the various theme templates to provide smoother font sizes color defaults. Overall very minor, but improve readability.

Version 5.17

April 17th, 2019 • Release Post

  • HREF link now properly remembers External Link Default
    The external link dialog now properly remembers its External Link setting that is remembered from the last setting used. This option determines whether a Markdown link or HTML link is embedded and whether the link has an embedded target attribute that opens in an external window. Help Build now automatically opens links in an external browser in the generated browser output without requiring an explicit target tag but that is handled as part of the rendering template.

  • Open in Markdown Monster
    You can now open a document in Markdown Monster if it is installed. This option opens a temporary document in Markdown Monster and lets you re-sync the document from the modified content without using Cut and Paste operations with a dialog that stays open in Help Builder. A dialog prompts you on whether to import the modified content. This is a preliminary implementation using a plain dialog - future versions will improve the UI experience inside of Help Builder. MM provides a few additional features over Help Builder's editor.

  • Insert TemplateHelpers from Edit Menu
    There are now a couple of menu options for inserting a Child Topics list or Child Topics table. Find them at Edit -> Template Helpers. These embed helper expressions that render all child topics as either a list or table and can be added to any topics that have child topics to quickly display subtopics.

  • Fix: Bug that caused the Build Dialog To Crash
    Fixed issue with the build dialog that would not open and crash when opening when Html Help Workshop was not installed. Thanks for several of you reporting this issue and providing feedback to track down and fix this issue.

  • Fix: Fix Image Pathing
    Fix a number of issues related to image pathing when embedding images both through the image file dialog or when pasting images into the editor from the clipboard. Images are now properly dealing with spaces in image file names. Images embedded from external paths now properly prompt to save the image in a project relative folder with the proper adjusted path.

  • Fix: FontAwesome Icons in Local Web Preview
    Fix issue where FontAwesome icons were not showing up due to missing Mime types in the local httpsys Web Server.

Version 5.16

February 19th, 2019

  • Improved, more efficient Spell Checking Algorithm
    Changed the way spell checking is performed by caching words as they are spell checked reducing round trips between the editor and the application. This should improve performance especially with larger documents.

  • New Copy Web Output Files
    Added a new output option that allows you to export all necessary generated Web files output to a dedicated Web ready folder that can be hosted as a static Web site. This option - like the Web Zip File Output - publishes all files needed to run your content as a static Web site. This new option is useful if you publish your files locally to a folder to be published as part of a larger Web application or GitHub Pages as part of a Git Repository.

  • Add HelpBuilderConsole WEBSERVER to Preview Project Web Output
    Help Builder projects cannot be previewed from the file system due to dynamic loading of content which browsers do not support from local files. So to preview the generated HTML Web Project you have to run through a Web server. Help Builder includes a built-in Web Server via Tool->Open Html Project in Web Browser, but now you can also do this independently from the Command line via HelpBuilderConsole WebServer -p "<pathToOutput>".

  • Updated Build Wizard and Completion Dialog
    The build dialog now defaults to HTML only output. You can opt in to generate a CHM help file via extra radio button selection. The output dialog now groups the Web output options and the Help File options into separate areas so it's a little clearer what's what.

  • Updated Bookmark Dialog
    Updated the UI of the Bookmark dialog to be more clear and less cluttered. Fixed a few activation issues.

  • Fix Focus issues with various Dialogs
    Fixed a number of focus related issues with pop up dialogs that pop over the Help Builder main window content. Less flashing and fixed issues with a number of windows popping up behind the main window.

Version 5.15

February 19th, 2019

  • Add Time to Read to Topic Content
    Topics now have a time to read note at the topic that estimate how long it takes to read a topic. Updated in templates.

  • Add Markdown SoftBreak via Shift-Enter
    You can now insert line breaks (soft break) in paragraphs by pressing shift-enter. This injects two spaces at the end of the line plus the carriage return and line feed.

  • More Editor Performance Enhancements
    Fix several issues with the spellchecking algorithm that made larger documents considerably slower than they should be. Typing in larger documents should now work much better. Spell checker now only checks a small portion of the document.

  • Spell Checking: Skip over URLs and HTML Element Tags
    URLs in Markdown are no longer spell checked and won't flag for spell checking errors. Additional checks for skipping over HTML attributes and tags. Some efficiency improvements in the spell checking process.

  • Preview Enhancements
    Broke out preview rendering logic so that partial content is now replaced on page updates rather than replacing the entire document. Simplified the update logic which should now perform significantly faster for refresh operations and with less impact on the editor.

  • New Link Dialog
    Added a new simpler link dialog that lets you embed links into the markdown content. The new dialog also focuses properly unlike the old dialog. We're in the process of updating more of the dialogs in future updates to work around the focus issues.

  • HTTP links now open in a new Tab or External Browser in preview
    Any external HTTP links accessed in the editor are now automatically opened in an external browser.

  • Web Output SearchBox now Focused On Load
    The search box on the generated Web Table of Contents is now focused when the help file is first loaded. This makes it easier to search simply by typing a search phrase, even if the search box is not visible because the tree is navigated to a topic further down the page.

  • Fix: Preview Rendering Failures
    Fix problem where the preview refresh would occasionally crash causing a loHTML is not an Object error. Fixed various issues surrounding the Preview refresh that should eleviate some of the deadlock situations and when errors do occur skip the preview cycle rather than erroring.

Breaking Changes for 5.15

  • Script and Template Updates - Update your Templates!
    Most of the changes in this version rely on a number of small scripting changes in _layout.wcs and wwhelp.js that handle preview content updates and detect changes to the document. Make sure to update your templates in Tools->Options->Update Templates. As always, templates are backed up into a backup folder so you can compare changes using a diff tool.

Version 5.09

June 17th, 2018

  • Topic Outline for Rendered HTML
    HTML output now displays a document outline on the right side of the document on large screens. Displays a list of links to topic sub-heads along with a placeholder indicator of location in the document.

  • Ftp Improvements
    The FTP Table of Contents Upload now also uploads the style sheet and support script file to the Web site, so any CSS and scripting changes can be updated without re-uploading the entire site with a full site upload. Fixed a few issues with image uploads.

  • JSON Export for Projects
    You can now export your Help Builder Project file into a flat JSON document. The document is not hierarchical but includes the flat table structure that is used internally to store Help Builder topics.

  • Editor Performance Improvements
    We've continued to improve performance of the editor. Most of the improvements come from using a newer version of ACE Editor inside, as well as a host of tweaks to the dirty checking and spell checking operations in the editor.

  • Spell Checking improvements
    Better context detection in the text: Ignoring inline code blocks and HTML tags.

Version 5.08

April 10th, 2018

  • New VsCodeDark Editor Theme
    We've added a new Visual Studio Code Dark Theme that mimics the default VS Code theme. You can configure the theme in the Editor configuration tab in Options -> Content Editor.

  • Sidebar Header Links in Topic Output
    Topics now display a sidebar on the righ in large sizes (1200px+) to show all headers in the current document for a topic level table of content.

  • Theme Updates
    Update themes for blockquotes, classes member lists and class icons, as well as improvements to the new document outline sidebar.

  • Updated Theme Icons
    We've switched to simpler and more flexible icons both inside of the application as well as in the browser. The Editor and HTML output now use separate icons with larger and resized PNG icons used in the Web output.

  • Code Rendering Improvements
    Updated code rendering for legacy code. Legacy code now displays in more nicely formatted view. Updated code rendering for non-language specific code. Added Visual Studio Code dark code theme (vs2015) and applied to Dharkan theme.

  • Updated Topic Type Icons
    Switched to more modern icons to display for various topic types. Topics used in HTML are now png files while the application continues to use matching .gif files.

  • Editor Performance Improvements
    We added many more tweaks to the editor to improve typing performance in the main editor. You should see less stuttering even on very large topics and with spell checks enabled.

  • Improved Topic Preview Rendering
    The topic preview is now more efficient at rendering content in the background, not blocking while updating. Preview refreshing now highlights the current paragraph or header and scrolls to the active rendered position.

  • Show Whitespace Editor Option
    You can now specify Show Whitespace in the editor options that will show you spaces, tabs and linefeeds in the editor as you type.

  • Line Height Editor Option
    You can now specify the line height for the editor to allow spacing between lines. The default has been opened up to line height of 1.3 which makes longer text block more readable.

  • Improved Topic Markdown Upgrade
    When upgrading from older versions of Help Builder you can now more reliably convert topics from the old HTML like syntax to markdown. Many update fix a number of common edge case conversions of lists, code, headers, note boxes and few other custom features common in the old templates.

  • Upload Image Folder
    The Upload toolbar now includes an additional option to upload images to the server in addition to individual topic and table of contents uploads. If you are updating topics individually and also updating images you can now push just the images. Pre-existing images that haven't changed are not uploaded again. This allows images to be uploaded without having to republish the entire site.

  • Table of Contents Upload now sends Project Style Sheet
    The Table of Content upload also uploads wwhelp.css which allows uploading updated styling without having to upload the entire site. Both of these improvements make it easier to publish individual topics as they are changed. At this point the only thing that requires a full project recompile is a _layout.wcs template change to the master template that affects all topics.

  • Support for .NET 4.7.x and .NET Standard Assemblies Imports
    Switched to use .NET 4.7 to allow imports for .NET 4.7 and earlier assemblies to be imported.

Breaking Changes for 5.06

  • Script and Template Updates - Update your Templates!
    This version adds mandatory script changes in _layout.wcs and wwhelp.js that handle preview content updates and detect changes to the document. Make sure to update your templates in Tools->Options->Update Templates. As always, templates are backed up into a backup folder so you can compare changes.

Version 5.04

  • Maintenance Release
    This release fixes a number of small issues and improves performance and stability of the editor. The main focus has been on stability of the editor and making the Preview work more smoothly and keep in sync with editor content.

  • Preview Rendering Improvements
    The preview renderer is now dynamically updating content for a smoother, less resource intensive preview refresh operation. Preview sync is more precise and you're less likely to see janky page rendering on refreshes. The active line is also highlighted.

  • Theming Update for Darkhan and GitHub Themes
    There have been some subtle adjustments to the Darkhan and Github themes for font sizes, spacing around lists and quotes and slightly softer primary text/background colors. Themes have been trimmed down a little to make them easier to modify.

  • Search Box Improvements in Web Output
    The Web templates have a few improvements in the Web Search box. The box now has an embedded X to clear the content search text content quickly. Clearing the content causes the filter to be released and focusing on the previously selected topic in context.

Version 5.02

August 18th, 2017

  • Topic Content Navigation Fix
    Fixed issue where topic links inside of a topic (cross links) would not appropriately update the browser's address bar. Fixed.

  • Many small UI Fixes
    There have been many small UI fixes. The tree has been updated to handle more efficient quick searches. The new topic dialog now properly trims titles and other values entered. Many Markdown editor focus quirks have been fixed.

  • Fix: Markdown Rendering for Code Snippets
    There have been a number of fixes for rendering Markdown content that includes embedded Help Builder scripts (like <%= ChildTopicsList() %> for example). Most helper functions now also don't require parameters.

Breaking Changes for 5.02

  • Script Updates - Make sure to update your Templates!
    This version adds mandatory script changes in _layout.wcs and wwhelp.js that handle preview content updates and detect changes to the document. Make sure to update your templates in Tools->Options->Update Templates. As always, templates are backed up and a _layout_old.wcs file is created for you to use a diff tool with. There are also a number of changes in wwhelp.css.

Version 5.01

May 25th, 2017

  • Spell Checking Improvements
    The spellchecker now only spell checks the active text that is on screen and a buffer area before and after the visible text. This improves editor performance on large documents as spell checks only affect a small portion of the entire document.

  • Support for Image Pasting
    You can now paste images from the clipboard into Markdown content. Simply copy an image to the clipboard from your browser or image editing program, and then ctrl-v into the active markdown document at the location you want to embed the image.

  • PNG Image Compression
    When pasting images into the editor or adding images by filename in the image dialog, images saved as PNG are automatically compressed using optipng. Image compression occurs in the background and compressed images may not be available immediately.

  • Editor->Preview Scroll Sync
    The HTML Preview now stays in sync with the editor's content in most situations. To move the preview simply navigate in the edit document and the preview will reflect the approximate location of the text with the editor selection showing in the top quarter of the preview.

  • Html PreviewWindow Setting Remembered between Restarts
    The HTML Preview window setting is now remembered between restarts of the application. If you had the external preview open when you shut down, it will be opened when you start back up the next time.

Breaking Changes for 5.01

  • Script Updates - Make sure to update your Templates!
    This version adds mandatory script changes in _layout.wcs and wwhelp.js that handle preview content updates and detect changes to the document. Make sure to update your templates in Tools->Options->Update Templates. As always, templates are backed up and a _layout_old.wcs file is created for you to use a diff tool with.

Version 5.0

February 7th, 2017

  • Support for Markdown Editor Format
    The text editor's for main content, remarks and code examples now support Markdown text. Help Builder topics can be set to use Markdown syntax or the old Help Builder format via a switch on the Main form. The view mode is applied to body, remarks and example fields by default and any other fields that use < %= FormatHtml() % > or < %= FormatCode() % > in the Markup template. Markdown is an easy to use text markup format that is optimized for quick text entry while typing, has support for raw HTML for additional formatting and is highly portable and very well supported in various developer and CMS solutions. Once created moving Markdown between environments is easy.

  • New Content Text Editor
    The text editor for editing the main content is now a separate rich text editor with many more features than the old editor. Syntax highlighting for Markdown and HTML formats, complete undo buffer support, find and replace, font sizing with scroll wheel or Ctrl-+/-. You can also access the same editor from other text fields like Notes, Examples and Class properties by pressing Alt-UpArrow.

  • Markdown and Help Builder Syntax Highlighting as you type
    Added new main text editor that supports syntax highlighting and more complete editing experience. Highlights Markdown syntax, HTML and Help Builder formats as well as code highlighting for various supported code snippets like JavaScript, HTML, CSS etc. when embedded in Markdown text.

  • As you type Spell-Checking
    The new editor also has support for spell checking as you type, using underlines to highlight mistyped text as you type. You can double click to get suggestions for words to replace misspelled words. The spell checker supports multiple languages out of the box and you can add custom dictionary files to support others.

  • Search and Search and Replace in Topic Text
    The rich editor window supports rich search and replace functionality in main topic content using the Ctrl-F and Ctrl-H shortcuts.

  • Topic Search Box
    You can now do a quick search on topics using the search box above the list of topics. Topics are instantly filtered to your search text based on the topic title.

  • Greater language Support for Syntax Colored Code Highlighting
    The templates now use AceEditor for syntax color highlighting and so support for a much larger number of code languages is supported in Help Builders code output. You can simply specify any of Ace Editors code languages. You can use code fencing followed by a language (example: ```csharp) to specify the code language. Common supported languages are shown from the Code insertion toolbox button.

  • New HTML Preview Windows
    There's now a smart preview window that syncs up with navigated topics or when you save your topic content. The window maintains its scroll position on refreshes and supports navigation of topics through the preview. There's also a new system browser preview that lets you see the topic in your configured Windows browser. The window now also respects minimizing and some operations like Screen Captures minimizing and restoring when the main window does.

  • FTP Topic and TableOfContents Upload
    In addition to uploading a complete compiled project via FTP, you can now also upload the current topic or the table of contents individually. This lets you quickly make corrections for individual topics without having to send the whole project up.

  • Direct PDF Output Generation
    You can now generate PDF documents directly from your help file using the same MSWord templates that you use to generate Word documents. As with Microsoft Word document output this feature requires MS Word 2010 or later.

  • Data Exports
    The content you create is your's and we believe you should be able to get your data out of Help Builder should you decide to use it elsewhere. You can export the Help Builder content data into XML or JSON.

  • Find Unreferenced Images and Resources
    A new option on the Tools menu shows you all image resources that have no matching links in the topics or templates. You can then optionally delete these images. Use this for image housekeeping which can become cumbersome on large projects.

© West Wind Techologies, 1996-2024 • Updated: 01/23/24
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