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Developing Help Systems with Oracle Help
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1 Introduction to Oracle Help

This chapter introduces Oracle Help technologies, Oracle Help for Java and Oracle Help for the Web. It also provides an overview of developing and displaying HTML-based help systems for Java-based environment applications and web applications.

This chapter includes the following sections:

1.1 About Oracle Help

Oracle Help technologies can be categorized into two: Oracle Help for Java and Oracle Help for the Web. Authors can create a single help system that can be displayed—without modification—both in a Java environment, using Oracle Help for Java (OHJ); and in a web environment, using Oracle Help for the Web. Alternatively, authors can just use Oracle Help for Java to create a help system for a Java environment application, or use Oracle Help for the Web to create a help system for a web environment application. Oracle Help for the Web is available in two versions: Oracle Help for the Web and Oracle Help for the Web – UIX.

Throughout this guide, Oracle Help is used when the comments apply to both Oracle Help for Java and Oracle Help for the Web. OHJ is used when the comments apply only to Oracle Help for Java. OHW is used when the comments apply only to Oracle Help for the Web.

1.2 Oracle Help for Java

Oracle Help for Java is a set of Java components, a Java API, and a file formats specification for developing and displaying HTML-based help content in a Java environment. OHJ is designed primarily for displaying help for Java applications, although it can also be implemented as a standalone document viewer for use in a Java environment.

The Oracle Help for Java Developer's Kit (OHJDK) includes the OHJ technology plus tools and documentation for developing context-sensitive help for Java applets and applications. This includes the following:

  • Java components: OHJ includes a set of default Java user interface components that comprise a complete help system, with a table of contents, index, search, and topic windows

  • API: The OHJ API includes features for implementing context-sensitive help, for programmatically controlling how help is displayed (size, position, and so on), and for customizing and extending the help system. For example, you can replace a default component with your own, create custom controls, or embed selected components in an application

  • Documentation: Documentation includes this developer's guide, plus the API reference (provided as JavaDoc documentation).

  • Helpset Authoring Wizard: The Helpset Authoring Wizard helps you create Oracle Help control files without using a third-party authoring tool.

For more information about OHJ features, see Chapter 2, "Oracle Help for Java User Interface".

1.3 Oracle Help for the Web

Oracle Help for the Web, also known as Oracle Help for the Web – Rich Client (OHW-RC) because of its rich interface, delivers HTML-based Help content in a Web environment. It uses the Oracle Application Developer Framework (ADF), which is based on the Java Server Faces (JSF) technology, to build a user interface that follows Oracle's Browser Look And Feel Plus (BLAF+) behaviors and guidelines.

The Oracle Help for the Web can be used in many different situations:

  • As a help system providing context-sensitive Help to a rich client application in a new browser window

  • As a standalone document viewer of Help content on a public website

  • When a user performs a search on any popular search engine and the results link to indexed Oracle Help for the Web content

  • When an ADF Faces component's runtime implementation requires to retrieve Embedded Help information (Definition Text, Instructions Text, or Full Help) using the HelpProvider interface it defines

Oracle Help for the Web includes the following:

  • The Oracle Help for the Web Front Servlet: This is installed on a Web server, which enables Oracle Help for the Web to support URL syntax for context sensitive help requests. It also enables an easy configuration to support multiple Oracle Help for the Web helpsets in a single web application.

  • The Oracle Help for the Web Servlet Filter: This is used to preprocess requests sent to the JSF servlet.

  • Documentation: Documentation includes this developer's guide.

1.4 Oracle Help in Oracle JDeveloper

Besides being used for the internal JDeveloper help system itself, JDeveloper includes the Oracle Help for Java runtime library, so if you are developing Java applications with JDeveloper, it is easy to include OHJ as the Java help system technology. For more information, see Chapter 12, "Introduction to Oracle Help for Java Developer's Kit".

JDeveloper does not include the Oracle Help for the Web. You can obtain it, and the complete Oracle Help for Java development kit, from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

1.5 Oracle Help Licensing and Support

As a service to the customers and the software community, Oracle provides Oracle Help software and support for free. This includes both Oracle Help for Java and Oracle Help for the Web.

Oracle Help is available for free and may be redistributed as the help system for your application. For full information, see the license distributed with the release.

Post your questions on the Oracle Help Technologies Forum on the Oracle Technology Network.