Using the Adobe Community Help Client in Flash Builder 4

Note: Before using the CHC, please read technote cpsid_83103 to ensure that context-sensitive help works correctly.

Flash Builder 4 and ColdFusion Builder are the first Adobe products to ship with the Adobe Community Help Client (CHC), which is an AIR application that is the platform for the next generation of Adobe help delivery. The CHC provides a portal to Flex documentation and a variety of Adobe and non-Adobe learning content. CHC features include:

  • Always online – If you have a network connection, the CHC accesses content from the web to ensure that you access the most up-to-date material. It can also work in local mode if there is no internet connection.
  • Search-centric – Use Community Help search (which searches aggregated resources, including select 3rd party sites), adobe.com search (including refinements to narrow your scope), or local search. This post focuses on the search features in the CHC.
  • In-context navigation – Provides a dynamically generated set of related links for key pages. Think of this as the replacement for the tree-based table of contents.

Our research indicates that most of you access content via search engines, and the CHC gives you a lot of control over search. For Flash Builder, you have the following search options:

  • Community help – Searches all of adobe.com along with a list of selected Flex blogs and sites.
  • Adobe.com>All Adobe Content – Searches all of adobe.com.
  • Adobe.com>Using Flash Builder 4 – Just the Using Flash Builder 4 book.
  • Adobe.com>Flex 4 – Searches all Flex and Flash Builder documentation.
  • Adobe.com>ActionScript 3.0 Reference – Searches the ActionScript 3.0 Platform Reference (use this option to restrict a search to ActionScript APIs only).
  • Adobe.com>Adobe reference only – Searches all Flex, ActionScript, and AIR documentation.
  • Code search – Uses the Blueprints engine to limit your search to code samples.
  • Local Help – Used when there is no network connection.

One nice feature of the CHC is that you can download a set of local content for use when you are offline. (An upcoming CHC update will let you run offline help even when connected to the Internet.)

I encourage you to try out the CHC and experiment with the UI and various search options. Also, Mallika Yelandur, one of the ColdFusion writers, has posted a series of informative posts that you might want to check them before beginning.

Please let us know how it goes. Because the CHC is an AIR app, we’ll be able to update it fairly easily and are already planning new features and enhancements, so your feedback is important.

-Randy