Re: Integrated DTP and WinHelp generation?

Subject: Re: Integrated DTP and WinHelp generation?
From: "Bruce H. Johnson" <corpknow -at- EARTHLINK -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 1996 09:01:50 -0800

> Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 14:24:20 GMT
> From: James Owens <ad354 -at- FREENET -dot- CARLETON -dot- CA>
> Subject: Integrated DTP and WinHelp generation?

> At the moment I am maintaining two parallel documents, one in Ventura
> DOS/GEM and the other in RTFGEN. It was easy enough to create one from
> the other -- a few well-planned search-and-replace operations and some
> polishing are all that is needed -- but the bother of _editing_ everything
> twice is beginning to tell on me.

> I have heard that it is possible to generate and maintain help files as a
> subset of printed manuals, using tools that incorporate a kind of "include
> file" technology (and presumably universal cross-referencing.) Is this
> accurate?

> Assuming that things can be done this way, does it make for good online
> help? My concern is that the online medium differs so much from paper
> that it seems to call for at least partly independent design. Can these
> tools make allowance for the different approaches required by different
> media?

You are now into the debate of single-source documentation, e.g., "Which
is the BEST...". There are several packages "out there" that do
single-sourcing (print and online):
-Frame (xlation to Help has several esoteric steps, but great for DTP)
-Word Add-ons (Doc-to-Help, RoboHelp, etc.) If you can live within the
limitations of word for your printed documents; these seem to be the
most widespread (IMHO). We use both Doc-to-Help and RoboHelp; they can
provide decent "DTP" for printed manuals and have a relatively painless
conversion to Windows Help (all versions), HTML for Web pages, and soon
will (and perhaps do) have HTML help capabilities. Advantage to Word is
that you have the full WordBasic language available for conversions.
-Corel WP and Ventura; If you're already using Ventura, you might check
out Corel; the steps from VP to help might be already handled, since
Corel is trying to be a big player. Learning VP (IMHO) is more difficult
than learning conventional Windows Help. (I've done both).

Bruce H. Johnson
Corporate Knowledge, Inc. -- Your knowledge transfer specialists.
corpknow -at- earthlink -dot- net
#include <std_disclaimer>

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