Do I need an internet connection for HTML5?

Contributor ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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My doubt is if I can view content in HTML5 when I'm not connected to the internet.

In the IT company where I work for, we are currently using Microsoft HTML Help (CHM files) for creating helps to the software we develop here.

The problem is that microsoft compiled help will not have any new feature. So we were thinking about changing our helps to HTML5 layout. Also because it is responsive, we would like to use the dynamic content filtering, for many reasons.

However, our doubt is if our customer does not have connection to internet, will he/she be able to access the software help by clicking F1?

I am not a programmer, I am only a technical writer, maybe they know how to fix it (or they will figure out), but before I would like to know: Is it possible?

Thanks in advance! I am from Brazil, but I hope you have understood me. Sorry If I commited any mistake.

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Classic, HTML5 layout

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017
Short answer is no - you don't need an Internet connection to view HTML5 help - but you do need an Internet browser like Edge, Internet Explorer, FireFox or Chrome to view the index page of the collection of files that RH will create for you. Depending on how you have your software installed, your help may be packaged along with it and installed in the same location. For example, one of the products my company produces is a client/server application and the software is installed in a shared fold...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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Short answer is no - you don't need an Internet connection to view HTML5 help - but you do need an Internet browser like Edge, Internet Explorer, FireFox or Chrome to view the index page of the collection of files that RH will create for you. Depending on how you have your software installed, your help may be packaged along with it and installed in the same location. For example, one of the products my company produces is a client/server application and the software is installed in a shared folder on the customer's local LAN server. Another product just has its database on the server and the software is located on each workstation (where my help is located). The only drawbacks to not having your content on a webserver (on the Internet) is that you will be constantly fighting with browsers and their security "improvements" - all of which try to stop you from looking at web pages it considers "local" (either on a LAN server or local C:\ drive). Staying current with RH patches and versions will help you with that. 

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Contributor ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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Thank you all! I've never imagined my simple question would cause a debate.

Now I am able to know more about HTML5 for sustaining the idea of switching from CHM to HTML5.

Again, thank you all!

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Contributor ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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Some random initial thoughts about switching from CHM to HTML5:

1) I think it is a very good idea to switch from CHM to HTML5. Microsoft has not updated the CHM viewer in many years. It is going to serve its purpose but that's about it.

2) My first impression is that you would be able to run it without an Internet connection, BUT YOU WILL NEED TO TEST THIS! Years ago, I created WebHelp (another output that is viewed within a browser) with RoboHelp X5. It was distributed with applications that were installed to the C:\ drive of the user's PC. After dealing with the Mark of the Web (MOTW) issue I had with linking to PDF files, it worked fine without an Internet connection. Again, YOU WILL NEED TO TEST THIS!

3) Start talking to your programming staff now. If you currently have links from the application to your CHM file, the programming code to open the CHM file is not going to be the same as the call to the corresponding topic in your HTML5 output. I'm not a programmer either so that's all I can say about that.

4) You should know the impact to your end-users before moving forward. You will be distributing many more files than your current CHM file. Generate HTML5 within your current project and compare the folder size of the CHM file to the HTML5 output. Is there a size difference? Is it going to cause the end-user grief? You should talk with your customer support people to find out what your end-users will think.

5) When I converted from WinHelp to WebHelp, I initially showed it to my co-workers to solicit their feedback. Then I showed it with some actual customers with whom I had established a relationship with in documentation-related areas. I would definitely try to plan this out as a project with phases instead of Release 1.0, you have a CHM file and Release 2.0, you have HTML5.

6) Changing help formats is also a new feature to your company's software so you should work with your Marketing team. What worked for me was to have a 1 page brochure that said, "We are changing our help format so we can add these "top" new features" and to distribute it to the end-users prior to it going live. You want to make this process seamless and one you can do that is to not have surprises when the end-user install an update.

I'm sure others will chime in (please do!) with additional thoughts, especially addressing your actual question about whether HTML5 requires an Internet connection.

Paul Hanson

My blog: http://prhmusic.blogspot.com  

Me Playing Drums: http://prhmusic.blogspot.com/p/videos-of-me-playing-drums.html 

Twitter: @prhmusic

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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#1 - agreed (although Rick would beg to differ to my long time "CHMs are dead" hypothesis LOL)

#2 - already proven at my company for 6+ years now

#3 - agreed - CSH calls to HTML5 are different - see Willam van Weelden​'s site on calling it.

#4 - agreed, but disk space is cheap these days, so size many not be much of an issue - depending on how it's packaged, you could be sending out a big zip file of the content to be unpacked. I actually use the same software to bundle up my help content as we use for distributing it (as a big self-extracting executable).

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LEGEND ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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LOL, the "CHM is dead" isn't just a "Rick" thing. Sure, I love the CHM format, but Adobe has research data to prove it is still widely used. And that surprised them!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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I know! I was shocked & amazed when I saw that data too! Who knew that antique tech lives on and on....;>)

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LEGEND ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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It's hard to argue with technology that just "Works" and seldom breaks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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The big draw card is that single file. I know you can do funky zip things, but most people find it all too hard. Even (especially) developers who have to deal with it (Them: Why can't you just give me the files you've changed? Me: I did. Them: BUT THAT'S HUNDREDS and you only updated 5 topics!!! Me: Talk to the hand (kidding not kidding) ).

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LEGEND ,
Jan 04, 2017 Jan 04, 2017

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I would then say to the developers that RoboHelp is a LOT like your development and the reason for Source Control systems. You know how you can make one little change in a rather insignificant module and it totally breaks things in other modules and you have to roll back to when it last worked?

The same holds true for RoboHelp's interrelated file structure!

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Resources
RoboHelp Documentation