Web-based content management & help

February 2, 2023

 

 

 

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Available in our cloud or self hosted on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and z/OS systems

Deliver the right information to the right people

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Support web and desktop applications

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Engage team authoring anytime, anywhere

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See for yourself what you gain with HelpServer

Product

What you gain with HelpServer

Deliver the right information to the right people

One of the best ways to increase efficiency is to deliver personalized and targeted content over the web to the person who needs it

With HelpServer, you have a unique approach to supporting dynamic content and ensuring that tailored information reaches your targeted audience. There is no need to write scripts or to develop programming skills. Instead, the dynamic character of the content relies on conditions you define in the system. These can be based on events and behavior in your organization's processes or on the roles, the preferences, or the experience people have in your company.

Once the conditions are defined, you apply these as markers to different areas of your content or you split up a topic into dynamic chunks of information. You can even use tags in a topic to mark words, sentences, or paragraphs that need to be displayed or printed conditionally. This is the way to produce multiple results from one source.

HelpServer keeps all the chunks of content nicely together in its Workbench, which greatly facilitates maintenance and translation.

When your users browse the content, HelpServer checks the conditions against their profile, the occurrence of predefined events, or variable/value pairs entered in the URL or provided by an exit routine. Next, the server dynamically compiles the chunks of content in function of the conditions. Thus, people can browse, export, or print tailored content without having to hunt for it.

With this feature your authors do not require any technical skills. So, there is no downtime waiting for scriptwriters to get the job done. Anyone with basic word processing skills can create dynamic content. Armed with the ability to easily deploy content in the user's own language, authors can now focus on content creation instead of on management and formatting activities.

Take a look at all the features

The HelpServer cloud

The HelpServer cloud

Content authoring without hassles

Today's data centers require a great deal of nursing. Cloud computing is a vision of the data center of tomorrow. It is a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training and retraining personnel, or licensing new software. It is an infrastructure that is billed like a utility for dynamic service movement, growth, and protection.

For our customers, it means

No up-front investment in servers or software licensing,

 

Flexibility and scalability,

 

On-demand services,

 

Transparency of costs.  

 

We offer SaaS as a cloud-computing service model to support web-based content authoring solutions. While traditional business applications and platforms have become ever more complicated and expensive, cloud-computing models have all the earmarks of a disruptive innovation: it is enterprise technology packaged to fit best the needs of small businesses and start-ups.

Request a trial in the HelpServer cloud and take full advantage of the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product.

Key features

Key features

What you get is a comprehensive solution

HelpServer's features allow you to create and maintain content and help projects in a team or as a single author. You can start small and simple and go gradually beyond conventional content management.

Which solution to choose

Which solution to choose

Client server

HelpServer involves two kinds of clients.

 
 

Your authors use a Workbench to create and maintain the content. They can install it on their pc or use a web browser plugin.

 
 

Your end-users use their web browser (without any plugin) to consult that content.

 

Whether it is in the office or at home, each client accesses its server seamlessly over the Internet or Intranet.

The server component controls the data source that holds your content. In other words, it serves your authors in creating content and your end-users in consuming content.

 

The server is designed to handle a virtual unlimited number of concurrent clients. Obviously, with a high load of concurrent requests, the performance and response times can become unpredictable.

Self hosted or cloud hosted

You can self host HelpServer or have it hosted in our cloud. There is no difference in features. If you choose to self host and you expect a high workload, provide a robust hardware and network configuration at the server side.

If you need to jump in or out our cloud, it's possible to transport your content.

Why HelpServer

Why HelpServer

People like HelpServer because...

The intuitive, multi-platform authoring tool, equipped with simple yet powerful functions.

 

HelpServer's content authoring tool, the Workbench, provides the framework for organizing and editing all the elements of a content management system or a help project on multiple platforms. It's a clean and beginners-friendly tool.

HelpServer provides structure, organization, and easy access to a wealth of information.

 

This makes using documentation on the web pleasantly surprising and generates substantial Return On Investment.

The customer service.

 

We are dedicated to service and support and to smoothly manage all your support queries we use an interactive web based service and support center. We recommend every customer to use this facility. It is included in the maintenance plan.

 

FAQ

Frequently ask questions

This FAQ answers a handful of the most common questions people have when they are looking for systems to support content management, documentation management, knowledge management, and user assistance.

Documentation

Documentation

Introduction

 

 

Brief overview and description of all the features

PDF

PDF

Authoring and administration

 

 

Authoring, to teach yourself the various functions of HelpServer's authoring tool.

 

Administration, to customize and upgrade a HelpServer installation.

PDF

Installation

 

 

Installing a commercial-quality version to setup a HelpServer environment with a configuration of your choice.

PDF

Installing a remote Workbench, to access a remote HelpServer database.

PDF,

Starting up the Workbench applet, to use HelpServer's authoring tool in your web browser.

PDF

License agreements

License agreements

 

Please email to to request the license agreements.

 

Request a trial

Request a trial version

 

The trial version lasts 30 days and it includes all features and full online access to the documentation. It is not meant for production work.

Prices

Please email to and try to answer the following questions in your mail. We reply as soon as possible to propose an agreeable price.

 

What types of content do you produce?

 

For example product manuals, user guides, catalogues, web based content,  help and training systems, ...

 

Do you localize content to other languages?

 

 

Does your content require frequent updates?

 

 

Do you have multiple contributors to the content?

 

 

Is your content distributed in files or is it centralized and accessible over the Internet?

 

 

Do you want to use HelpServer in the cloud or do you prefer self hosting?

 

 

About us

Company

Our company

The company behind HelpServer is 4.ST - Services Systems Software Support Technologies in Belgium, Europe. Since the foundation of 4.ST in 1987, we have been an important provider of highly respected products to implement multi-platform help and content management systems resulting in an improved quality of the user assistance and in an enhanced productivity of the end users and programming professionals.

With our broad background in help and content management systems we strive to leverage leading-edge technology to provide your enterprise with solutions to increase productivity and efficiency at the organization and the end-user level.

We are focused on improving the quality and enhancing the functionality of our products with a strong emphasis on customer service and feedback.

Our mission

When we started drawing the blueprints for a new system for web-based content management and help our mission was:

To enhance the quality of content to better support the end-users’ needs.

 

To get this job done without increasing the complexity of the content author’s job.

 

To provide this as a comprehensive enterprise solution with an eye to the future.

 

After years of research and development we succeeded. The result turned out to be a shift from a traditional software model to a web-based approach that introduced another way to organize and use enterprise content.

Partners

Partners are vital to HelpServer. An outstanding product accompanied by exceptional partners will help to excel in solution delivery and to achieve customer satisfaction.

Join our team if you wish to be part of this success story.

Next companies have taken the advantage of this opportunity.

IBM PartnerWorld for ISVs

 

We have been a member in the IBM PartnerWorld for ISVs program since 1997. For more information on this program go to IBM PartnerWorld for ISVs

 

LBi Software

 

LBi Software is a HelpServer implementation and integration partner.

LBi Software develops custom applications when off-the-shelf software and major enterprise (HCM/ERP/CRM) applications do not fit the need.

Careers

We do not currently have any open positions. We are always interested to hear more about you.

Email your resume to

Service and support

Service and support

About our Service & Support center

We offer our customers and prospects the ability to communicate directly with our support team using an interactive web-based Service & Support center. It is actually a HelpServer Workbench running in your web browser that remotely accesses our service database over the Internet.

Your entire communication is stored in dedicated folders on our server database. Furthermore, with our service & support center you communicate directly with the entire HelpServer support team, and your question is automatically delegated to the engineer with the appropriate skill and expertise. Over the years, this approach has proven to be the most effective way to deal with our customers' questions and problems.

Registering to the Service & support center

Access to the Service & Support center is restricted to registered customers and prospects. Contact to request a registration. We suggest that you request one registration per trial version and the moment you have acquired a permanent license you can request a registration per author.

The working principles are explained in working in the Service & Support center

Contact

Our office

 

4.ST - Services Systems Software Support Technologies

Romeinse straat 10 B4

B-3001 Leuven Belgium

Phone: +32 16 40.40.54

Our staff

 

Email to

Events

Current Events

Currently there are no new events planned.

 

 

 

 

Frequently ask questions

This FAQ answers a handful of the most common questions people have when they are looking for systems to support content management, documentation management, knowledge management, and user assistance.

Enter HelpServer, a multi-platform solution to manage enterprise content and online user assistance on the web.

With the HelpServer Workbench, teams of authors can create structured content as reusable and shareable objects. This enables them to keep up with the explosion of information and make projects easy to maintain. These projects can support content management, document and file management as well as context-sensitive help for web and desktop applications.

Authors are able to collaborate on projects even when they are geographically dispersed. They can activate new content and changes to existing content by means of a click.

People all over the world can then access that content in real time over the Internet. The HelpServer server engine dynamically delivers the most relevant information based on the user's specific needs.

The HelpServer server is the component that makes HelpServer much more then just an authoring tool.

The server centrally manages content in a database and handles the integrity and security. It transfers content objects to and from all the Workbenches in real time over the Internet. It dynamically dispenses the content in web pages as they are requested by your users. Now your content is no longer created and published in a static format.

In a client/server solution such as HelpServer the Workbench and the web portal are the clients allowing you to edit and browse the content respectively while the server is responsible for database access, security, business logic etc. Next image illustrates the HelpServer client/server model.

The HelpServer client/server model

Many documents based on files that remain on a desktop file system are prone to mishap sooner or later. Files in a desktop file system can be deleted or removed accidentally. Data integrity is not guaranteed, and content management rapidly becomes expensive and time-consuming if active links and references have to be tracked manually.

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Irrelevant and outdated information leads to costly mistakes and increases costs from customers that have been unable to find the correct information. Authors and writers across an organization spend much of their time maintaining product knowledge bases, technical and commercial publications, client portals, and corporate web sites.

Read more...

Whatever size your online applications, you’re going to need some sort of online support. If you’ve ever tried using proprietary help systems for this, you know how quickly they can get out of control. A far better solution is to use an integrated solution for all your help projects.

With HelpServer you get a well-established framework in which you create multilingual and context-sensitive help for web and desktop applications in team. You don’t have to manipulate the help in files. Instead, HelpServer manages the help content in a database of structured objects, and changes are activated by means of a click.

Each help topic is directly accessible over the Internet. Applications can launch a web browser, passing a URL and so pop up the requested help content as a web page. User profiles and parameters in the URL allow the HelpServer server to compile the content dynamically so you can provide personalized and up-to-date information in the user's own language.The flexibility and the ease of use of this approach makes HelpServer popular amongst help authors.

HelpServer is a client server solution and it is offered in three varieties each having other capabilities.

Read more...

The biggest problem faced by large organizations with numerous content providers is legacy content. How do you deal with obsolete content with little in the way of central control? HelpServer's Workbench allows you to convert and load all kinds of content in a central repository.

Read more...

Accessing content in real time over the Internet is great but what if you are not connected to the web?

HelpServer's export facility allows you to store offline content objects to your own workstation which gives you the ability to view information while not connected to the Internet.

Read more...

You can import content from files that have the .dita or the .ditamap extension. You can also generate output that produces DITA files. HelpServer does not validate against the DITA scheme. However, you can use a third party tool such as XMetal to create your structured DITA files. If you import content from DITA files you can further develop it and generate various types of web-based and print-based output. You can of course send the HelpServer content back out to DITA to import it in another tool.

With HelpServer, you have a unique approach to supporting dynamic content and ensuring that tailored information reaches your targeted audience. There is no need to write scripts or to develop programming skills. Instead, the dynamic character of the content relies on conditions you define in the system. These can be based on events and behavior in your organization's processes or on the roles, the preferences, or the experience people have in your company.

Once the conditions are defined, you apply these as markers to different areas of your content or you split up a topic into dynamic chunks of information. You can even use tags in a topic to mark words, sentences, or paragraphs that need to be displayed or printed conditionally. This is the way to produce multiple results from one source.

HelpServer keeps all the chunks of content nicely together in its Workbench, which greatly facilitates maintenance and translation.

When your users browse the content, HelpServer checks the conditions against their profile, the occurrence of predefined events, or variable/value pairs entered in the URL or provided by an exit routine. Next, the server dynamically compiles the chunks of content in function of the conditions. Thus, people can browse, export, or print tailored content without having to hunt for it.

With this feature your authors do not require any technical skills. So, there is no downtime waiting for scriptwriters to get the job done. Anyone with basic word processing skills can create dynamic content. Armed with the ability to easily deploy content in the user's own language, authors can now focus on content creation instead of on management and formatting activities.

Providing information in different languages is one of the most important ways to enhance the usability of help and documentation systems. In HelpServer, this feature is unmatched.

Read more...

As more and more information becomes available on the web, securing that data becomes increasingly important. And when it comes to getting watertight security, each company will have its own requirements.

Read more...

HelpServer provides a unique team-authoring environment that uses a shared, object-based content database that provides excellent support for day-to-day collaborative authoring activities. A virtually unlimited number of authors can use HelpServer's Workbench as a team to create, maintain, translate, review, and publish content in real time over the Internet.

There is no third-party tool involved. The HelpServer Workbench uses an automatic check out/check in procedure with exclusive locks for editing. This prevents authors from working concurrently on the same object. While an author makes changes, the others are only able to view the changed object. When the author has finished, he can release the object for use by others.

Structured authoring is a method of writing and arranging content that relies on rules and a way to enforce these rules. It also separates structure from content and presentation. Structured authoring improves the management of information by creating a consistent content structure that is used throughout a document or a project. This structure helps in the creation of small topics  which are stored as reusable objects.

Read more...

Something that is mentioned a lot is the importance of separating structure from content. Understanding the difference between structure and content can be difficult at first, especially if you're used to not thinking about the semantic structure of a document.

In HelpServer's Workbench you do not work with the actual content objects. Instead, all content objects (folders, topics, etc) you see in the Workbench are in fact references (i.e. links) to content objects. You can compare these references with the shortcuts in Windows Explorer. However, in Windows Explorer you have also access to the actual content objects (the files and the folders) while in the HelpServer Workbench the actual content objects are hidden and are only manipulated by the system.

This approach allows a full separation of structure and content and it makes reusing an object just a matter of copying and pasting. In this sense, you are not just separating things in one place, you are bringing them together in another.

HelpServer helps you improve data accuracy by consolidating all content into a single, reliable source, and also manages the web of relationships that exists between disparate content objects.

By means of a copy/paste or a drag/drop operation, you can reuse a content object in several assets without losing visibility of the impact of changing it. This prevents redundancy and updates to reused content cascade everywhere, ensuring content accuracy for all your deliverables. Thus, you and your co-authors can easily reuse content throughout your entire organization in future documents.

In HelpServer, the content is stored as objects in a central database. The server manages these objects from creation through destruction. When you add a new topic, the system allocates it for you, so you work actually with the reference of the new object. If you rearrange objects in a folder, you also rearrange the references. If you copy or cut an object and then paste it, you paste the reference. And if you remove an object, you remove its reference.

Thus, the remove function operates on the reference to a content object and never on the actual content object itself. If, after removal, the system detects that there are still references left to the data object it will not be deleted but only the reference will be removed. This approach ensures integrity and eliminates broken links

HelpServer fully separates the presentation from the content by means of page styles. This kind of separation enables you to factor out repetition and shared aspects and deal with them only once. In this way, managing the presentation of a document becomes much easier, and the same document can be presented in several ways.

Read more...

HelpServer uses a spelling checker equipped with lexicons in American English, British (international) English, Canadian English, German, Spanish, French, and Dutch. These lexicons can be extended by special domain lexicons and customized lexicons.

We offer a scalable architecture that enables you to choose cumulative solutions to implement the most crucial requirements first and to build progressively across multiple business areas.

Read more...

HelpServer has its own text-processing tool with editing capabilities comparable to most common text processors. There is no need for other proprietary software.

HelpServer produces lightweight HTML web pages that conform strictly to W3C recommendations. This means that the content can be browsed by virtually any commercial browser of recent history. No installation or plug-ins are required.

The server is designed to operate on multiple operating systems. It is written completely in Java and runs on any system that supports a Java Runtime Engine. This can be a Windows server, a Unix, a Linux, or a z/OS system.

The Workbench (the authoring tool) is a client application that communicates with the server over the Internet. It is also written in Java and it can be installed on any workstation with a graphical user interface-based operating system that supports Java (Windows, Macintosh, ...). It can also run as an applet in a web browser in which case no installation is required.

Quite a few of our customers run the server on a Linux system and use the Workbench on Windows or Macintosh workstations.

HelpServer is a Java application and can run on virtually any platform that can be equipped with a Java Runtime Engine. Many of our customers run the HelpServer server engine on a Linux environment while using the HelpServer Workbench (the authoring tool) on a MAC or a windows workstation.

In a trial environment HelpServer uses its own web-server. In a commercially quality version HelpServer runs under any web server that can run Java servlets from version 1.2. Your web server should have 'servlet containers', which can be freely downloaded from the web.

In a trial environment HelpServer uses its own data-access mechanism. In the commercially quality version you can use any database management system that has ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) capabilities.

We offer our customers and prospects the ability to communicate directly with our support team using an interactive web-based Service & Support center. It is actually a HelpServer Workbench running in your web browser that remotely accesses our service database over the Internet.

Your entire communication is stored in dedicated folders on our server database. Furthermore, with our service & support center you communicate directly with the entire HelpServer support team, and your question is automatically delegated to the engineer with the appropriate skill and expertise. Over the years, this approach has proven to be the most effective way to deal with our customers' questions and problems.

All documentation remains in 4.ST's own HelpServer production database. It is constantly adapted, extended and improved. We don't provide any files nor printed output. Instead, the documentation is accessible in real time over the Internet. In this way you have access to the latest information at all time. You can read it online or as a pdf file.

If you request a trial version a link to this documentation is sent to you. You can also access the documentation directly from the help menu item in HelpServer's authoring tool (the Workbench).

The best way to learn HelpServer is to open its Workbench and to walk through the steps demonstrated in the authoring chapters.

Please email to and try to answer the following questions in your mail. We reply as soon as possible to propose an agreeable price.

 

What types of content do you produce?

 

For example product manuals, user guides, catalogues, web based content,  help and training systems, ...

 

Do you localize content to other languages?

 

 

Does your content require frequent updates?

 

 

Do you have multiple contributors to the content?

 

 

Is your content distributed in files or is it centralized and accessible over the Internet?

 

 

Do you want to use HelpServer in the cloud or do you prefer self hosting?

 

Please email to to request the license agreements.

Becoming a partner

Please email to and try to answer the following questions in your mail. We reply as soon as possible to propose an agreeable partnership.

 

What is your company's name, address, website?

 

 

Who is the contact persons, name, phone, email?

 

 

What is your company's main area of interest, specialization, or activity?

 

 

Which territory does your company cover?

 

 

What is the number of employees?

 

 

When was your company founded?

 

 

What is the number of customers?

 

 

Which is the industry or areas your customers are active in?

 

 

Which is your experience with CMS products, help authoring tools., or help- and documentation projects?

 

 

Would you introduce our products as a part in one of your company's products?

 

 

Would you provide training and consultancy about the 4.ST's products?

 

 

Will there be according to you any conflicts with the 4.ST products?

 

 

Would you cooperate with 4.ST to market your company's products?

 

 

Would you agree 4.ST to have other partnerships in the same domain as yours?

 

 

Would you accept a non-discloser agreement?

 

 

What is your motivation to become a partner?

 

 

What kind of partnership (reseller, consultant, ....) best fits your business model.

 

 

What are your terms and conditions to become a HelpServer partner?

 

 

When would you like to start a partnership?

 

 

 

 

HelpServer is a trademark of 4.ST Belgium NV              About us  Contact  Privacy statement  Site map   © 1987 - 2023 4.ST Belgium NV            Designed with HelpServer

 

 

What you gain with HelpServer