online help system...HELP!

Subject: online help system...HELP!
From: "Chris Fitzgerald" <chrisfitztex -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2000 21:04:47 PDT

Hi everyone!

I write documents for our systems' software. The software changes rapidly and a drastic new version is being written right now with a release sometime in the early new year. It's in need of a help system as a means to alert users of the ongoing changes and multitude of functions, but I'm not sure where to begin. I've been searching the archives, but thought that I'd ask for help this way, too.

I've been approached by the Software Manager to configure a help system; as he says, "'s time to stop talking about it..."

My qualifications include limited knowledge of the programming language that the system is written (C++) and above average HTML skills. I started writing for this company 3 months ago and have never written online help.

The software that I document is extremely layered (real-time and off-line analysis for atomic force microscopy). I'm still learning this system, but am up for the challenge.

Sooo, my question is this, where do I begin? The software is going through such a drastic gui change right now, and I'd like to write the help system as the engineers write the new system. (Can this be done?)

Our tech. pubs. manager was looking at various online help methods. (She just moved to a new company). Before she left, she mentioned writing the manual modularly, then filtering it in to Web works publisher, then in to an online help system.

We do not have Web Works Publisher, nor do I think that the company will spend a great deal of money to create such a system (i.e., hiring someone who knows what they're doing or purchasing another software for online help). We do have RoboHelp and I just installed it.

We use FrameMaker on a Mac to create the hardcopy documents, but I know that the way people read manuals and online documentation is different. By the way,the software is written for PCs.

So, these are my questions: Where do I begin? What is the best (most efficient) method of creating such a system within our means? Can it be done? Is there another source that I can learn this information [i.e., RoboHelp list, Online help support group (ha!)]

Thanks for your help in advance!

Chris Fitzgerald
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at

Previous by Author: Re: OT DEFINITELY OT: RE: Dark-Side of the Tech-com world!
Next by Author: online help system...HELP addition
Previous by Thread: Re: Name that TLA
Next by Thread: Online help system...HELP!

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads