Re: I'm sticking with WinHelp (was Re: WinHelp on Vista - a

Subject: Re: I'm sticking with WinHelp (was Re: WinHelp on Vista - a
From: Sean Wheller <sean -at- inwords -dot- co -dot- za>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 10:33:05 +0200

On Saturday 23 September 2006 20:40, Mike Hamilton wrote:
> I would hate to be the documentation author the day that WinHelp blows up
> having to go in to the Director of R&D and inform him/her that all
> development has to come to a grinding halt so that they can go back and
> recode every context sensitive help link in the application for a dot
> release to be compatible with the new help format I am giving them.
> Again, I am not here to tell anyone what formats to use. People should
> definitely be aware of any potential problems when they make their
> decisions, and that is all I was trying to do. I said earlier that anyone
> that chooses to continue using WinHelp should have a strong back-up plan
> just in case. That back-up plan should definitely include the developers in
> your organization as well.

I think what Mike has just said is very true and can respect the position of
MadCap Flare as a tool for technology of today and tomorrow. From a tool
vendors perspective this makes sense.

However, as mentioned in previous messages, there is a huge legacy out there.
The developers and the companies who created much of that legacy are no
longer around. So updates or ports are just not a question.

With backward compatibility broken, people running such systems will have to
think carefully before moving forward to Vista. If the break in backward
compatibility for WinHelp is anything to go by then people wanting to move to
Vista may find themselves in a position where they must "rip-and-replace"
legacy systems.

I am not for this. Many of these systems are working just fine and do the job
exactly as required.

The second part of legacy is in exiting documentation departments. Many of
which have huge documentation sets spanning back several versions. The
documentation for this legacy remains valuable as customers are still running
the system and versions for which the documentation was developed.

Most of these systems do not have large budgets allocated to them. Porting
them may take more than just one afternoon. It is more likely to take a
dedicated resource over a period of time. Depending on the size of the

Forcing software vendors or users to just accept that there would be no
backward compatability is a common practice with Microsoft. We are locked-in
to whatever they decide and I think it is about time that we developed an
open source, standards-based help viewer system under GNU-GPL. I think we
need to end, once and for all, the domination of one company over the help
viewer market.

Ask me about the Monkey.

Sean Wheller
Technical Author
sean -at- inwords -dot- co -dot- za

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RE: I'm sticking with WinHelp (was Re: WinHelp on Vista - a: From: Mike Hamilton

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