News from the documentation community: The Help project of LibreOffice underwent a major revamp in the last couple of years, with the introduction of the browser-based Help replacing the old Writer-Web solution. Still, editing the Help XML files (XHP) continued to be very hard for any volunteer or skilled developer, due to the specifics of the XML dialect and time required to be proficient in writing Help pages, which continued to be a major block for any individual.
To address the issue, we developed an online editor to assist and make textual editing quicker for any Help writer, by featuring the possibility of rendering the help page at once, at the click of a button. Also, we implemented a series of checking, including XML validity and the verification of ID unicity, crucial for translation.
Editor main screen with page loaded
The Help editor is available at https://newdesign.libreoffice.org/xhpeditor/index.php and contains features that greatly improve and simplify the XHP editing process. For instance, the menu allows users to write content in plain text and the wrap each text segment into the proper XHP tag. For example, after writing a paragraph in plain text, select the text and choose menu Paragraph – <paragraph> to wrap the text into a paragraph tag with the benefit of adding a unique identifier for the paragraph, which is vital for the translation process of LibreOffice Help.
Another nice feature is the editor autocompletion, which allows user to type only the start of a tag name and the editor suggests the rest of the name, sparing the energy spent in typing the whole tag name. When adding any tag to the text, the autoclose feature adds the closing tag automatically. Users can also press F11 to display the editing area in the whole browser area, enlarging the editing space, or even press Ctrl+F to open a search and replace window in the editor.
Help page verification
Detailed instructions and a short User manual are available in the wiki page https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/DocumentationHelpEditor and can also be accessed from the editor Help menu. To read the XHP dialect reference , use menu Help > XHP Reference.
We hope the editor will encourage volunteers to address the challenge of writing and updating the Help pages. We are eager to receive suggestion and contributions to the editor project. Come and join us!