Adobe DITA World 2018
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Adobe DITA World 2018

Dynamic Help in Visual Studio .NET

by Tom Johnson on Jan 9, 2007
categories: general

Dynamic help is help that automatically shows help for the page the user is on. The user does not need to click anything (if the help pane is showing) for the help associated with that page to appear. If you have Flare and turn on its dynamic help, you can see an example.

The following image automatically shows the help pane that corresponds to the Style editor.

dynamic help

When you move to the Topic tab, where the XML editor is available, the dynamic help pane automatically shows the help for the XML editor.

dynamic help two

On the one hand, automatically showing the help relevant to the page makes the help immediate and relevant. On the other hand, if you leave the help pane exposed, the constantly changing topics might be a little distracting. In that case, there's a push-pin that you click to auto-hide the pane.

If you've written dynamic help, I'd like to interview you on Tech Writer Voices (email me at [email protected]). I'm wondering how hard dynamic help is to implement, whether users find it useful or annoying, and the different ways you integrate it with your applications.

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