I just open-sourced my Help Compiler, a self-contained command-line tool to build HTML help from simple plain-text source. I’m already using it to compile TimeStory’s user guide for both Web and in-app help. If you’re maintaining a Mac app with a help system, I think you might find it useful.

HC replaced my older Jekyll-based system, solving several problems or annoyances I’d had, while simplifying my build and removing the dependency on Jekyll and Ruby. A few key features:

There’s more. Despite all that, most of your text looks like Markdown. Check out the README for full documentation on syntax. The biggest limit you’ll probably hit is that I hardcode most of the output HTML structure (e.g. the contents of <head>), though the CLI lets you inject extra HTML or set the stylesheet name; I’m very open to fixing that if other folks start using it.

For now, HC is just a source release (under the MIT license). It’s built with SwiftPM, so download the release or clone the repo, run swift build, and find the compiled tool in .build/debug. I’d love to hear from anyone who tries it out!