Authoring - Creating a pointerpath

A hyperlink is a feature that points to additional information from a specific area in a topic. A pointerpath is a feature that points to a topic in a specific scope or context of a project and it can be used in a hyperlink.

Why using a pointerpath in a hyperlink?

A system that strictly separates structure from content supports a high level of content reusability allowing you to use a single content object in several aspects. A side effect of this approach is that the context of the individual content objects is not always clearly defined. Compare it with the paragraphs in a text file of a common word processor. There the individual paragraphs cannot be shared by other files. Hence, the context of a paragraph is always the file.

The context of the hyperlink target demonstrates the effect of a hyperlinked content object pulled out of its context. If this is not what users want then a pointerpath in combination with an alias can catch this effect. The usage of pointers and aliases is also explained in Using the content in help and documentation systems. Here we will demonstrate the usage of pointerpaths and aliases in hyperlinks.

This approach is only applicable to project related content objects.

Assume we want to use many hyperlinks to content objects of the 'Fishes' book in the 'Animal information' sample project. If the 'Fishes' book is not part of the browsed content, then these hyperlinks will work fine but they are shown as a separate topic out of the context of the 'Fishes' book. And this is where the definition of a context (or scope) comes in. We need both pointerpaths and an alias to obtain this because a pointerpath cannot operate on its own.

In our example here an alias is already available for the 'Animals' project folder. It was assigned automatically the moment the project was created. If you stick to this alias then the 'Animals' folder will be the context of all the hyperlinks.

If you think this context would be to wide for the 'Fishes' content objects then you can assign a new alias to the 'Fishes' book. And indeed, in this example that would make more sense. So, first create a new alias in one of the following ways.

Assigning an alias in the table editor

You select the folder that contains the books in the tree and then on the table on the right you popup the menu of the 'Fishes' book. Then select 'Assign alias'.

Assigning an alias in the tree

Or you can popup the menu of the 'Fishes' book in the tree and select 'Project > Assign alias'.

Entering the object name

An alias consists of the project name and an object name. The project name is already defined. Just enter a reasonable object name.

Confirming the alias

Confirm the alias assignment.

Now we can create the pointerpath to the content object: 'Topic: About the shark'. This is the object we are going to use as a hyperlink in another book later. A pointerpath is a bunch of short strings concatenated with a dot. Each string in the path leads the hyperlink closer to its target within its context.

Adding a pointer on the first level

Select the 'Fishes' book in the tree. In the table on the right double click in the cell under the 'Pointer' column of the 'Chapter: The shark' item. Enter a string that is unique within the table. Click outside the cell to stop editing. Next, select the 'Chapter: The shark' in the tree to enter a pointer for the containing 'Topic: About the shark'.

Adding a pointer on a deeper level

Save the book and then the scope and the location of the topic is clearly defined.

To summarize

An alias to a folder defines a context or a scope for the folder and its dependants.

 

A pointerpath is the location of a content object in that context and it is always associated with an alias.

 

Authoring

 About HelpServer
 Starting up and logging on
 The basic working principles
 Using the content in help and documentation systems
 Formatting the content
 Searching and replacing text
 Reusing content with shares
 Navigating with hyperlinks
 Navigating with pointerpaths
 Creating a pointerpath
 Searching for a pointerpath
 Using pointerpaths in hyperlinks
 Detecting and correcting invalid pointerpaths
 Using bookmarks and jumps
 Duplicating content with clones
 Using tables
 Including media files
 Navigating to web pages
 Using embedded chunks
 Including html code
 Navigating with menus
 Using snippets
 Spelling checking
 Using the view mode
 Creating an index
 Creating a FAQ
 Creating a glossary
 Team authoring
 Working with projects
 Setting up structured authoring
 Generating file based output
 Creating printed output
 Importing files and folders
 Loading files in the project gallery
 Converting legacy content
 Including legacy content in real time
 Transferring objects between installations
 Smartcontent
 Notification
 Feedback
 Translating
 Customizing the look and feel
 User accounts
 Security
 Working with templates
 Working with metadata
 Versioning
 Auditing
 Workflow management
 Annotations
 Using event exits
 Appendix A: The URL parameters
 Appendix B: The object indicators
 Appendix C: Play Javascript