RE: Web Help Tools

Subject: RE: Web Help Tools
From: "Hager, Harry (US - East Brunswick)" <hhager -at- dc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 06:59:05 -0800

Jon,

You asked:
>However, with the advancement of various Web features, e.g., DHTML, I will
probably need a Help-oriented tool for this job. Is RoboHelp Office really
the way to go? Is there any other product out there that is better priced
and offers great functionality? Or, can I simply stick to straight HTML
coding?<


You might want to look into Doc-To-Help (commonly referred to as D2H) by
WexTech at www.Wextech.com

D2H works as an overlay to Word. You create your document in Word and there
are extra menus and commands for D2H so you can create online help. These
extra menus and commands are only present for the projects for which you
want to create online help.

If you need single sourcing (a printed version of the Word document and an
online version also) D2H is a good product.

I've used D2H to produce online help for some Web-based applications.

Good points:
- Single sourcing for print and online.
- For a Web-based application, the online help created with D2H can be
accessed from the application. With RoboHelp, you need to convert the
RoboHelp output through their Web Help application to do the same thing.
- You can download a free trial version of D2H that has the ability to
create Web-based Help. With RoboHelp, the last time I checked, you can
download a free trial version of RoboHelp BUT this doesn't create help for a
Web-based product. You must BUY Web Help to get to their Web-based help.
- The only software needed at the user PC is a current Web Browser, and it
should really be MS Internet Explorer, not Netscape.

Bad points:
- Context sensitive help for Web-based help with D2H is doable but not a
trivial task. It's not accomplished with out-of-the-box techniques.
- Web-based help works great with MS Internet Explorer but with Netscape
there are issues. I'm not familiar with these because we simply require IE.
- As an add on to Word, there may be some Word-D2H issues if you try to get
too fancy with indexing and graphics. It does indexing and handles graphics
but there are rules to be followed.
- D2H costs about the same as RoboHelp.
- Works with Word only, not FrameMaker.

Caveats:
- I'm not a D2H expert, only a typical user.
- Check to see if RoboHelp has changed their policy regarding no trial
version of Web Help.
- I have no association with or financial interest in WexTech or D2H.

Good Luck,

H. Jim Hager
hhager -at- dc -dot- com
Pittsburgh Data Center



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