Re: Ideas for Help 2.0

Subject: Re: Ideas for Help 2.0
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 06:31:42 -0800 (PST)

I'd refine that a bit to say help will move to the level
of networking that the application moves to.  For social sites
and the like, that means help is on the web.  For tiered and distributed
apps, that means help is on the internal network.  Basically, help moves
from the client, to the server. 

Now, for big houses like MS and Adobe,
maybe desktop product help moves to the server.  I personally haven't
gotten anything useful from that kind of help in Adobe products.  In
MS products, the only one that benefits from that kind of help is
Visual Studio -- in other words, there's a community of programmers
who are adding to what's available.  But in reality, for MS APIs
I have yet to find much info that benefits from being on the web,
while also being controlled by MS.  Maybe some string handling,
but not much.  Maybe that's a reflection on the community and not
the category of information...

Compare that to Java and PHP documentation...  In those cases the
docs integrate forum capabilities, and that really works out well. 
But so far my experience with Adobe has been that Web/Local hybrid help
is like a band-aid where you expect the crowd to fix bad documentation.

========= RESPONDING TO: ===================================
Yes, implicit in my prediction is that help will continue moving to
the Web, which will become the default, and that locally installed
help will decline. Hybrid online-offline help is already standard for
Microsoft and Adobe apps. The large and immediate payoffs from
reporting will be the primary driver of this trend.

There's an opportunity here for someone to take the tech docs tools
market away from Adobe, or for Adobe to reestablish dominance.

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.

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