Re: online help for web pages

Subject: Re: online help for web pages
From: "Humphries, Ola" <Ola -dot- Humphries -at- caminus -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 09:21:12 -0500

JavaHelp is for applications written in Java.
WebHelp is uncompiled HTML help, useful if you want true cross-browser help.
That is, your users can access it whether they are running Netscape, IE, Mac
or whatever.
HTML help (such as RoboHELP HTML) is compiled HTML help. It makes a .chm
file (one file) that you can load on PC or on a server. It allows you all
the functionalities of HTML, but people used to WinHelp may find that some
"goodies" are missing. Its interface is tri-pane, with a list of topics in
left side, button bar, and content pane.
WinHelp is the traditional Windows help. Opens to the three tabs. Once you
select a topic on the Contents tab (or another tab), the TOC disappears and
you have just the content pane with your topic and text. Microsoft is now
moving to developing HTML help, so the feeling is that this form of help is
now stable. Microsoft will continue to support it for a number of years. I
notice that the new version of FrameMaker uses WinHelp. And it is the most
commonly used form of online Help in the world.
RoboHELP has a WinHelp2000 form of WinHelp which gives you the best of both
HTML help and WinHelp. I chose it for a recent project and like it very
much. It has the three pane interface as well as all the goodies in WinHelp
that we like. You can also use HTML topics inside the project.
Get RoboHELP office if you can. It's expensive, but it allows you to do many
things, such as change an older WinHelp project to a WebHelp project and
decompile a Help project. EHelp will send you a copy of the software, with a
15 day license, to try it out. You can make any form of help you need with
this product and import all forms of older help into a new project.
Incidentally, don't just look at the expense for the initial purchase.
Consider that your company will continue to upgrade and upgrades generally
cost far less than the original. The upfront purchase price is a one-time
Another consideration is the amount and quality of technical support
available for each product.
If you have used any other type of online help, your learning curve for a
new product should be greatly reduced.

Ola Humphries
Technical Writer for GasMaster
Phone: 832-200-7243 (work)
713-864-1553 (home)

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