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FlyingAnt testing, distribution question, search file links

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  • FlyingAnt testing, distribution question, search file links


    I'm evaluating incorporating FlyingAnt software to use with Zoom within my documentation, which is not hosted on a server. The documentation, written wtih RoboHelp, is accessible through a zip file and via a pull-down menu on our software's toolbar, delivered inside our software. It is not delivered as a CD. I currently use zoom's javascripting method for Search within the documentation. The Search function is launched by clicking on the search button within the documentation's toolbar. Unfortunately, we have now found the javascript method has become too limiting and would like to allow stemming and exact phrase matching.

    I downloaded the flying ant sample file. I have more work to do in order to replace my files with the sample files, my first attempt wasn't successful. I couldn't just replace the files and run the configuration, I need to create a smaller doc, before I test the more complex one I currently have.

    I reviewed all the documentation I could find, but I still have questions. I don't have much experience with cgi, but I have alot of experience with Zoom and have used it seamlessly with my complex documentation structure.

    Do you think search would work using FlyingAnt using my delivery? What file do I link the search button in the documentation to, in order to launch search. Isn't that dependent on the user's environment? (this would either be windows or unix, no mac)

    Zoom Professional 6 1028, javascripting
    used with RoboHelp 11, Webhelp

    Thanks and happy holidays!

  • #2
    FlyingAnt is a web server. In other words it is an executable. For it to work it needs to be running in the background. So somehow you need to launch it before anyone tries to access the Help function. Once running it accepts URLs and returns web pages. In this case the web pages will be your Help pages.

    CGI is actually an interface definition. It allows a web server to call external scripts and executables.

    Our search.cgi is a binary cross platform executable file. It gets called not from your software, but from FlyingAnt (the web server).

    So the process needs to be something like,
    1. Copy all the files to the hard drive during the install process of your software
    2. Launch FlyingAnt at some point from your software
    3. When the user accesses your Help function, then open a page in a browser with the home page URL. The URL will be something like,
    4. Somewhere within your HTML help pages you will need a HTML search form.
    5. The "Action" in the form should point to the search.cgi. Something like this,
      <form method="get" action="http://localhost:8091/zoom/search.cgi">
      <input type="text" name="zoom_query" size="20" />
    6. When the user quits your software, then you should terminate FlyingAnt as well, to avoid it running in the background all the time,


    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply and helpful information!