Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp)

Subject: Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp)
From: Geoff Lane <geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 19:29:34 +0100

On Thursday, May 25, 2006, Bill Swallow wrote;

> To be fair, HTML Help was designed as a locally deployed UA solution,
> not a networked UA solution. Personally I'm quite happy to comply with
> its original intent rather than face the security issues found if
> Windows wasn't properly patched to disallow the hacking of CHMs in
> networked implementations. And uncompiled solutions do still work in
> both networked and local implementations. I'm not sure what you're
> seeing there, but it might be due to using certain ActiveX controls.
> Java and JavaScript-driven HTML-based uncompiled UA solutions work
> fine from my experience, multi-pane or no.

IIRC, we've had this discussion previously on HATT. It most definitely
wasn't designed for local deployment only - otherwise why would MS
advertise that it could be used for networked solutions at the time HH
was released, and why would Steve Wexler write the following in the
Introduction section of The Official Microsoft HTML Help Authoring Kit
(ISBN 1-57231-603-9)

HTML Help is Not Just for "Help"
Some people, when they hear the word "help", think of the little
window that appears when they press F1 or click the Help button in a
dialog box. While this is certainly one use for HTML Help, HTML Help
is designed for much more than just online Help. For example,
Microsoft will use HTML Help to create and publish all of its online
documentation (including the Microsoft Developer Network and
Development Studio documentation) as well as commercial reference
works, such as Microsoft Encarta.

HTML Help is also the ideal solution for online publication of such
reference works as employee handbooks, procedural manuals, and ISO
9000 documentation.

So by all means, use HTML Help to add Help to an application. But
you should also consider using HTML Help as a way to improve the
content of your intranet.

Unfortunately for me, I took Steve and Microsoft at their word and
used HTML Help for several clients to publish their SOPs, handbooks
etc. on their intranets.

FYI, uncompiled HTML Help does not work over a network unless you hack
the Registry as detailed in the MS KB articles on the subject. The
only way that I've found to get HH working for a distributed
application without registry-burglary is to install the Help locally.
However, that is a non-starter for most of what I've done in the last
half-decade or more.

There are alternatives, but all the ones that I've found are
proprietary and so I can't modify my HH navigation generation scripts
to use them. I'm currently working on something that will take an HHC
file and spit out Javascript based on Jean-Claude Manoli's work.
However, I've been too busy up to my armpits in aligators for the last
six months or more to knuckle down to the task.




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ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp): From: Char James-Tanny
Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp): From: Geoff Lane
Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp): From: Bill Swallow

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