TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Guide Book Reviews
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:1
Column Tag:Book Review

New Apple Guide Authoring Aids

Three books and accompanying software for Apple Guide authoring

By John R Powers, III, guideWorks, LLC

Apple Guide Complete: Designing and Developing Onscreen Assistance
By Apple Computer, Inc.
Addison-Wesley (0-201-48334-3)

$39.95. 554 pages.

Real World Apple Guide
By Jesse Feiler
M&T Books (1-55851-429-5)
$39.95. 411 pages.

Danny Goodman’s Apple Guide
Starter Kit
By Danny Goodman and
Jeremy Joan Hewes
Addison-Wesley (0-201-48349-1)

$34.95. 295 pages.

Apple Guide authoring just got a lot easier. Three new books and accompanying software make it that way. If you already know about Apple Guide, skip to the next section. Otherwise, hang on and I’ll give you a quick introduction. [For more on Apple Guide, see the March and July ’95 MacTech Magazine.]

Introducing Apple Guide

Apple Guide is the exciting help system that comes with System 7.5. It enables users to accomplish tasks with minimal directions. It actively leads users through the steps required to complete desired tasks. For example, let’s pretend you make fax software. You may use Apple Guide to lead your user through the steps to send a fax, including how to set up the address, cover page, and scheduling transmission. You do this by creating a guide file that interacts with the user step-by-step. The guide file checks the user’s context and presents only the necessary information. It also automates many of the steps via AppleScript, and uses Apple Guide’s unique “coach marks” to highlight live interface elements so that users can simply point-and-click their way through the process. Your users are happier and your customer support line is less busy.

With the recent release of version 2.0, Apple Guide technology is available from System 7.0 on up; and it will be a key part of Active Assistance in Copland. More and more applications are including guide files. Third party developers like the way it gives them a competitive advantage and reduces the load on customer support. Major corporate users like how it streamlines the work flow and how it reduces the load on the help desk.

Authoring Apple Guide

One authors Apple Guide by combining content and instructions into a guide file. The current guide authoring tools are Guide Maker, Guide Composer, and Danny Goodman’s Apple Guide Starter Kit.

Guide Maker is the original Apple Guide authoring tool developed by Apple. It’s five tools in one: build guide files, test look-for, diagnose guides, convert WinHelp, and import/export for localization. Guide Maker uses Guide Script as its means for “programming” guide files. Guide Script is a mark-up language; the author writes the guide content and tags the content with Guide Script. There are about 100 commands that control startup parameters, formats, sorting, sequences, and much more.

Guide Composer and Danny Goodman’s Apple Guide Starter Kit (the latter included with his book, discussed in this article) are two new tools that provide a WYSIWYG interface to guide authoring. Both of them output Guide Script for automatic compilation by Guide Maker Lite, a special version of Guide Maker without a user interface.

New Authoring Aids

The new books and accompanying software are:

Apple Guide Complete: Designing and Developing Onscreen Assistance

This is Apple’s own Apple Guide book, written by Apple’s Developer Press. Think of it as the Apple Guide Inside Mac, 2nd Edition, for guide authors. It provides authoring tips and suggestions, describes how to use Guide Maker and Guide Script, and documents the Apple Guide API.

Apple Guide Complete includes a CD-ROM with lots of Apple Guide material, including Apple Guide, Guide Maker, sample guide files, sample source files, sample context checks, the Apple Guide interface files and libraries, and a searchable command reference to all Guide Script commands. The CD-ROM does not contain the latest release of Apple Guide (2.0), Guide Maker (1.2.7), or Guide Maker Lite (1.2.5); those you’ll have to get from Apple’s ftp site, Apple’s Developer CD, or the Mac OS SDK.

Real World Apple Guide

This book covers much of the same material as in Apple Guide Complete, but with an emphasis on actually using Apple Guide to solve problems. Think of it as Jesse’s Handy Guide to Using Apple Guide. It contains the prerequisite chapters on Apple Guide, Guide Maker, Guide Script, and the API, but also includes chapters on creating guide files for use with common frameworks and applications. For example, it describes how to add Apple Guide to MacApp and 4th Dimension.

An accompanying CD-ROM includes Apple Guide, Guide Maker, and related files. It also includes lots of demos, and a cookbook which comprises shells, guide script examples, and code examples. Like Apple Guide Complete, the CD-ROM does not contain the latest releases.

Danny Goodman’s Apple Guide Starter Kit

This book takes a completely different approach from the other two. Danny starts the reader immediately authoring guide files using his Starter Kit software. It’s a very “hands on” approach that quickly produces a guide file from Danny’s WYSIWYG interface. Once you learn how to use the authoring tool, Danny and his co-author, Jeremy Hewes, introduce design concepts and advanced topics.

The book includes a floppy disk with the Guide Starter software, Guide Maker Lite, a sample application, and support files. Apple Guide and Guide Maker are not included, nor are they necessary since Apple Guide is in System 7.5 and Guide Maker Lite is the only compiler Danny’s software needs.

Comparisons

We’ll attempt to help you sort out the possibilities by providing a couple of different ways to compare the books.

Who is the reader?

Third party developers use Apple Guide create guides for their applications. All three books cover this.

Solution providers use Apple Guide to develop custom guides for end users. While ways to do this can be inferred from any of the three books, only Real World Apple Guide includes specific information on creating guides for common third party applications and frameworks.

Application software engineers need information on how to support Apple Guide within their applications. Apple Guide Complete and Real World Apple Guide provide API documentation for this.

How well do they support the development process?

Creating Apple Guide files requires a seven-step process: task analysis, instructional and visual design, writing content, scripting, application integration, testing, and localization. Let’s examine how each book supports each step in the development process.

Task analysis: identifying and articulating the tasks that the user must accomplish. This is a very difficult step, but essential for Apple Guide’s task-oriented design. Conclusion: zip for all three. None of the books provide help in this essential area.

Instructional and visual design: specifying how the guide will support the user’s tasks. Conclusion: all three books provide good coverage of this area. Apple Guide Complete provides the most information on design.

Writing content: creating the words and images to support the instructional and visual design. Also includes all the indexing of the guide topics for the Apple Guide’s search engine. Conclusion: Apple Guide Complete and Danny Goodman’s book provide information on this area. Apple Guide Complete also covers the difficult area of indexing.

Scripting: wrapping the Guide Script around the content. This includes all the sequencing of steps, context checking, and automation. Conclusion: All three books provide ample coverage of this difficult step in the process. None of the books cover automation scripting using AppleScript, though.

Application integration: Apple Guide does not require that the application it supports be changed in any way, but if you can change it, you can really improve the user interaction. Application integration adds code to the application to support the guide. Conclusion: Apple Guide Complete and Real World Apple Guide provide reference material for application integration. Real World Apple Guide also provides detailed integration information for MacApp.

Testing: guide files must be tested like any other complex software. Conclusion: Apple Guide Complete provides a little information.

Localization: guide files, like the applications they support, must serve an international market. The guide content must be localized. Conclusion: Apple Guide Complete provides a little information.

What do I buy?

All three books are helpful for guide authoring. If you have to pick just one, consider the following: For a comprehensive reference, pick Apple Guide Complete. For custom solutions and practical applications, pick Real World Apple Guide. For a fast start, pick Danny Goodman’s Apple Guide Starter Kit.

 
AAPL
$107.59
Apple Inc.
+0.61
MSFT
$46.76
Microsoft Corpora
+0.71
GOOG
$556.34
Google Inc.
+6.03

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Vitamin-R 2.20b1 - Personal productivity...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Dropbox 2.10.44 - Cloud synchronization...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Sandvox 2.9.2 - Easily build eye-catchin...
Sandvox is for Mac users who want to create a professional looking website quickly and easily. With Sandvox, you don't need to be a Web genius to build a stylish, feature-rich, standards-compliant... Read more
Cocktail 8.0.1 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.3.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
VMware Fusion 7.0.1 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion allows you to create a Virtual Machine on your Mac and run Windows (including Windows 8.1) and Windows software on your Mac. Run your favorite Windows applications alongside Mac... Read more
OneNote 15.3.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.4 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.0 beta 3 - Powerf...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
TextWrangler 4.5.11 - Free general purpo...
TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator's tool. Oh, and also, like the best things in life, it's free. TextWrangler is the "little brother" to... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Card Dungeon, the Semi-Board Game Roguel...
Card Dungeon, the Semi-Board Game Roguelike, Has Been Renovated Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Logitech Protection + Power iPhone5/5S C...
Made by: Logitech Price: $99.99 Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Usability Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars Reuse Value Rating: 0.75 out of 5 stars Build Quality Rating: 0.75 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 1.25 out of 5 stars | Read more »
This Is Not a Test Goes Free, Permanentl...
This Is Not a Test Goes Free, Permanently Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Swap Heroes Review
Swap Heroes Review By Campbell Bird on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: STRATEGIC SWAPPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rotate a cast of heroes to fend of waves of monsters in this difficult, puzzle rpg.   | Read more »
Night Sky Pro™ (Reference)
Night Sky Pro™ 3.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Reference Price: $2.99, Version: 3.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Night Sky Pro™Wonder No More™ Night Sky Pro™ is the ultimate stargazing experience. From the creators of the original... | Read more »
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena (Games)
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A zombie shooter audio game. Made from gut-wrenching 3D binaural sound, for a new kind of weird immersion. You... | Read more »
RPG Asdivine Hearts (Games)
RPG Asdivine Hearts 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: SPECIAL PRICE50% OFF (USD 7.99 -> USD 3.99)!!! Travel alongside four companions and a cat in the adventure of a... | Read more »
Haunt the House: Terrortown (Games)
Haunt the House: Terrortown 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: 66.6% OFF! SPECIAL SPOOKY HALLOWEEN LAUNCH PRICE! 66.6% OFF! ...What was that sound? Is somebody there? | Read more »
SAS: Zombie Assault 4 Review
SAS: Zombie Assault 4 Review By Jennifer Allen on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAWED SHOOTERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Shoot everything that moves in this fun, if flawed, twin-stick shooter.   | Read more »
Naailde the Witch Review
Naailde the Witch Review By Amy Solomon on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PITCH-PERFECT STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Marvelous storytelling, narration, and moving illustrations make this storybook... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Regains Momentum As Windows Stutters An...
The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to March 2014, shows Apple performing strongly in the first quarter of the year, with sales bouncing back in... Read more
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Increase 25.2%...
New smartphone releases and an increased emphasis on emerging markets drove global smartphone shipments above 300 million units for the second consecutive quarter, according to preliminary data from... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2014 15-inch M...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Apple drops prices on refurbished 2013 Retina...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on 2013 Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros, with Retina models now available starting at $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and... Read more
New 2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $949, save $5...
Abt Electronics has the new 2.8GHz Mac mini in stock and on sale for $949.05 including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller... Read more
Sale! 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro available for...
 B&H Photo has the 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro on sale for $2649 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $350 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from any... Read more
Mujjo Steps Up The Game With Refined Touchscr...
Netherlands based Mujjo have just launched their Refined Touchscreen Gloves, stepping up their game. The gloves feature a updated elegant design that takes these knitted gloves to the next level. A... Read more
Sale! Preorder the new 27-inch 5K iMac for $2...
 Abt Electronics has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale and available for preorder for $2374.05 including free shipping. Their price is $125 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more
Simplex Solutions Inc. Brings Secure Web Surf...
New York based Simplex Solutions Inc. has announced the release and immediate availability of Private Browser 1.0, its revolutionary new secure web browser developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch... Read more
Save up to $180 off MSRP with an Apple refurb...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Every day, business customers come to the Apple Store to discover what powerful, easy-to-use Apple products can do for them. As a Business Leader, Read more
Sr. Manager, *Apple* Deployment Programs fo...
**Job Summary** Apple is seeking candidates for a new position on the Education Content and Technology team. iPad and Mac is in the hands of millions of teachers and Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.