Online Help

Macromedia does not approve any extension that doesn't include some sort of online help as part of its interface. Help text must contain at least an explanation of each field or value the user can control, and/or a procedure describing how to use the extension. If the extension is relatively simple, a few sentences can be added to the bottom of the dialog box. If the dialog box uses tabbed layers , the Help can exist in a special Help layer. Otherwise, there must be a Help button.

Short Help

If the amount of help a user needs can fit at the bottom of your dialog box, place it there. To do this, adjust your dialog box's layout table as follows :

  1. Create a table cell at the bottom of the dialog box to contain the help text.

  2. Assign the cell a bgcolor of #D3D3D3 (a slightly darker shade of gray than the rest of the dialog box will be given).

Figure B.18 shows short online help at the bottom of a dialog box.

Figure B.18. The dialog box for the CourseBuilder extension, showing short help text (in addition to a Help button) added to the dialog box layout.


Tabbed Help Layer

There are no requirements for creating help in a layer, other than the requirements and suggestions for creating tabbed layouts in general (see preceding ). If the help is placed here rather than at the bottom of the dialog box, it must be more substantial than a few sentences' worth of information.

Help Button

For objects and behaviors, Help buttons are automatically added to dialog boxes when you define the displayHelp() function. For commands, you create a local function to display help, and include a Help button in the commandButtons() function. When a user clicks a Help button, one of three things must happen:

  • An alert window appears, containing the help text.

  • An HTML page containing help opens in the user's browser. This page can be on the Internet, accessed using an absolute URL, or it can be stored locally in a custom folder you have created in the Configuration/Shared folder.

  • A hidden layer appears, containing the help text. (This is slightly different from using a tabbed Help layer. The dialog box needn't use the tabbed layer interface to have a Help layer appear.)

  • Dreamweaver activates the operating system's built-in Help application, which displays one or more pages of help text.

Figure B.19 shows a properly formatted Help button in action.

Figure B.19. A dialog box containing a Help button, and the actions that will occur if it is clicked.


Dreamweaver MX Extensions
Dreamweaver MX Extensions
ISBN: 0735711828
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2001
Pages: 141
Authors: Laura Gutman

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