SUMMARY: How did you learn HTML Help?

Subject: SUMMARY: How did you learn HTML Help?
From: John Wilcox <jwilcox -at- tcsi -dot- com>
To: Framers List <framers -at- frameusers -dot- com>, STC Lone Writer SIG <stclwrsig-l -at- stc -dot- org>, Techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 13:17:56 -0700

-----Original Message-----
From: John Wilcox [mailto:jwilcox -at- tcsi -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2000 1:12 PM
Subject: How did you learn HTML Help?

We're moving our help system to HTML Help. This is for a Solaris application,
and the help will be generated from FrameMaker files, using WebWorks Publisher.
I need to learn how to design and implement such a system. The only book I
found through Amazon on the topic is the one that comes with the Microsoft HTML
Help Workshop. It's over two years old, plus we won't be using MS HHW, so I
don't know that the book would be all that relevant. So, for those of you who
have done HTML Help systems, how did you learn? The above book? Another
book? A class? Or did you just wing it? I'd appreciate so much any input?


Thanks so much to all those who responded to my question. Here is a summary of
the useful information I received.

The only book available on the subject currently is "The Official Microsoft HTML
Help Authoring Kit : Understanding, Creating, and Migrating to Microsoft HTML
Help" by Steve Wexler and Brett Foster. This is the book that comes with
Microsoft HTML Help Workshop, it's published by Microsoft Press, and Wexler is
the head of WexTech, hence this is a very MS/Windows-oriented book.

Another book on the subject, "HTML Help, DHTML, and CSS" by Jeannine Klein, is
due out in July (too late for
me, but sounds promising).

A couple of people recommended getting a training course on WebWorks Publisher,
because it has a steep learning curve and the documentation isn't very helpful.

A few people recommended using RoboHTML. I might do so if I were using Word on
a PC, but since we're using Frame on Solaris, WWP seems to be the best tool for

Several people just winged it (no course, just using the WWP, MSHHW, or RH

One person mentioned that there is a WWP e-mail discussion list, but I have not
been able to locate it. If anyone knows how to subscribe to same, please post.

There is a significant amount of info on HTML Help on the MSDN site. You can
also download the free Microsoft HTML Help Workshop from there. Start here:

Someone used ForeHTML, saying it was "far far far far easier" than RoboHTML.

A couple of people started by converting a WinHelp project to HTML
Help. I'll be trying this soon at home with RH.

There is a decent introductory article on the HTML Help standard and API at (written by Keith Bugg -- interesting name
for a programmer).

There's an article by Joe Welinske in the ZDnet archives. See It has some useful info, though
much of it is
basically an ad for Microsoft.

There are quite a few good links on (special thanks to Samantha
Henderson for mentioning this useful resource). Start here:

John Wilcox - Senior Technical Writer, TCSI, Bothell, Washington USA
Always read stuff that will make you look good
if you die in the middle of it. -- P. J. O'Rourke

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