The AnswerBook2 product is the Sun online documentation system. It uses a web-browser interface that lets you view and print a variety of SolarisTM information, including SGML-based AnswerBookTM collections, Display PostScriptTM AnswerBook collections, and man pages.
The AnswerBook2 product provides a search engine that lets you find information throughout the documentation library. You can install document collections on a centralized documentation server or on a local server.
Throughout the AnswerBook2 documentation, the term AnswerBook1 refers to the version of the AnswerBook product provided with pre-2.6 versions of the Solaris operating environment.
Uses a web-browser-based interface so that you can view online documentation from any platform (running any operating system), provided that your web browser supports HTML 3.2
Depending on your web browser's functionality, lets you copy information from AnswerBook2 documents and paste it into other locations, such as your command line
Provides a search interface for finding words and word phrases throughout the documentation library
Gives you the ability to print chapters and books directly from the AnswerBook2 interface in a PostScript format that is near print-quality output
Lets you view old and new AnswerBook documents using a single interface
Lets you define a subset of document collections (a Personal Library) to be displayed when using a specific document server
Allows you to choose a language in which to view on-screen instructions and Help information
Uses a client-server architecture that allows the documents to be stored in a single location (server) and accessed from the user's desktop (client)
Provides a command-line interface (CLI) and a browser-based interface (GUI) for performing administrative functions
The following list identifies the new or substantially enhanced features provided in this release of the AnswerBook2 software.
Man pages (Reference Manual) in AnswerBook2 format
Traditional UNIX®-style manual (man) pages are available in AnswerBook2 format. The search interface allows you to choose to search only the SGML-based man pages installed on the documentation server.
Support for multimedia content
If the document source includes audio or video files, the AnswerBook2 system lets you access them according to what you have defined in your browser for audio and video support.
Ability to run an AnswerBook2 server directly from the Solaris 7 Documentation CD (server administrators only)
You can run the AnswerBook2 server directly from the Solaris 7 Documentation CD using the ab2cd script, if you have the CD and you have root access to the system on which the CD is connected. For detailed information about this feature, see "To Run a Documentation Server From the Solaris 7 Documentation CD".
Ability to use various CGI-based web servers (server administrators only)
The AnswerBook2 server can run either as an NSAPI plug-in using the server that is included in the AnswerBook2 server packages or as a CGI-based application using any httpd server that supports CGI (such as Netscape ServerTM or Sun WebServerTM). For detailed information about changing to a CGI-based web server and some possible limitations, see "Running the AnswerBook2 Server as a CGI Process".
Ability to control display of style sheet errors (server administrators only)
To control whether the word "BUG" is displayed to the users in red when style sheet errors occur, turn on or off the AnswerBook2 debugging function. You set this when you start up the document server. For more information, see Starting and Stopping the Documentation Server in the AnswerBook2 Help.
The AnswerBook2 product consists of the following elements:
If you just want to view online documentation and you have access to a documentation server's URL, you only need this element. All other elements are part of the documentation server system (a machine on which the document collections are installed and which runs a web-based server to deliver them to you). If you do not have access to a documentation server at your site, you can view all released Solaris documentation at: http://docs.sun.com
A documentation server - Performs query functions and "serves" documents to the client browser. Includes templates that provide a common "look and feel" for document viewing and printing; and provides both web-browser and command-line administration interfaces that perform database, password authentication, and other administrative functions.
Document collections - Can be new (SGML) documents or old (Display PostScript) documents.
This section lists some common questions about the AnswerBook2 product along with answers to those questions.
What is AnswerBook2?
The AnswerBook2 product uses a standards-based document server to deliver online documentation through your favorite web browser. The AnswerBook2 interface lets you browse, search, and print a variety of Solaris information, including AnswerBook1 collections and man pages.
How is AnswerBook2 different from AnswerBook?
The previous AnswerBook product (now called AnswerBook1) used Display PostScript to display electronic versions of documents primarily developed for paper delivery. The AnswerBook2 product uses a web browser to display documentation developed for online delivery using SGML and to display existing AnswerBook1 documents.
Some key differences between the products are:
Web-browser interface - You can use any HTML 3.2-compliant browser on any platform to view online documentation with the AnswerBook2 product.
Source flexibility - The AnswerBook2 server can deliver AnswerBook1 (Display PostscriptTM) documents or AnswerBook2 (SGML) documents.
Client-server support - The AnswerBook2 product allows you to install the server and document collections in a central location and view the documents from other systems. In addition, it includes a "fail-over" mechanism in which the document administrator can define multiple documentation servers so that links between documents always work.
Cross-platform - For this release, the AnswerBook2 document server must run in the Solaris 7 operating environment (SPARC or Intel). However, AnswerBook2 clients can run on any platform, and future releases might provide server functionality on additional platforms.
Default search behavior - The AnswerBook2 product uses AND for its default search behavior rather than OR (the default search behavior in the AnswerBook1 product).
Can I still view my old AnswerBook collections with AnswerBook2?
Yes, unless your old AnswerBook documents were created before the release of the Solaris 2.2 operating environment. To add AnswerBook1 collections to the AnswerBook2 server's database, the document administrator uses the AnswerBook2 "add collection" function and points to the directory containing the AnswerBook1 ab_cardcatalog file.
Does AnswerBook2 provide the same functionality for AnswerBook1 and AnswerBook2 documents?
No. For consistency, the AnswerBook2 interface for AnswerBook1 documents is similar to the AnswerBook1 product interface. Thus, the AnswerBook2 product provides the following differences in functionality for AnswerBook1 and AnswerBook2 collections:
You cannot show or hide all levels of an AnswerBook1 table of contents listing; you can only show or hide details for a specific section within the table of contents.
AnswerBook1 content pages do not include Other Topics sections. To navigate from one page to another, you can use the Next Topic link or return to the table of contents and select another section in the book.
AnswerBook1 content pages display the entire chapter at one time, not smaller sections.
Search results icons poorly represent the probability of a match for AnswerBook1 information; the icons tend to be either completely filled or completely empty.
Search terms are not highlighted in AnswerBook1 text.
Some AnswerBook1 graphics cannot be displayed inline; they are identified by an icon that, when clicked displays a PostScript image of the graphic.
A Man Pages by Keyword search includes only the AnswerBook2 (SGML-based) man pages on the server, not the AnswerBook1 man pages.
The AnswerBook1 man pages use the same interface as other AnswerBook1 documents; they do not have a special man page interface.