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Walkthrough: Creating Help Documentation

Walkthrough: Creating Help Documentation [AX 2012]

Updated: August 24, 2011

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

The Microsoft Dynamics AX Help system enables you to create documentation you can add to the Help server. In this walkthrough, you create a content element for the Customers form that supplements the existing Help documentation for that form.

This walkthrough illustrates the following tasks:

  • How to create an HTML document.

  • How to add required sections and other HTML elements that the Help viewer uses to display the document in the Help viewer.

  • How to use stylesheets to make the document resemble existing Help documentation.

  • How to add labels from the client user interface to your document.

  • How to add a table that lists and describes important concepts.

  • How to add links to other Help documentation.

  • How to save the document to a file that you can publish to the Help server.

To complete this walkthrough you have to have the following on your computer:

  • You have to have an HTML or text editor like Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 or a later version. The steps that follow use Visual Studio to create the HTML Help document. However, you can use other HTML or text editors that can produce an .htm or .html file.

  • Access to the Microsoft Dynamics AX Help server

This section of the documentation describes how to create the file and the HTML document you use for the content element. When you complete this section, you have a basic HTML document.

To Create the File

  1. Start Visual Studio 2008, click the File menu, and then click New File. The New File window opens.

  2. In the New File window, find the Categories list, and then click General. Review the list of Visual Studio installed templates, click Text File, and then click Open. A new text document opens in the editor window.

To Create the HTML Document

  1. Add a DOCTYPE element and specify the document type definition. The following table shows the document type declarations you use for an HTML document that appears in the Help viewer.

    Name

    Value

    TopElement

    html

    Availability

    PUBLIC

    Document type definition

    -//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN

    URL

    http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd

    The following code example adds the DOCTYPE and the required document type declarations.

    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"[]>
    
    
  2. Add an html element, add the dir attribute, and set the attribute value to ltr (left-to-right). While dir is not required, the Help viewer uses the specified value to optimize the appearance of that document. The following example adds the html element and dirto the document.

    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"[]>
    <html dir="ltr">
       
    </html>
    
    
  3. Add namespaces to the html element. To add a namespace, use xmlns, the name, and the URL or URN for that namespace. To provide definitions for custom elements, add the following namespaces.

    Caution noteCaution

    If you do not include each namespace, your document might not appear in the Help viewer.

    Namespace

    URL/URN

    xmlns:xlink

    http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

    xmlns:dynHelp

    http://schemas.microsoft.com/dynamicsHelp/2008/11

    xmlns:dynHelpAx

    http://schemas.microsoft.com/dynamicsHelpAx/2008/11

    xmlns:MSHelp

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/mshelp

    xmlns:mshelp

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/mshelp

    xmlns:ddue

    http://ddue.schemas.microsoft.com/authoring/2003/5

    xmlns:msxsl

    urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt

    The following example shows the HTML for the namespaces that are used in the document.

    <html DIR="LTR" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xmlns:dynHelp="http://schemas.microsoft.com/dynamicsHelp/2008/11" xmlns:dynHelpAx="http://schemas.microsoft.com/dynamicsHelpAx/2008/11" xmlns:MSHelp="http://msdn.microsoft.com/mshelp" xmlns:mshelp="http://msdn.microsoft.com/mshelp" xmlns:ddue="http://ddue.schemas.microsoft.com/authoring/2003/5" xmlns:msxsl="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt">
    
    
  4. Add the HTML head and body elements to the document. The following example shows the HTML for the document.

    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"[]>
    <html DIR="LTR" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xmlns:dynHelp="http://schemas.microsoft.com/dynamicsHelp/2008/11" xmlns:dynHelpAx="http://schemas.microsoft.com/dynamicsHelpAx/2008/11" xmlns:MSHelp="http://msdn.microsoft.com/mshelp" xmlns:mshelp="http://msdn.microsoft.com/mshelp" xmlns:ddue="http://ddue.schemas.microsoft.com/authoring/2003/5" xmlns:msxsl="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt">
       <head>
       </head>
          
       <body>
       </body>
    </html>
    
    

This section adds elements to the head section of the HTML document. The document head contains information that the document uses but does not appear in the Help viewer. The following sections add elements between the open and close tags of the head element that you added earlier.

To Add the Required Elements

  1. Add a meta element and set the http-equiv attribute to Content-Type. Set the content attribute to text/html; charset=UTF-8.

    Add a meta element and set name to save. Set the content attribute to history.

    The following example adds the meta elements. Notice how the first meta element specifies the document type. Also notice how the second meta element specifies that the document be saved to the session memory of the browser.

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
    <meta name="save" content="history" />
    
  2. Add a title element and enter Contoso customer help information. This text appears in the title bar of the Help viewer. The following HTML example adds the header title.

    <title>Contoso customer help information</title>
    
  3. Add three link elements. Use the link elements to specify the stylesheets you want to apply to your document. Add a rel attribute to each link element and set the value of the attribute to stylesheet. Add a type attribute to each link element and set the value of the attribute to text/css. Add a href attribute to each link element and use the following table to specify the value of each href attribute.

    Stylesheet

    Description

    AX.css

    Enter ../../Microsoft/EN-US /local/AX.css.

    Specify a file path from the folder on the Help server where you will publish this document to the folder that contains the AX.css file. By default, the file is installed to the following folder of the Help server:

    c:/inetpub/wwwroot/<HelpServerName>/content/Microsoft/EN-US/local

    presentation.css

    Enter ../../Microsoft/EN-US /local/presentation.css.

    Specify a file path from the folder on the Help server where you will publish this document to the folder that contains the presentation.css file. By default, the file is installed to the following folder of the Help server:

    c:/inetpub/wwwroot/<HelpServerName>/content/Microsoft/EN-US/local

    HxLink.css

    Enter ms-help://Hx/HxRuntime/HxLink.css.

    Specify the URL of the of the HxLink.css file.

    The following HTML example adds link elements for the required stylesheets. Notice how the href attributes specify a relative path of the folder that contains the .css files. The code example assumes this content element is published to folders on the Help server that represent the publisher name and the language of the documentation. You might have a different path to the stylesheet files. Also notice how the third link element specifies a URL for the HxLink.css file.

    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../../Microsoft/EN-US /local/presentation.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../../Microsoft/EN-US /local/AX.css" /> 
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="ms-help://Hx/HxRuntime/HxLink.css" />
    
  4. Add nine meta elements. Use the meta elements to provide the document properties that are required by the Help server. Add a name and content attribute to each element. Populate the name and content attribute of each element that has values from the following table.

    Name

    Content

    Title

    Contoso customer help information

    Microsoft.Help.Id

    Contoso.Forms.CustTable

    ms.locale

    EN-US

    publisher

    Contoso

    documentSets

    UserDocumentation

    Microsoft.Help.Keywords

    Contoso; customer

    suppressedPublishers

    Leave the content element empty.

    Microsoft.Help.F1

    Forms.CustTable

    description

    Describes Contoso customizations to the Customers form.

    The following HTML example adds a meta element for each document property. Notice how the name and content attributes are populated to specify the document property and give a value for that property.

    <meta name="Title" content="Contoso customer help information" />
    <meta name="Microsoft.Help.Id" content="Contoso.Forms.CustTable" />
    <meta name="ms.locale" content="EN-US" />
    <meta name="publisher" content="Contoso" />
    <meta name="documentSets" content="UserDocumentation" />
    <meta name="Microsoft.Help.Keywords" content="Contoso; customer" />
    <meta name="suppressedPublishers" content="" />
    <meta name="Microsoft.Help.F1" content="Forms.CustTable" />
    <meta name="description" content="Describes Contoso customization to the Customers form" />
    

This section adds elements to the body section of the HTML document. The document body contains the documentation that appears in the Help viewer. The steps in the following sections add elements between the open and close tag of the body element that you added earlier.

To Add Controls

  • Add input elements for two hidden controls. Add a type, id, and class attribute to each element. To populate the attributes, use the following values.

    type

    id

    class

    hidden

    hiddenScrollOffset

    N/A

    This control does not require a class attribute.

    hidden

    userDataCache

    userDataStyle

    The following HTML example adds the input elements. Notice how the type attribute specifies that the controls are not visible, and the id attribute specifies the control name. Also notice how the class attribute of the userDataCache control is set to userDataStyle.

    <input type="hidden" id="userDataCache" class="userDataStyle" />
    <input type="hidden" id="hiddenScrollOffset" />
    

To Add the Document Title

  1. Add a div element and set the id attribute to header. The following HTML example adds the div element.

    <div id="header">
       
    </div>
    
  2. Add a span element to the header section. Set the id attribute of the element to runningHeaderText.

  3. Add another span element to the header section. Set the id attribute of the element to nsrTitle. To specify the title that appears in the Help viewer, enter Contoso customer help information.

  4. Add an hr element to the header section. To keep the title visible during scrolling, set the class attribute to title-divider.

    The following example shows the HTML for the header section. Notice the use of the br element to add an empty line above the title.

    <div id="header">
       <br />
       <span id="runningHeaderText"> </span>
       <span id="nsrTitle">Contoso customer help information</span>
       
       <hr class="title-divider" />
    </div>
    

To Add the MainSection

  1. Add a div element and set the id to mainSection.

  2. Add a div element between the open and close tags of the mainSection. Set the id to mainBody.

  3. Add another div element and set the id to footer. The following example shows the HTML for the mainSection.

    <div id="mainSection">
       <div id="mainBody">
          
       </div>
       
       <div id="footer">
          
       </div>
    </div>
    

To add the documentation that appears in the help viewer, you add to the mainBody section of the HTML document. All the elements in the following steps are added between the open and close tag of the mainBody. The following sections add an introduction, a description of a customization, and a list of links to related topics.

To Add the Introduction

  1. Add a div element between the open and close tags of the mainBody section. Set the class attribute to introduction.

  2. Add two p (paragraph) elements and enter the text for each paragraph. The following example shows the HTML for the introduction.

    <div class="introduction">
       <p>
          This topic includes information about changes to the Customer form that have been added by Contoso.
       </p>
       <p>
          You can use the Customer form to view additional information about each of your customers.
       </p>
    </div>
    
    

To Add the Help Documentation

  1. To create a section heading, add an h1 element and set the class attribute of the element to heading. Enter Contoso customer information between the open and close tags of the h1 element.

  2. Add a div element and set the class attribute to section.

  3. Add a p element between the open and close tag of the div element. Enter the text that introduces this section of the document.

    The following example shows the HTML for the section heading and the opening paragraph.

    <h1 class="heading"></h1>
    <div class="section">
       <p>
          The Contoso customer add-ons enable you to view important information about your relationship with your customer. To view the additional information, click one of the following buttons:
       </p>
    </div>
    
    

To Add Labels from the Buttons

  1. To list the buttons, add a ul element, add two li elements to the ul element, and then add a p element to each li element. The following example adds the HTML framework for a bulleted list.

    <ul>
       <li>
          <p> </p>
       </li>
       <li>
          <p> </p>
       </li>
    </ul>
    
    
  2. Add text to each p element that describes a button. The following example adds information about two buttons.

    <ul>
       <li>
          <p>Click the Customer button to create a new customer record. </p>
       </li>
       <li>
          <p>Click the Edit button to update an existing customer record. </p>
       </li>
    </ul>
    
  3. Use the dynHelpAx:label element to replace the Customer and Edit button names with the labels from the controls. Populate the following attributes of the label element by using the specified values.

    Attribute

    Value

    axtype

    Label

    id

    Enter @SYS316442 for the first label.

    Enter @SYS453 for the second label.

    The following HTML example adds labels for two buttons. Notice how each label specifies a default text value.

    <ul>
       <li>
          <p>Click the <dynHelpAx:label axtype="Label" id="@SYS316442">Customer</dynHelpAx:label> button to create a new customer record. </p>
       </li>
       <li>
          <p>Click the <dynHelpAx:label axtype="Label" id="@SYS453">Edit</dynHelpAx:label> button to update an existing customer record. </p>
       </li>
    </ul>
    

To Add a Table

  1. Add a p element and enter text that describes the table. The following example shows the HTML you use to introduce the table.

    <p>The following table provides additional information about how to use Contoso customer information: </p>
    
    
  2. Add a div element and set the class attribute to caption.

  3. Add a div element and set the class attribute to tableSection.

  4. To create the table and column headings, add a table element, add a tr element, and then add two th elements. Set the colspan attribute of each th element to 1. Add a p element to each th column. Enter Name for the first column heading and Description for the second column heading. The following examples shows the HTML for the table.

    <div class="caption"></div>
    <div class="tableSection">
       <table>
          <tr>
             <th colspan="1">
                <p>Name </p>
             </th>
             <th colspan="1">
                <p>Description </p>
             </th>
          </tr>
       </table>
    </div>
    
  5. To add rows to the table, add two tr elements and then add two td elements to each row. Set the colspan attribute of each td element to 1.

  6. Add a p element to each td element. Use the following table to enter values for the name and description of each entry in the table.

    Name

    Description

    Customer

    Create a new record that represents a person or organization.

    Edit

    Perform updates to existing customer records.

    The following example shows the HTML for the complete table.

    <table>
       <tr>
          <th colspan="1">
             <p>Name </p>
          </th>
          <th colspan="1">
             <p>Description </p>
          </th>
       </tr>
       <tr>
          <td colspan="1">
             <p>Customer </p>
          </td>
          <td colspan="1">
             <p>Create a new record that represents a person or organization. </p>
          </td>
       </tr>
       <tr>
          <td colspan="1">
             <p>Edit </p>
          </td>
          <td colspan="1">
             <p>Perform updates to existing customer records. </p>
          </td>
       </tr>
    </table>
    
    

To Add Links to Related Topics

  1. To create a section heading, add an h1 element, and then set the class attribute to heading. Enter See also between the open and close tags of the h1 element.

  2. Add a div element and set the class attribute to section.

  3. Between the open and close tags of the div element, add another div element. Set the class attribute to seeAlsoStyle.

  4. Between the open and close tags of the seeAlsoStyle section, add a span element.

  5. Between the open and close tags of the span element, add a dynHelp:topicLink element. Enter Create a customer account as the text for the link. Populate the following attributes of the dynHelp:topicLink element by using the specified values.

    Attribute

    Value

    topicId

    cc18943e-c00c-49e6-8bd2-03be6481b6dd

    documentSet

    UserDocumentation

    The following example shows the HTML for the See also section. Notice how the section includes a link to a related topic.

    <h1 class="heading">See also</h1>
    <div class="section">
       <div class="seeAlsoStyle">
          <span>
             <dynHelp:topicLink topicId="cc18943e-c00c-49e6-8bd2-03be6481b6dd" documentSet="UserDocumentation">Create a customer account</dynHelp:topicLink>
          </span>
       </div>
    </div>
    
    

To match existing Help documents, you should include a line at the end of the document. The following documentation describes how to add a line to the footer section that you added earlier.

To Add a Line

  1. Find the div element that has the id attribute of footer. Add a div element between the tags for the footer section. Set the class attribute to footerline.

  2. Add an hr element between the tags of the footerline section. Add the style attribute and set the following properties of the attribute by using the specified values.

    Property name

    Value

    height

    2px

    color

    Silver

    The following example shows the HTML that adds a line to the footer.

    <div id="footer">
       <div class="footerLine">
          <hr style="height:2px; color:Silver" />
       </div>
       <p />
    </div>
    
    

After you complete the document, you have to save the document to an .htm or .html file. The following steps show how to use Visual Studio to save the document to an .htm file. If you use a different HTML or text editor, the steps to save the document to a file will be different.

To Save to a File

  1. In the menu bar, click File, and then click Save As. The Save File As window opens.

  2. In the File name box, verify the folder that is used to save the file, and then enter ContosoCustomerDoc.htm. This specifies the name of the file.

  3. Verify that the Save as type box shows HTML Files (*.htm; *.html). If another file type is specified, click the arrow to open the drop down list and select the correct file type.

  4. Click the Save button. The file is added to the specified folder.

After you save the document to a file, you can publish that file to the Help server. To view your document in the Help viewer, you have to publish the document file. For more information about how to publish, see How to: Publish a Help Document.

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