RE: Trends in Help Authoring

Subject: RE: Trends in Help Authoring
From: Gurudutt Kamath <guru -at- bom5 -dot- vsnl -dot- net -dot- in>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 09:54:14 +0530

Hello Dan,

I was going through my notes on Windows Help workshops that I conducted
in India about 6 years ago. Based on announcements from Microsoft, I had
proclaimend that Windows Help was dead and it will no longer be
supported. Recently, I did a job for a US Company and I was surprised
that they insisted on using Windows Help! Having worked on the latest
version of HTML Help for a couple of years (I really like RoboHelp's
WebHelp.), it was challenging for me to go back to an older version. But
RoboHelp saved the day! I did the job, won a lot of praise, and also a
50% bonus!

BTW,I checked (a few years ago) which Help tool India's top software
company was using and discovered to my horror that they were using
Windows Help (WinHelp 3 or 4!). I was ahead of them as I had moved on to
HTML Help!

Coming to the point, I have chosen HTML Help as it is the "current"
technology as WinHelp was supposed to be phased out. All applications
today (like Word, Internet Explorer), specially from Microsoft, are
based on HTML Help. One more reason for my choosing HTML Help is that
the applications that I have worked on for three years now are mostly
delivered over the Web or with a Web interface. To me it makes a lot of
sense to have compatible technologies.

HTML Help workshop is freely downloadable from the Microsoft site.
However, I would not recommend it to everyone. Only someone knowing HTML
and help basics can come up with something good with this tool. The time
to learn and deliver will not be worth it, imho. I have recommended
RoboHelp to a client as it speeds up the entire thing and produces an
excellent graphical shell (WebHelp).

In the mean time, RoboHelp has released X5 version (I have been using it
from version 3.0-4.0-5.0, etc then X3, X4, and now X5). Lots of new
stuff there! But for most of my needs all of it is not necessary!

Recommend taking the HAT route and moving on to HTML Help. The next
generation will be HTML plus XML plus ??, I feel.

Needless to add, I have no connection with RoboHelp, except that I love
the tool and like the list* which it sponsors! (*this one!)

Longhorn (if I remember the name correctly) is the next generation help
which is due from Microsoft soon. It has been delayed and will take some

And Geof Hart, I would be willing to provide any amount of support that
you need on RoboHelp/HTML Help.

Guru (only in name, a humble technical writer in Bombay!)

Daniel Gallagher asked about:
Is it correct to assume that today's version of winhelp will be dead in
the water soon?


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Trends in Help Authoring: From: dan . gallagher

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