XML as Help format?

Subject: XML as Help format?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 08:52:48 -0400

Robert Johnson reports: <<The developers in this company want to use XML as
theHelp format. I have not heard anything about using XML as a Help format,
and a search of the techwr-l archives and a couple of Web searches have
turned up nothing. I figure that if anyone was doing any work on using XML
in this manner, we would have heard something, either on the list or from
one of the HAT develoeprs.>>

I'm not on the cutting edge of help development, since it's not my main job
at work; moreover, WinHelp still meets all my needs and those of my
audience, so I'm way behind the cutting edge. (One might say I'm still
clinging timidly to the knife's handle. <g>) So while I do try to keep up on
what's going on in this field, please wait for feedback from the more expert
Help developers on techwr-l for a definitive answer. I haven't heard of XML
as a native Help format, and given that my monthly "buy our new version now"
postcard from RoboHelp hasn't mentioned it, it doesn't yet seem to be a
priority for the developers of authoring tools. I imagine that XHTML
(loosely: a more rigorously defined and typed HTML) would be easy to
integrate within a conventional HTMLHelp system. Perhaps that's what the
developers were thinking? If not, perhaps they've got their own Help engine
that lets them create embedded help using XML-tagged documents. If so, that
would be an interesting and probably quite productive approach.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
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