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How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

(OP)
For some abstruse reason, I need to be able to invoke the VFP Help screen and do a search on an expression of choice from outside of the VFP IDE?

Dennis Kean

Simplicity is the extreme degree of sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

No problem. I do this all the time.

Just launch dv_foxhelp.chm, which is in the main VFP directory.

(I'm assuming you have VFP 9.0).

Mike

__________________________________
Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

(OP)
Thanks Mike. But I would like to also insert a string into the Search for it preemptively to seeing the help screen? Is there a way to do that maybe with Shell?

Dennis Kean

Simplicity is the extreme degree of sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

Sorry, Dennis. I missed the bit about opening the file and searching for an expression.

But you say you want to do this from outside the VFP IDE. So what mechanism would you use to capture the expression that you want to search for? You presumably have some sort of interface in which a user specifies the expression in question. If so, is that part of a VFP application? And, if so, why not programmatically open and search the Help file in VFP, using the HELP and SET TOPIC commands?

Admittedly, that won't let you search for an expression, but it will let you open the file at a given topic or page.

If that's not good for you, consider Olaf's suggestion of using Sendkeys.

Mike

__________________________________
Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

Quote (Mike)

what mechanism would you use to capture the expression that you want to search for? You presumably have some sort of interface in which a user specifies the expression in question.

That's a very good question, as it hints you would offer the interface the search offers on its own. Is that really helpful to offer the same functionality the helpfile offers itself? All you would need to offer is opening the help search function itself.

HELP keyword will do exactly the same as the VFP IDE does, when you select a keyword and press F1. including to either jump to the help topic or if the selected text is not a topic jump to search of that term.
So to emulate IDE behaviour HELP keyword is what you would do. Notice no string delimiters here, this has literally to be HELP &lcSear5chTerm, not Help lcSearchterm or HELP (lcSearchterm).

By the way - it seems you work on a VFP IDE replacement or at least want to offer the end user to program scripts in VFP. Do you know TEDIT?

In regard of distributing the help, you are lucky from the legal persepctive: The dv_foxhelp.chm is not among the files you are allowed to redistribute with a VFP application, but the help is really made open source and is a VFPX project anyway and is under a common very open license: http://vfpx.codeplex.com/license

That also means you should rather distribute the VFPX helpfile, not the original one. It is enhanced and has many fixes, so its's the better option anyway. Just remember to keep the copyright notices and reference to VFPX, now on codeplex, in the future rather to github.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

(OP)
Olaf,

Wow, everything I wanted to know and then some. Thank you my friend!

I solved the problem with all the suggestions I got from you guys.
SET TOPIC TO "Control MSN Messenger Sample"
HELP
_CLIPTEXT = "so and so" && This passes the keyword to the _CLIPTEXT for starting the search


So, I am using it in my own personal development Application, Olaf, to help me recall certain topics which are too big to remember in their entirety and to which I refer frequently. So rather than scratch my head and wonder what keyword was used to get a specific Help Topic, I have a list of Topics in a grid which I DoubleClick on and get the help I need in record time... CLICK CLICK!

It may seem trivial, but it saves me lots of time. I have a collection of Bookmarks, URLs, HELP Topics, Applications, actions, list of frequently used code, templates for HTML, JavaScript and what not... It is all grouped in a single DataBase which allows me to speed through data at a ferocious rate. I call it BOOKMARKS on Steroids.

Oly VFP man, only VFP!

Dennis Kean

Simplicity is the extreme degree of sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

Quote:

So, I am using it in my own personal development Application, Olaf, to help me recall certain topics which are too big to remember in their entirety and to which I refer frequently. So rather than scratch my head and wonder what keyword was used to get a specific Help Topic, I have a list of Topics in a grid which I DoubleClick on and get the help I need in record time... CLICK CLICK!

Sounds good, Dennis. But did you know that the Help system already has a similar feature built in? It's called "Favorites". It's the fourth tab in the left-hand pane in the Help viewer.

Mike

__________________________________
Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

RE: How to invoke the VFP Help outside of the VFP IDE

(OP)
Yes, and I use that enough. I have the INKEY() and a bunch of like functions there.
INKEY() has a list I consulf very frequently. You guys are truly on top of these things.
On my APP list, however, I have the ability to sort and search and get there without using VFP.
Ever had one of those random pop-up ideas about this and that?

But you are right that is just as useful when VFP IDE is open. Thank you for the thoughtful idea.

Dennis Kean

Simplicity is the extreme degree of sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

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