Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adding Help Feature to Custom Builders

Portlet factory has a great feature which allows creation of custom builders, fantastic for extending the already rich set of builders provided by the tool. Sometimes these custom builders are used to encapsulate business specific functionality to be shared across an organization and providing some help documents can accelerate their adoption.
Adding custom help files that integrate with the designer is quite easy, just take a look at the builder definition file and you'll find a HelpFile element:

  <HelpFile>WEB-INF/builders/com/dsixe/builders/doc/schemagen_builder.htm</HelpFile>

The developer can specify a location for html help that will be tied to the help button on the builder. I like to follow the same look and feel of the stock builder help, so I usually start with an existing file which can be found in {WPF_INSTALL}\Designer\eclipse\plugins\com.bowstreet.designer.doc_*\designer and copy it to my local project.
Using this approach I can put together some really professional looking documentation to support the hard work I put into creating the builders.

An example builder definition file can be found in the attachment for my previous post Variables and Schemas in Portlet Factory.
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