How to Deploy a Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Help Server

How to Deploy a Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Help Server

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As most of you have already found out, we, the NAV R&D team, have developed a new Help Server that shows Help on a website. Help is available for the Windows client as in earlier versions. With the Help Server, the same Help is available from the Web client. Choose a field, and context-sensitive Help opens.

The Help Server is a website that displays HTML files. Yes, you read correctly: HTML files. So you don’t have to decompile the Microsoft CHM files anymore. But the really good news is that the Help that you created for your current NAV solution will still work with the new Help Server. You just need to build it again with the new Help Toolkit, and then copy the resulting HTML files to the relevant folder on the Help Server website. Then, you can start connecting your users to the Help Server.

Here are the main steps for deploying your Help to your customers.

  1. Install the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Help Server. For more information, see Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Server in the MSDN Library.
    • When you choose the Help Server option in Microsoft Dynamics NAV Setup, a Help Server website is set up for you with folders containing the HTML Help that Microsoft provides.
  2. Install the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Help Toolkit that is available for download from PartnerSource.
  3. Rebuild your existing Help files with the NAV 203 version of HelpBuilder, but change some of the configuration settings. For more information, see Upgrading Your Existing Help Content in the MSDN Library.

  4. Add the HTML files that HelpBuilder creates to the relevant language-specific folders on your Help Server website.

  5. Grant your users access to the website.

  6. Configure the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 clients to look up Help on your Help Server.

    • This configuration is part of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Setup. Alternatively, you can configure the Web client server components and the Windows clients manually.

  7. Start a Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 client and access Help.

You can set up a Help Server that all your users can access, or you can set up multiple Help Servers. You can modify the Microsoft-provided Help content without decompiling anything, and you can add and remove Help content whenever you want to. You can add links to existing Word documents or PDF documents to the navigation pane of the Help Server website, so that you users have a single point of entry for Help.

With the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Help Server, you can provide the Help content that is relevant for your users, and you can update Help without modifying each client computer.

We will improve the Help Server in future releases of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, so we hope you will like it as much as we do.

 

Best regards,

The Dynamics NAV team

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  • Thank you. Very helpful. But it looks like PartnerSource has not been updated. Any chance you could provide the new Help Toolkit?

    Many thanks.

  • Hello Miruna,

    You do not have to use a Help Toolkit in order to extend or modify the Help. And in fact we are not releasing a new Help Toolkit.

    In earlier releases, the Help Toolkit included source files for the Microsoft Help, but now the Help Server contains our Help in HTML format, so you don't need additional source files. You can choose to use the tools from the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Help Toolkit, which is available in PartnerSource, but you are not required to.

    I hope this answers your question. If not, please let us know!

    Best regards,

    Eva

    The NAV team

  • Hello everyone,

    Sorry for our mistake in the original blog post. I've updated steps 2 and 3 in the post to make it clearer that you can reuse the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Help Toolkit, make a change in the configuration, and then rebuild our existing content to upgrade it to work in your Help Server deployment.

    Best regards,

    Eva

    The NAV team

  • Hello NAV Team

    A great feature, but now  the  HTML files are not organized by areas for example. We must write online help for our CfMD solution , change the existing  help and new help topics. We have different help writers for special areas , want to use collaboration for review, translating and so on.

    Do you have any ideas for writing online help for different topics in a multi user environment?

    Thanks

  • Hello Arndt,

    The Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Help Server requires that all topics are in the same folder. But that is when the Help is deployed to a Help Server. You can still work based on projects like you used to - that's what we do, in case you were wondering. We then deploy the latest versions of our Help content to internal Help Servers on a daily basis. For us, there is a significant difference between the source files and the files that are on the Help Server, but for you these files are most likely the same, right? So for you, it might be easier to identify the topics that each of your contributors need to work on, copy those to their local computers, and then have them copy their latest files to an internal Help Server periodically. You can also set up multiple Help Servers, one for each area, for example, if that helps your contributors.

    Identifying which Help topics from Microsoft that belong to which feature are is not as easy as it used to be, we know. But the file names do reflect what the topic is about. For example, conAboutOrderPromising.htm contains conceptual information about order promising, and so on.

    Optionally, you can use the navigation pane to group the topics for each area. For more information, see this topic in the MSDN Library: msdn.microsoft.com/.../dn466748(v=nav.71).aspx

    But these are just suggestions. The Help Server is supposed to be flexible enough to fit into most scenarios, but we are keen to hear how you deploy Help and how to create Help based on the Help Server.

    Best regards,

    Eva

    The NAV team

  • Hi

    This blog says: "Help is available for the Windows client as in earlier versions".

    No it's not, there is NO option to use local help files on the RTC client or the Web client.

    The only option is to use "NAV Help Server".

    Please change this, as it is causing confusion.

    Best regards

    Per Juhl Christensen

  • Hello Per,

    The statement that Help is available for the Windows client is true. Help is available through F1 and the Help buttons, and you can customize it and add to it as appropriate. However, the Help is only available from the new Help Server website, not as CHM files because CHM files are no longer supported by the Windows client. So the change is about Help delivery, not Help availability.

    I'm sorry if you think the Windows client now has a different access to Help, but I hope you will enjoy that all users of your solution has access to the same Help, regardless of the way in which they access NAV (Windows client or Web client).

    Best regards

    Eva

    The NAV team

  • Hi Nav Team

    You may like to add that the help server component is dependent on the Web Server Component. If the Web Server component is missing, the help does not work.    

    Thank you,

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