RE: Web-based docs and help (from JavaHelp perhaps?)

Subject: RE: Web-based docs and help (from JavaHelp perhaps?)
From: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 12:48:50 -0400

We can all tell you our "current thinking," but it doesn't mean doodly
compared with your customers' current thinking. Of course, it's easier
to get our opinion than to get your customers'... But we do know that
they've received both printed manuals and onscreen PDFs in the past. It
would be great if you could at least informally survey them as to which
format they prefer.

Either way, a lot of us think that for onscreen Help, PDFs are a lousy
choice. This has to do with indexing and searching, linear vs.
non-linear presentation, etc. The HATT archives are a good source for
this information. PDF is good for printing and lousy for onscreen Help;
HTML is lousy for printing and good for onscreen Help.

And one more thought: When a company sends me a PDF file and
_suggests_that_I_print_it (yes, I've really seen this!), I know they're
incredibly cheap. So I assume they also skimp on things like developer
skills, support staff, etc.

-----Original Message-----
From: dwyercl2
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:10 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Web-based docs and help (from JavaHelp perhaps?)

Our company is developing a Web-based version of our product (which
a suite of several applications, Java-based and XML-powered) and
looking at how to best present our documentation going forward. I
created our manuals in Structured FrameMaker (v7.2) and the customers
received the set of manuals (for the different apps, plus
guide, install guide, and admin guide) in hardcopy and as PDFs that
they can install with the product. I created our help files using
JavaHelp for our product, with each app having its own helpset, which
were written as topic-based 'how-to' guides themselves for each
specific application.
I'd like to solicit opinions as to what the current thinking is on
hard-copy manuals (w/PDFs and help files) vs. ONLY on-line PDFs and
files for the Web-based version of the product.
Also, does anyone know of any path of transition or transformation to
Web-based help system from JavaHelp? Or is there a not-too-difficult
way to leverage the JavaHelp files (specifically the HTML files) for
Web-based help system? Any suggestions on a Web-based help system
is platform independent (Windows and Linux)? Thanks!
Cheryl Dwyer
Industrial Medium Software, Inc.
McLean, VA

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Web-based docs and help (from JavaHelp perhaps?): From: dwyercl2

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