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
$524.94
Apple Inc.
+5.93
MSFT
$40.01
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$536.10
Google Inc.
-20.44

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Tweetbot 1.5.1 - Popular iOS twitter cli...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 4.1.7 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.16 - Create inventories...
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Have a Special Dead Trigger 2 Easter Bas...
Have a Special Dead Trigger 2 Easter Basket Full of Goodies, Courtesy of Madfinger Games Posted by Rob Rich on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Dead Trigger 2 | Read more »
Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Exper...
Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Experience with Farmville 2: Country Escape Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
David. Review
David. Review By Cata Modorcea on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MINIMALISTIC IN A DIFFERENT WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad David is a minimalistic game wrapped inside of a soothing atmosphere in which the hero... | Read more »
Eyefi Unveils New Eyefi Cloud Service Th...
Eyefi Unveils New Eyefi Cloud Service That Allows Users to Share Media Across Personal Devices Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair...
Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair Review By Jennifer Allen on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY ADVENTURINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Treading a safe path, Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair is a... | Read more »
Yahoo Updates Flickr App with Advanced E...
Yahoo Updates Flickr App with Advanced Editing Features and More Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
My Incredible Body - A Kid's App to...
My Incredible Body - A Kid's App to Learn about the Human Body 1.1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1.00 (iTunes) Description: Wouldn’t it be cool to look inside yourself and see what was going on... | Read more »
Trials Frontier Review
Trials Frontier Review By Carter Dotson on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: A ROUGH LANDINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Trials Frontier finally brings the famed stunt racing franchise to mobile, but how much does its... | Read more »
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskin I...
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskin Introduced – Support Available in Evernote for iOS Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Sparkle Unleashed Review
Sparkle Unleashed Review By Jennifer Allen on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY MARBLE FLINGINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s a concept we’ve seen before, but Sparkle Unleashed is a solidly enjoyable orb... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP this we...
Best Buy has iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Prices are valid for online orders only, in-store... Read more
iPad Airs on sale this weekend for up to $100...
Best Buy has WiFi iPad Airs on sale for $50 off MSRP and WiFi + Cellular iPad Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time, with prices now starting at $449. Choose free... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis starting...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Hyundai Brings Apple CarPlay To The 2015 Sona...
Hyundai Motor America has announced it will bring Apple CarPlay functionality to the 2015 Sonata. CarPlay is pitched as a smarter, safer and easier way to use iPhone in the car and gives iPhone users... Read more
Updated iPads Coming Sooner Than We Had Thoug...
MacRumors, cites KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, well-respected as an Apple product prognisticator, saying that Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini in 2014/Q3, meaning the... Read more
Toshiba Unveils New High And Low End Laptop M...
Toshiba has announced new laptop models covering both the high-end and low-end of the notebook computer spectrum. Toshiba 4K Ultra HD Laptop Toshiba’s new Satellite P55t features one of the world’s... Read more
Save up to $270 with Apple refurbished 13-inc...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished October 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $1099, with models up to $270 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished iPad mini with...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays now available starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free.... Read more
Microsoft Blinks – Drops Microsoft Office 365...
Microsoft has dropped the annual subscription fee for Microsoft Office 365 Personal – which is needed in order to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office for iPad. However, Apple’s iOS and OS X... Read more
New AVG Vault Apps for iOS and Android Help K...
AVG Technologies N.V. an online security company for 177 million active users, has announced the launch of its latest mobile application, AVG Vault. The free app introduces an innovative user... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Holyoke - Apple I...
Job Summary Keeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you’re a master of them all. In the store’s fast-paced, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Market Leader - Cincinnati...
…challenges of developing individuals, building teams, and affecting growth across Apple Stores. You demonstrate successful leadership ability - focusing on excellence Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.