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Updatable Help Authoring: Step-by-Step


This documents lists the steps in the process of authoring Updatable Help.

Updatable Help is designed for end-users, but it also provides significant benefits to module authors and help writers, including the ability to add content, fix errors, deliver in multiple UI cultures, and respond to user comments and requests, long after the module has shipped. This topic explains how you package and upload help files so that users can download and install them by using the Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets.

The following steps provide an overview of the process of supporting Updatable Help.

The first step in creating updatable help is to find an Internet location for your module's help files. Actually, you can use two different locations. You can keep your module's help information file (HelpInfo XML – described below) at one Internet location and the help content CAB files at another Internet location. All help content CAB files for a module must be in the same location. You can place help content CAB files for different modules in the same location.

Add a HelpInfoURI key to your module manifest. The value of the key is the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) of the location of the HelpInfo XML information file for your module. For security, the address must begin with "http" or "https". The URI should specify an Internet location, but must not include the HelpInfo XML file name.

For example:

RootModule = TestModule.psm1
ModuleVersion = '2.0'
HelpInfoURI = ''

The HelpInfo XML information file contains the URI of the Internet location of your help files and the version numbers of the newest help files for your module in each supported UI culture. Every Windows PowerShell module has one HelpInfo XML file. When you update your help files, you edit or replace the HelpInfo XML file; you do not add another one. For more information, see How to Create a HelpInfo XML File.

Digital signatures are not required, but they are a best-practice recommendation whenever you are sharing files.

Use a tool that creates cabinet (.cab) files, such as MakeCab.exe, to create a .CAB file that contains the help files for your module. Create a separate CAB file for the help files in each supported UI culture. For more information, see How to Prepare Updatable Help CAB Files.

To publish new or updated help files, upload the CAB files to the Internet location that is specified by the HelpContentUri element in the HelpInfo XML file. Then, upload the HelpInfo XML file to the Internet location that is specified by the value of the HelpInfoUri key in the module manifest.