RE: WebHelp -- used where?

Subject: RE: WebHelp -- used where?
From: "Bill Lawrence" <scribe -at- matrixplus -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 13:21:00 -0500

> I've seen passing mention of WebHelp as something you'd
> put up on your company web site.
> What do others use it for?
> What Help format would y'all use if you had to support
> a product that's used by people who would administer
> it from Windows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX machines?
> Put another way... is there any format *other* than WebHelp
> that could be used in that situation?

At my previous job, we used Sun JavaHelp and then switched over to a
variant of that from Oracle called, strangely enough, Oracle Help. Both
worked well on all of the platforms you mentioned, but Oracle Help had
better performance. I believe JavaHelp is supported by RoboHelp and I
know that it's supported by the Modular Docbook Stylesheets.

By the way, the size of our help system was enormous (on paper, it was
over 8,000 pages). Both systems had adequate performance even with a
help system of that size. Performance was actually much better with the
Oracle Help system than a comparable HTML Help system we had been
building strictly for Windows platforms.

> Say a patch/fix for the product comes out.
> If a few Help pages needed to change, say two or three added,
> is there a way to have them just slide into the customer's
> existing installation of WebHelp? Or must we supply them
> a complete new set of hundreds of pages and ancillary files,
> just to get those few new pages in and available?
> I assume the latter, but would like to know if the former
> is possible.

Actually, the page metaphor really doesn't hold up here. It's not that
big of a deal to overwrite their existing help files and simply updating
some files could cause big problems with hyperlinks and especially
pre-compiled full text search databases. Having said that, what you
want to do is possible. Both JavaHelp and Oracle Help have the ability
to merge with other components as they are added.

I hope that helps,

Bill Lawrence

Senior Technical Writer
Matrix Solutions

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