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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Things 3.1.3 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.292 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Things 3.1.3 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.292 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Bookends 12.8.3 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Mellel 3.5.5 - The word processor for sc...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
Mellel 3.5.5 - The word processor for sc...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
Bookends 12.8.3 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.18 - Easy-to-use...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.14- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more

Little Red Lie (Games)
Little Red Lie 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU MORE AFRAID OF POVERTY THAN DEATH? Little Red Lie is a narrative-focused, interactive fiction experience that reduces... | Read more »
You can now apply to be Clash of Clans...
Earlier this month, word got out that the Builder, the trusty handiman who tirelessly built every single building inevery singleClash of Clansbase had called it quits. Sick of seeing his work destroyed endless, the Builder has set out for our world... | Read more »
Meshi Quest beginner's guide - how...
Meshi Quest is Square Enix's newest free-to-play release, and it's a real charmer. You start off as the head of a sushi restaurant, upgrading your food and equipment as you serve visitors heaping helpings of your delicious meals. As you progress,... | Read more »
BUST-A-MOVE JOURNEY (Games)
BUST-A-MOVE JOURNEY 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: BUST-A-MOVE Features:- Shoot bubbles and match 3 or more bubbles of the same color to make them pop!- Complete your... | Read more »
The best card combos in Clash Royale
Clash Royale is all about building a deck of units that synergise well. To help you get off to a flying start, we've put together a list of unit combinations that are incredibly effective. Looking for some choice 2v2 combos? Check out our guide. [... | Read more »
The best 2v2 card combos in Clash Royale
2v2 is making it's grand return toClash Royalequite soon. 2v2 has quickly become one of the game's most popular gameplay modes, though they still have yet to make it a permanent fixture in the game. 2v2 is exciting and adds some new flavor to... | Read more »
The best games we played this week - Aug...
Another busy week has come to a close. We played a lot of excellent games this week and now it's time to look back and reflect on some our favorites. Here are our picks for the week of August 18. [Read more] | Read more »
War Wings beginner's guide - how to...
War Wings is the newest project from well-established game maker Miniclip. It's a World War II aerial dogfighting game with loads of different airplane models to unlock and battle. The game offers plenty of single player and multiplayer action. We... | Read more »
How to win every 2v2 battle in Clash Roy...
2v2 is coming back to Clash Royale in a big way. Although it's only been available for temporary periods of time, 2v2 has seen a hugely positive fan response, with players clamoring for more team-based gameplay. Soon we'll get yet another taste of... | Read more »
Roll to Win with Game of Dice’s new upda...
Joycity’s hit Game of Dice gets a big new update this week, introducing new maps, mechanics, and even costumes. The update sets players loose on an exciting new map, The Cursed Tower, that allows folks to use special Runes mid-match. If you feel... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Free Instant Translator 2.0 App For iOS Relea...
Mobile application development company, Neoappz has announced the release and immediate availability of Instant Translator 2.0 for iOS devices. Instant Translator is a user-friendly application which... Read more
2017 15-inch MacBook Pros on sale for $200 of...
Amazon has 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2199.99, $200 off MSRP – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Silver: $2296, $103 off MSRP – 15″... Read more
Apple’s 2017 Back to School Promotion: Free B...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free. As part... Read more
Clearance 2016 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $1019. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available startin...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Pros available startin...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ WiFi iPad Pros available starting at $589. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 32GB 12″ iPad Pro WiFi: $589... Read more
Weekend sale: 13-inch MacBook Pros for up to...
Amazon has new 2017 13″ MacBook Pros on sale today for up to $200 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXV2LL/A): $1599.99 $200 off MSRP – 13″ 3.1GHz/... Read more
Back To School With The Edge Desk All-in-one...
Back to school is just around the corner, and the ergonomically correct Edge Desk all-in-one portable kneeling desk is ideal for students living in dorms and small apartments, Edge Desk features:... Read more
Norton Core Secure Wi-Fi Router Now Available...
First introduced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Norton Core, a secure, high-performance Wi-Fi router, fundamentally changed the concept of Wi-Fi routers by making security the primary... Read more

Jobs Board

Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.