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Getting SDK help from an external editor

23 December 2005 6,819 views No Comment

If your editor supports the launching of external programs and allows you to insert text to the command line based on your current selection, then you can get context sensitive help from the XSI SDK help file. This will work for both the C++ and scripting SDKs. This snippet shows how to perform this in the Crimson Editor but it will work equally well in any other well supported editor that has this feature.


If you tend to only use commands in your scripts, then I recommend this method (which only works for commands):

In your editor, find where the settings are for launching external applications via a keyboard shortcut. For Crimson Editor, you can find this in the ìTools->Conf. User Toolsî menu.

Enter the command as:

   C:\WINDOWS\hh.exe

And the argument as:

   mk:@MSITStore:C:\Softimage\XSI_5.0\Doc\XSISDK\xsidevref.chm::/$(CurrWord).htm

Note that youíll need to set the path to the help file so that itís correct on your system. Also, if youíre not using Crimson Editor, then youíll need to change where it says $(CurrWord) to the correct macro for your editor, so that it adds the currently selected word to your command argument.

Now just associate this tool with a shortcut key, e.g. F1, and you should now be able to launch the SDK help with a single key press to get instant reference for your command. As I said above, this only works for commands, since it relies on the naming convention of the compiled help.


If you want to have general context sensitive help that will work with any method, property, or command in your script, then you need to download KeyHH.exe from www.keyworks.net.

Once youíve installed it, just use these settings:

Enter the command as:

   C:\WINDOWS\keyhh.exe

And the argument as:

   -myhelp -#klink "$(CurrWord)" C:\Softimage\XSI_5.0\Doc\XSISDK\xsidevref.chm

As mentioned above, youíll need to change the path to work for your help file and change the $(CurrWord) macro to suit your editor.

When you launch this command, it will open the help file in Index view using the word selected in the editor. Unfortunately it doesnít display the help page automatically, and you still need to double click the entry, but it beats the heck out of having to type it!

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