RE: Best Modern Alternative to CHM?

Subject: RE: Best Modern Alternative to CHM?
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: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:48 +0000 (UTC)

Steve W says:======================================

* XML. Actually I have a meeting with a customer tomorrow who wants XML
content to integrate directly into the app. I am not sure as yet what XML
they need and the "how". Maybe someone else knows more. Either way, I'll
report back tomorrow if something useful comes out of the meeting. If this
will be the case, we will author in Paligo and create a delivery in XML that
matches their requirements (but may take some work to convert to the XML
standard they want, unless they will manage with Docbook).==========================
I do this for Turbonomic documentation. We use DITA, and transform the XML into HTML in the browser. We have a FLEX GUI and we use this to deliver help in a browser page. We're moving over to an HTML GUI, and we integrated the transform in the app framework. That means we can transform the content on the fly, directly into a given GUI widget. For example, we deliver walk-through balloons (tours in bootstrap) that use our source DITA, transformed into JSON on the fly. The same DITA can also go out to a PDF, or to HTML... Whatever we want. You can see open source here:
You might also look at Micheal Kay to see his Saxon CE. It's an open source implementation of Saxon in the browser. I think he's phasing that out and wants to use compiled content. But in any case, he also transforms in the browser, and his docs are in DocBook... You can see an example here:

I'm all about integrating doc content in the product GUI. One thing we can do via our dynamic transform is inject functions wherever we want. That means we can ask the application for real-time data and either filter the content to match the state, or we can inject real-time data into the content. The line between docs and GUI begins to blur. IMO, there should be little or no distinction between the two.
As for replacing CHM... With NodeJS you can deliver a mini web server. Users can install that, and they can have locally served up HTML, with JavaScript and all. One hopes that in the not-too-distant future every OS will be enabled to use containers (Docker). In that case, you can wrap such a setup in a container and it all becomes trivial.Â

OTOH, how long will it be before the concept of a desktop app simply dies? If all apps are client/server, then all docs can be served up with the client. You can choose your poison... Centralized docs served from a mother ship, distributed docs served from each app server component, or whatever hybrid you want.


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