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Why the JEditorPane is important to the JavaHelp ContentViewer

Posted by brinkley on November 22, 2005 at 1:06 PM PST

In the original design of JavaHelp there was an emphasis on using Swing components. One of the major components in any help system is the content viewer. In JavaHelp, the content viewer is based on the JEditorPane and specifically the HTMLEditorKit and the TextEditorKit for rendering documents.

This dependency has been, according to several, the major drawback in using JavaHelp. While browsers continued to enhance their rendering capabilities with HTML 4.x support, Cascading Style Sheets 2.x support, XML, XHTML, and plugins, the JavaHelp ContentViewer continued to use HTML 3.2 tags and simple CSS 1.0 support. Rendering improvements were made over the years and a meaningful presentation could be authored but the capbailities were less than desireable for some authors.

The Java Client Group is now looking at planning for the Dolphin release and is very much interested in making changes to the text handling packages in the JDK release. They have a survey where they want to know what text rendering features are most important to you and in the JavaHelp context this means you, the help author.

Specifically, they want to know the importance of:

  • HTML 4.x and CSS 2.x
  • XHTML 1.x and CSS 2.x
  • XML and CSS 2.X
  • Look and feel consistency
  • Printing Support
  • Native browser rendering
  • Using custom rendering
  • JavaScript support

This is a rare opportunity for the online help authoring community to participate in the development of the swing text components and I urge all help authors, even if you don't use JavaHelp, to take 15 minutes of your time to fill out the
survey.
The future plans of JavaHelp and what content rendering capabilities are available depends on this survey. Your input as a help author is invaluable and unique in the industry. I'm hopeful that many of you will participate.

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