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Helix Reference Manual
Introduction

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive user manual for Helix 7.0. Because of our limited resources, our efforts (and our finances) go almost exclusively into updating and improving Helix itself. Consequently the last full manual for Helix, known as The Helix Reference, is for version 4.5.5.

The Helix 5.x series was an intermediary set of releases, mainly focused on preparing the underlying Helix code for the jump from Classic to macOS. Even so, there were a few new features introduced at the time, the biggest being support for TCP/IP connections in Client/Server.

The Helix 6.x series was when Helix actually made the jump from Classic to macOS. Most of the changes therefore are interface changes: User mode elements (primarily views) switched over to macOS, and Design Mode saw the introduction of the Inspector and Element Panel, providing consistent access to each icon type’s settings in a unified location for the first time ever.

Through both of these phases, new features were added, and the icons that make Helix the ‘iconic’ (pun intended) programming language that it is were preserved and enhanced. None were changed significantly, so that you will not recognize them in Helix 7.x. That is, a field is still a field, an abacus is still an abacus, etc. There are no new icons, and none of the old icons have been removed.

The Helix 7.x series continues the modernization of Helix, but also begins the addition of important new features. Some of these, such as Unicode support do not really change the way Helix works; they just make it better. Some, such as the ability to rotate text on a template, continue the tradition of enhancing the existing icons. Others, such as the Abacus Expression Language and full AppleScript support supplement the traditional methods and introduce additional ways of creating databases for those times when the icon-based nature of Helix becomes a limitation.

Finding Information

Every change that has occurred since the last full manual was produced has been documented on one or more of the pages linked below. It is our intention to produce a new unified manual at some point, but for now, this collection of Release Notes are all we can offer.

If you are looking for specific guidance, keep in mind that the switch from Classic to macOS happened in Helix 6.2, so those Release Notes are a good place to start if you are looking for information on the changes between Classic and macOS. (Unfortunately they are also the least organized, as the macOS transition was a 24 month journey of monthly updates, each with a new release notes page describing the latest progress.)

Release Notes Compendium
Conclusion

As always, if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.