Common Desktop Environment: Help System Author's and Programmer's Guide

Viewing a Help Volume

The Help Viewer can be used to display any help volume. It supports all types of hyperlinks except application-defined links (because it cannot know how your links are to be interpreted).

If you are writing application help and your application is ready to use, you can also view your help by running your application, then requesting help just as a user would.

To Display a Help Volume

  1. Open File Manager and change to the directory where the volume.sdl file is located.

  2. Double-click its icon.

    The default action displays the file using the Help Viewer.

To Run the dthelpview Command Manually

    If the volume.sdl file for the volume you want to display is either in the current directory or has been registered, execute this command:

dthelpview -helpVolume volume.sdl 

Or, if the volume.sdl is in another directory (and hasn't been registered), execute this command:

dthelpview -helpVolume /full-path/volume.sdl 

The -helpVolume parameter can be shortened to -h in any of these commands.


Suppose you just edited your help volume. First, process it with the HelpTag software:

dthelptag MyVolume

If no errors occurred, you could then display it with this command:

dthelpview -h MyVolume.sdl

See Also

Example: A Personal Help Directory

During a project, you may want to access the help volume you are developing, but not expose it to all users on your system. For example, suppose your working directory is /projects/help and your help volume is named Myvolume.

First, create the personal help directory in your home directory where you can register the volume:

mkdir -p $HOME/.dt/help/C

Now create a symbolic link to the Myvolume.sdl file (which is created by the HelpTag software):

ln -s /projects/help/Myvolume.sdl $HOME/.dt/help/C/Myvolume.sdl

You can now display the volume with the following command (regardless of your current directory) because the.dt/help/C directory within your home directory is one of the first places the Help System looks for help volumes.

dthelpview -helpVolume Myvolume