Re: Managing help when multiple tools are in one GUI

Subject: Re: Managing help when multiple tools are in one GUI
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 18:14:24 -0500


First, let me say that I am "thinking out loud" here regarding a
possible solution.

What if you did *not* use a .chm help file--but instead went with a
"straight" HTML (or, better yet, XHTML) help system? I think it could
be designed to have element designations for each module and its
version as a key part of the resulting structure; adding additional
products or upgrading old ones could be done by a script, so that the
proper references are in place following product installation/upgrade.

With that approach, you could also use XMLFO to allow physical
printing for those who desire a manual, for example...and there are
also indexing products for XML around that could be activated by the
install re-index as the last part of the process, perhaps.

Using a system like this, it would be fully possible to have several
versions of help...the customer might have a brief edition for the
knowledgeable users, and add on more detail for the "newbies"---using
this system, it could be integrated fairly well, I believe.

Others may have a better solution for you...but as I see it, using
.chm would quickly prove to be a nightmare--since it's a compiled help
system, post-hoc referencing to adjust for various of the many product
options would be a horror show.


On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 15:24:56 -0400,
walter -dot- crockett -at- ascentialsoftware -dot- com
<walter -dot- crockett -at- ascentialsoftware -dot- com> wrote:
> The company I work for is moving to a single encompassing Windows GUI for
> all of its products, which were previously developed, sold, installed, and
> accessed separately. Now the focus is on the suite of products.
> We want to have a common-look and feel for the online product documentation
> and we want all the online help and reference information to be easy to find
> and optimally interconnected.


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Managing help when multiple tools are in one GUI: From: walter . crockett

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