RE: JavaHelp or WebHelp

Subject: RE: JavaHelp or WebHelp
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- uswest -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 09:49:53 -0600

Hello all,
I wasn't going to jump in here, but since requests were made to post to the
list and I've already communicated with Manjeet offline about this, I'll
come out of lurk mode and post to the list.

Manjeet is producing online help for a Java application. Therefore, the JVM
and JRE are already included with the application and users do not have to
install anything different. The same would be true for a Java applet
produced through a browser, though the implementation is different (I just
learned that this morning) because you don't want to JAR the files for an
applet. While you could also use Webhelp or Interhelp for an applet, I
believe it requires extra work for the developers to tie it in. You could
also use it for an application but then you would be asking your users to
install and run extra software (a Web browser) when they want to view the
online help.

JavaHelp may be somewhat crude, but it's also specifically designed for use
with Java applications/applets. I too have had to tweak the HTML produced by
my HAT (ForeHelp), but it's been nothing major. ForeHelp doesn't seem to
produce a lot of extraneous HTML, and it does produce all the necessary JH
files without difficulty. I can't speak to the WWP output. However, the HAT
should support JavaHelp 1.1. Developers should also be urged to use JDK 1.3
if at all possible because it solves problems for the help developers and
includes support of cascading style sheets.

There are a couple of good resources available: The JavaHelp listserv (you
can sign up on the JavaHelp web page--go to and follow
the links to JavaHelp) which has excellent support from Sun--Experts just
waiting to help you. Also, I'd suggest you get "Creating Effective JavaHelp"
just released by O'Reilly press, Kevin Lewis author. ISBN 1-56592-719-2.
This book will help you understand what's going on with the guts of

Justin's statement that:
>This leap toward Java Help smacks of the uninformed managerial masses going
>with "the next great thing" without knowing what "the next great thing"
>actually is or does.

smacks of cranky posters jumping to conclusions without understanding that
people actually sometimes research the tools and technologies they *choose*
to use. I spent lots of time defining technical requirements with the
development staff and reading lists (this one and others) to figure out
which would be the best tool to use. It may not be especially pretty, but
it's getting the job done and it meets the requirements.

Lisa Wright
Technical Writer
PeakEffects, Inc.

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