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

Execution Aliases

When using execution links in a help volume, it is recommended to create execution aliases. That is, in the application's application defaults file you define an alias (a name) that represents the actual command to be executed. One advantage of this method is that it isolates the actual commands from the help volume source files. This makes it possible to edit the commands in the application defaults file without changing the hyperlinks in the help volume. Each hyperlink references an alias name, which remains unchanged even though its content may have been edited. For instance, a tutorial help volume that uses scripts could be easily customized to accommodate a particular shell environment by modifying the shell script commands in the application defaults file.

To Create an Execution Alias

To create an execution alias in an application's application defaults file, use this resource specification syntax:

application_name.executionAlias.alias_name: command



Name or class name of the application that owns the help volume


Keyword that identifies the resource is an alias


Name assigned to the command


Shell command or script to be executed for this link

There is no restriction on the length of the command string. To enter commands with multiple lines, end each line (except the last) with a \ (backslash).


This resource entry creates an execution alias named, StartDtterm, which starts a terminal emulator. The & (ampersand) starts the command in the background.

Dtterm.executionAlias.StartDtterm: dtterm &

This entry creates an alias named, xclockAlias, that executes the xclock application in an application named NightAlert.

NightAlert.executionAlias.xclockAlias: xclock &