Online Help Facility File Structure

Subject: Online Help Facility File Structure
From: lrjleyba -at- mindspring -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 20:39:59 -0700


I'm writing a research paper on Designing Effective Online Help
Facilities. One of the sections deals with the underlying architecture of
the source files. Can anyone suggest some reference material pertaining to
the best way to design the source file structure?

For example, I recently worked on a What's This Help project using
RoboHelp Classic. There were over 600 active entries with an untold
number of "retired" entries. These topics were divided into groups using
a numbering scheme, which I'm sure made sense when the project was first
conceived. The problem is that the structure did not evolve with the
software, so that by the time I was pulled in, the numbering scheme had
lost its meaning and only served to make locating specific topics and
dialogs a very, very tedious task.

The same situation existed for the context sensitive HTML portion of the
help facility. When the facility was first drafted, the naming convention
and file categorization of the HTML files probably made a lot of sense,
but the software had evolved so much since then that I couldn't make heads
or tails of it.

Obviously, principles on database design could be applied to the above
problem. However, rather than re-inventing the wheel (especially since
this would be stepping slightly out of the scope of my paper) I was hoping
there might be some (dare I say it) documentation on the subject.

Thanks in advance

Rachael Leyba



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