Delivering help content from an intranet server

You can set up an intranet server behind a firewall to provide help content to users. In this way, users do not have to download and save help content to their computers. Depending on your security requirements and organizational needs, you can provide help content to users from an intranet server. This arrangement frees up disk space on users' computers, because one copy of the help content is stored on a server. You can also make sure that all users have the latest help content from IBM with a single update to the intranet server.

Before you begin

Providing help content on an intranet server requires deploying the enterprise help.WAR application on the server. You must have an application server for this purpose.

See Installation Manager information center for the updated instructions on setting up an intranet server for help content.

Because each enterprise is different, an example shows the procedures of setting up the application server and deploying the help.WAR application. For this example, the procedures show how to deliver help content with the open-source Apache Tomcat Application Server. The basic procedure applies to all servers; the specifics for your server might vary. Review the deployment instructions for your application server.

This example uses Apache Tomcat 6.0. You can download the server application from

Apache Tomcat 6.0 requires the Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) Runtime Environment (JRE), version 5.0 or later.

To set up the Apache Tomcat Application server for providing help content:


  1. Download and install according to the included instructions the J2SE JRE:

    You can also use the full JDK rather than just the JRE. In this case set your JAVA_HOME environment variable to the path name of the directory into which you installed the JDK. For example, use one of these environment variables: setc:\j2sdk5.0 or /usr/local/java/j2sdk5.0.

  2. Set an environment variable named JRE_HOME to the pathname of the directory into which you installed the JRE. For example, set one of these environment variables: c:\jre5.0 or /usr/local/java/jre5.0.

  3. Unpack the binary distribution files into a convenient location so that the distribution is located in its own directory, which is typically named apache-tomcat-version. For the purposes of the remainder of this document, the name $CATALINA_HOME is used to refer to the full path name of the release directory.

  4. Place the Help.WAR in the webapps folder: $CATALINA_HOME\webapps.

  5. Start Apache Tomcat by entering this command (Windows ): $CATALINA_HOME\bin\startup.bat. After startup, the default Web applications that Apache Tomcat includes are available at this address: http://localhost:8080/.

  6. After you open the startup page, you can access the help system by adding help/index.jsp to the end of your URL: http://localhost:8080/help/index.jsp.

  7. To enable your users to access the help content from your application server, provide the users with the server, the port, and the path to the help system.

  8. With this information available, users start the workbench, and then click Window > Preferences.

  9. Users select the Help preferences, expand it, and select Include help content from a remote infocenter, and then click Add.

  10. Users type the server name, host, path, and port in the appropriate fields, and then click OK.

  11. To obtain updated user assistance, navigate to the update window and follow the installation and update instructions there: http://localhost:8080/help/updater/updatewar.jsp

  12. To update the help content, clear the cache. Otherwise, updates are not reflected in the browser. Perform these steps to clear the cache in preparation for an update:

    1. Shut down the Apache Tomcat application server by entering this command: $CATALINA_HOME\bin\shutdown.bat.

    2. Navigate to the $CATALINA_HOME\work\Catalina\localhost directory, and delete the help folder, which contains your uncompressed Web application.

    3. Copy your new help.WAR file into the $CATALINA_HOME\webapps folder, and restart the Apache Tomcat application server.


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