Re: Online Help question

Subject: Re: Online Help question
From: Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: Melissa Nelson <melmis36 -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 06 May 2010 10:38:59 -0500

Melissa Nelson wrote:
> Hi All,
> I have a couple of questions and I am not quite sure how to ask them, so I hope I make sense!
> Ok Here goes....
> I started a job as the first technical writer at a company a few weeks ago; by the way thanks for all the tips! :)
> Anyhow...they are looking at starting an Online Help system, or at least a series of FAQs that can be searched. I suggested using RoboHelp or FLARE for producing the content, I have experience with RoboHelp and Help and Manual but not FLARE. Is FLARE better than either RoboHelp or Help and Manual? I know it seems to be the most popular lately, but is it really any better?
Depends on who you ask. If you ask a sales rep from any of those
companies, of course the answer is their tool is best. The question
would seem to be, do you want to learn a new tool or do you want to be
productive in very short order? At least that's the question I'd be
asking myself. And of the tool I chose, would it be capable of producing
the content I wanted to produce? I would think choosing a tool on only
the merits of popularity would be just wrong. You need to examine what
the tool offers, then make the choice. For example, I wouldn't choose a
Table saw to cut mitered corners. I'd choose a miter saw for that.
Choose the tool based on its strengths. Choosing a tool because it's
most popular is like asking Lowes or Home Depot what saw they sell the
most of. Could be on that particular day they had a run on jig saws.
While a jig saw is great for what it does, it will be nearly impossible
to rip a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood and result in a straight line.
> Also, I have produced the content for Online Help and then passed it off to developers, so when they asked me in the meeting what happens with the content after I produced it, my only reply was "I do not know..I send it to developers!" I kind of need a better answer if I am actually going to get this system..and it is really needed! Does anyone on here know of a great answer for what steps Online Help goes through from producing it in an HAT to actually being able to access it when you click a Help button?
To some degree the actual steps will depend on the HAT. Different HATs
produce different types of output. And the output may be linked to in
different ways. Sounds like you need to get a handle on Context
Sensitive Help. You might begin by using Google to seek out Context
Sensitive Help. Here is a link to get you started:
> Hope that made a little sense..just came out of a two and a half hour meeting on it and my brain is fried! :)
> Thanks so much,
> Melissa

Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial:

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Online Help question: From: Melissa Nelson

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