Saturday, August 21, 2010

DocBook WebHelp Project

DocBook WebHelp was the project I worked on for the Google Summer of Code 2010 program. Pencil down date for it was on 16th August, 2010, which means the Coding officially finished on that day. So, I with my mentor David Cramer finished all the requirements planned, and wrote all the documentation needed. Results was announced today, 21st August by Google Open Source Program team; I successfully finished the project :)

The demo of the output produced by WebHelp XSL customization is available on following link. The demo shown is the documentation of DocBook WebHelp.

The latest output in the snapshots have lot more features and looks quite beautiful compared to the released version. Do have a look -

WebHelp Output

WebHelp Search tab
You can download DocBook installation from,

The Webhelp customization is available under, docbook-xsl-ns-1.76.1/webhelp. Following is some brief details about the DocBook WebHelp customization.

A common requirement for technical publications groups is to produce a Web-based help format that includes a table of contents pane, a search feature, and an index similar to what you get from the Microsoft HTML Help (.chm) format or Eclipse help. If the content is help for a Web application that is not exposed to the Internet or requires that the user be logged in, then it is impossible to use services like Google to add search.

DocBook WebHelp provides a browser-independent, platform-independent documentation “Web Help” output format for DocBook files. WebHelp provides a sophisticated but inexpensive web publishing option for DocBook.

  • Full text search.
    • Stemming support for English, French, and German. Stemming support can be added for other languages by implementing a stemmer.
    • Support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean using code from the Lucene search engine.
    • Search highlighting shows where the searched for term appears in the results. Use the H button to toggle the highlighting on and off.
  • Search results can include brief descriptions of the target.
  • Table of Contents (TOC) pane with collapsible toc tree.
  • Autosynchronization of content pane and TOC.
  • TOC and search pane implemented without the use of a frameset.
  • An Ant build.xml file to generate output. You can use this build file by importing it into your own or use it as a model for integrating this output format into your own build system.

So, what do you think of the output? Are you interested to give it a try?

Follow up of my posts related to DocBook WebHelp are here
Follow up of my posts related to DocBook are here

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