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New documentation project

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:24 am
by Ty
Hello XnViewers,

I've been talking to Pierre and Helmut behind the scenes a little, and we've decided that I am going to undertake the building of a new help (CHM) file. Unfortunately, we have NOT come up with a good plan for building help files in all languages, but rather only in English. And American English at that!

Nonetheless we've decided to go ahead, and I have already made one pass at a new help file, which I think Pierre is going to begin including in future versions of XnView (beginning with 1.91.5?).

We have created this new forum specifically to serve the process of creating the new help file.

The purpose of this posting is to let all you folks who have contributed explanations of various XnView functions know that I would like your help and support in building this new help file, and I especially would like to take some of those good explanations and discussions (from this forum and elsewhere) and put them into the help file.

I am going to try to be an organizer or coordinator or even assembler of the help info, rather than a writer of it. With all the work that the XnView community has already done, it seems unnecessary to write new explanations for all the functions.

So, I am going to attempt to (a) organize the help info, (b) figure out what should be include in the help file, and (c) ask for experts--i.e., you and anybody else who wants to help--to either write new explanations or direct me to existing ones.

I expect that it will take several months to complete a complete "first draft" of the help file, and then another few months to refine and polish it, and then on-going maintenance from then on. It is my hope that after getting a good help file created, keeping it up to date with the latest features and changes will be fairly easy. But we shall see.

The latest version of the help file ("help-en.chm") is available from here: If you are going to help on this project, please always make sure to have the latest version. It will be changing frequently.

Thank you in advance for anybody who will help with this project. All suggestions, ideas, comments are welcome.

Ty Griffin
San Luis Obispo, California

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 am
by Ty
Okay, all you hundreds of XnView users and forum-readers, it's time to get serious about some documentation. What do you want to see in a helpful Help file? Do you have some areas of expertise you'd like to share? What things in the current/old help file need fixing? What special / hidden / unusual things do you know about XnView that others should know also?

The mechanism and process for improving and rewriting the help file is now in place, and tested, and working. Pierre is going to begin including the latest help file with future versions of XnView.

But I need some input from XnView experts, and regular users, and readers of help files, etc.

Comments please!

Get the latest help file ( help-en.chm ) from here: )


Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:49 am
by Troken
Hi there Ty,

I just quickly looked through the latest help file, and though I dont have any specific comments, I'd just want to say that it looks great! Very nice! Not sure how I can contribute, but I could help with a swedish translation later on. Keep it up!

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:33 pm
by Ty
Hi Troken--

Thanks for the kind words. I hope the project goes well, and that we create a help that is good, and is also contantly improving and keeping up with changes to XnView.

If you would like to contribute to the help file (and this applies to anybody reading this message as well):

1. Pick a topic, or several topics, from the existing help file

2. Read/review them and determine if/how they are wrong, or out-of-date, or no longer applicable, or need new screen shots or examples, or whatever

3. Add/change/delete material to make the topic more relevant

4. Add your knowledge and expertise on that subject

For example, I am hoping somebody will provide a good explanation on metadata--what it is, how it works, where it is kept, how it is used, what types and options are offered by XnView, etc.

5. I use Microsoft Word as my text editor, but can convert to/from many other formats. If you also use Word, I can send you chunks of the source to work on.

6. Communicating by email is probably better than the forum.


As I mentioned in another post, Pierre and Helmut and I do not really have a good plan for translating the help file into other languages. The problem is that a good help file--and we hope this will be one such--is constantly changing, and keeping up with the changes is a very big job. Things are also complicated by the fact that I use Word and a proprietary "help authoring tool" to create the CHM. But maybe we'll think of something!

Best regards,


Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:01 am
by nightflyer
Regarding XnView User Guide section:
- why full author's adress- really not needed, give the man a bit of privacy
- Support and Licence agreement regard XnView, not XnView user guide- wrong section
- why info on CHM files??? small note can be put into Using This Document section
- Both Trademarks... and Thank you section regard XnView, not XnView user guide- wrong section

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:47 pm
by Ty
Hello Nightflyer,

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. However, the points you make have more to do with personal preferences and/or taste, and not to do with information about XnView, and of course I have no way to know if your preferences and tastes are any better than the next guy's. I write some other help files, besides XnView, and I am using for XnView the help file "template" that I've have developed over the last few years. It's not right or best or perfect, by any means, it's just how I do things. I like to put all that peripheral information in the first section just because I do, not for any good reason. I'm willing to talk more about your suggestions if you and others think that things are misplaced.

I include Pierre's address only because it was included in earlier versions. I agree with you that it should NOT be in the help file, but that is Pierre's decision. (Pierre, please comment.)

Thanks again for your feedback, Nightflyer. Other people please comment if you have strong feelings on way or the other.