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Now you, too can create Qt Help Files painlessly

I de­cid­ed to add a man­u­al for uRSSus. Since it's a Qt ap­p, I checked how to do one of those neat help files, like the ones that come with Qt app­s.

It turns out it's not so sim­ple to cre­ate one of those.

You need to cre­ate your help in one or more HTML files, then cre­ate a XML file that de­scribes what each file is, ref­er­ences for each sec­tion, and ref­er­ences for each key­word you want in the in­dex.

For any re­al-life-­size doc­u­men­t, that's go­ing to be in­cred­i­bly an­noy­ing.

So, I took my usu­al es­cape route when I don't want to do grunt work on doc­s: Do­cu­tils.

Specif­i­cal­ly, I wrote rst2qhc which takes one (or more) re­struc­tured text files, and cre­ates a nice and clean Qt Help Project file from them, in­clud­ing sec­tion ti­tles, ref­er­ences and key­word­s, which you mark on the text us­ing the 'key­word' role.

What does this mean? Let me be graph­i­cal:

rst2qhc2

The one on the right is nice to read. The one on the left is nice to write. The ar­row in the mid­dle is rst2qhc :-)

And here's how the gen­er­at­ed qhp file looks for a triv­ial out­line of a man­u­al (and the rea­son why I don't want to do this man­u­al­ly ;-):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<QtHelpProject version="1.0">
    <namespace>urssus</namespace>
    <virtualFolder>doc</virtualFolder>
    <customFilter name="Unknown">
        <filterAttribute></filterAttribute>
    </customFilter>
    <filterSection>
        <filterAttribute></filterAttribute>
        <toc>
            <section title="The uRSSus Handbook" ref="manual.html">
                <section title="Introduction" ref="manual.html#introduction"/>
                <section title="Quick Start" ref="manual.html#quick-start"/>
                <section title="Configuration" ref="manual.html#configuration"/>
                <section title="Credits and License" ref="manual.html#credits-and-license"/>
            </section>
        </toc>
        <keywords>
                <keyword name="what can you" ref="manual.html#what-can-you-do-using-urssus"/>
                <keyword name="quick" ref="manual.html#quick-start"/>
                <keyword name="main window" ref="manual.html#the-main-window"/>
        </keywords>
        <files>
                <file>manual.html</file>
        </files>
    </filterSection>
</QtHelpProject>

Al­so, as a bonus, you can cre­ate PDF, La­TeX, HTML and ODT files from the same source (heck, you can cre­ate freak­ing man pages).


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