I beleive at this time there are only two options for online help in Delphi applications:
1. Microsoft HTML Help. CHM files, connected with Delphi via HTMLHelpViewer.pas. Still not bad, but:
- has some serious security problems – Windows blocks CHM files downloaded from network locations so you’ll have to jump around a little to make it work.
- not fully Unicode-compatible
- format is private and not transparent.
2. WebHelp. The better choice, but different end-user browser settings disabling JavaSscript or something like that is a real pain in the a$$.
Finally I got tired of all this stuff and… I created my own help system called MajorMindHelp. Currently it is almost functionally identical to CHM, but:
1. Has no security limitations
2. Compiles right into Delphi application, no other tools required to view it, except WebBrowser component
3. Integrates into Delphi help system, e.g. it implements HelpViewer interfaces and registers itself as a HelpViewer, so you can use it as any other help viewer (HTMLHelpViewer for example)
4. Fully Unicode and with multiple languages in one project file, that can be switched programmatically.
5. Transparent help file format (zip-packaged HTML with XML).
Initially I created it for myself, so it partly relies on some private libraries (mine and 3rd party) that can not be made public/free/open source. After some private talks I decided to make it public because there’s definiteley a need for it. But… I want to make it in the Kickstarter.com way. Rewriting the code will take some time, and because I ran my own microISV business I can’t just give my time away. And because those who will use it most likely will need a tool to create it (or not, the file format is transparent, you can create it yourself) why not to ask them to purchase it upfront.
In short: to make it public I need to sell at least 50 one-user licenses, 249USD each. Normally this is the price of a one-user license with one year of updates, but this fundraiser prices are for Lifetime licenses (e.g. 50% off). Besides that, those who will take part in this fundraiser will form a “committee” that will control and direct the development (like what Delphi versions to support, what features to add in the first place and so on).
Where can I see your MajorMindHelp?
Current version of Helpinator (3.10) uses it for it’s own help (click F1), is capable of compiling it and has a stand-alone viewer to view it. You can download it here:
You can download and check out stand alone demo viewer (run RunME!.bat):
Read this post if you are interested in how to connect it with your application:
What if fundraiser fails?
You can get a refund if you wish to.
What is the deadline?
March 1st for the fundraiser and April 1st for development.
How to take part?
Buy Helpinator using one of the following links:
Preferred (PayPal): Go to PayPal
Secondary (Plimus/Bluesnap, use DELPHI coupon code): https://www.plimus.com/jsp/buynow.jsp?contractId=3134258
Are you going to inform us about the progress?
Yes, on this blog OR Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/majormindhelp/