Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp)

Subject: Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp)
From: "Mike Starr" <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 02:19:53 -0500

I've never been sold on HTML Help for that very reason. I've always felt that WinHelp served the user far better than HTML Help.

I've also always felt that the main reason Microsoft switched over to HTML Help was as a validation of their push to conquer the browser marketplace. If folks needed to use HTML for help, Microsoft could justify embedding Internet Explorer more deeply into the operating system.

Now, they're reaping the "rewards" of that bad decision... HTML Help remains a kluge that never brought any advance to the concept of online help. The lack of non-scrolling regions and the kluges required to get formatted popups have led me to advocate WinHelp to my clients whenever there's an option. I've even advocated down-converting from HTML Help to WinHelp.

I recall being terribly aggravated when Microsoft "upgraded" WinHelp and incorporated the separate contents file (*.cnt) because it only displayed the contents pane and not the help pane. I always felt that when a user pressed F1 to launch the help system, the help system should display a help window that showed the company's logo. When the HAT vendors came up with the tri-pane view, that resolved that deficiency, I was completely happy with WinHelp. RoboHelp's WinHelp 2000 is just fine with me.

My prediction... Microsoft will cave in and ship the WinHelp engine with Vista, either with the initial release or shortly thereafter when the outrage hits because all sorts of legacy software is suddenly no longer able to display user help.

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Website developer
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
Phone: (262) 694-1028 - Tollfree: (877) 892-1028 - Fax:(262) 697-6334
Email: mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - Web:
----- Original Message ----- Message: 46
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 08:15:36 +1000
From: Frank <frank -at- research -dot- canon -dot- com -dot- au>
Subject: Re: ANN: Microsoft update (WinHelp)
To: 'TECHWR-L' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>

Paul Neshamkin wrote:

IMHO, HTML Help never was finished, and has been degraded in its
functionality since the initial release.

I agree. From a user's perspective, HTML Help is a step backward from
WinHelp. HTML Help is /not/ user-friendly when compared with WinHelp.

WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content delivery. Try it today!.
Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

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