ActionScript - Adding Integrated Help
Table of Contents

The propietary built-in Flash help viewer is pretty clunky and not particularly useful. However, it is fairly easy to add basic support.

The propietary viewer has 4 parts

In case you haven't guessed, I don't think much of propietary viewers ... but this one does have a nice tree view. By the way, the search is terrible ... really third rate.

Controlling the Tree Display | categories.xml | help_toc.xml - book tag level tags | Simple Procedure

Controlling the Tree Display

On my system, the Flash built in help is located at The Book Selector ComboBox (used to select which sections to see) is defined in The text displayed in the Tree View is specified in the files - one for each subdirectory / section / book.


categories.xml controls what is displayed in the Book Selector ComboBox. When one of the options is selected, the keyword is used to control what is displayed in the Tree View just below it.

This file is fairly simple to understand - the following example is based on the actual file.


Every top level help directory contains a help_toc.xml file that specifies

For all practical purposes, help_toc.xml has 2 sections

help_toc.xml - book tag

The book tag (the second line) controls what is displayed at the top level of the help tree display. (The following example is formatted to improve readability.)

help_toc.xml - level tags

Under the main heading, the level tags define the tree structure. Levels are numbered 1 thru 4 (and perhaps higher) and contain 2 parameters Example (from "ActionScriptLangRefV3\help_toc.xml" - slightly modified to be more readable) Because this is xml, you can add spaces and tabs between elements as you see fit ... they will be ignored.

Because the parameters are named, their order is not important.

Based on

I assume that Adobe is using some kind of help generation program to automatically generate these files from tags inside their *.as files and a different tool for help not specific to classes.

Simple Procedure

To add your own help

The xml files are only read when Flash starts ... you must restart Flash to see the changes.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / Languages / ActionScript / WritingHelp / TOC.html