RE: Dreamweaver to create HTML Help? (Take II)

Subject: RE: Dreamweaver to create HTML Help? (Take II)
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 08:16:29 -0500

Thanks to those who updated me on the ability of Dreamweaver to produce
useful Help files. My original comment was that, out of the box, Dreamweaver
can't generate context-sensitive help (including indexes) as easily as a
dedicated tool such as RoboHelp.

John Kinsky replied: <<Dreamweaver doesn't provide some of the nice features
often found in HAT's, like easy TOC and index generation; however, the
application does generate error-free HTML and provides us with an
opportunity to separate ourselves from Java applet support problems that
seem to nag WebHelp and Web Works Publisher.>>

I selected Dreamweaver for my own Web authoring tool specifically for the
reasons you mention, and though it has a few rough edges, I still think it's
a fine tool. Fast, clean, and effective.

<<CSS1 elements work just fine on all IE 4.0x (and higher) and Netscape 4.0x
(and higher) browsers, but you might need to adjust for display differences.

My point wasn't that CSS isn't supported, but rather that (as you noted)
it's supported differently by different browsers. That's true of many other
features of HTML, and it leaves me suspicious of the extra effort required
to debug browser differences. But I didn't say that particularly clearly,
which is always the risk of hasty responses.

John Garison also responded:

<<Ben Weisner is a leading light. For more information, check out>>

Thanks for the reference. Given that I'm already up to speed in Dreamweaver,
and seeking a replacement for RoboHelp, the Deva extensions mentioned on
this site sound like they will nicely address most of my main reservations
concerning Dreamweaver as a Help development tool.

<<We don't feel like we're giving up much by abandoning HTMLHelp which is
NOT an option for us as not all our users are on PCs or use IE.>>

That's one of my objections too. In fact, as a sophisticated, powerful,
public standard, HTML itself strikes me as a better choice than HTMLHelp or
other proprietary solutions.

The one question that hasn't been answered yet (unless it's buried deep in
my inbox and I haven't seen it yet) is how to make the raw HTML
context-sensitive; that is, to integrate it within the application in such a
manner as to let users jump immediately to the help topic for the current
screen. If that can be done without jumping through hoops, I'd feel
perfectly confident in shelving RoboHelp and going to Dreamweaver.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is
by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause
accidents."-- Nathaniel Borenstein

Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
**WEST COAST LOCATIONS** San Jose (Mar 1-2), San Francisco (Apr 16-17) or 800-646-9989.

IPCC 01, the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference,
October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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