Windows Help/Future Demand

Subject: Windows Help/Future Demand
From: Matthew Wong <wong -at- ACEC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 18:19:31 PST

Hello List,

While Kelly Hoffman is right in suggesting that the demise of printed
documentation is greatly
exaggerated, it is also true that the future of tech writers will extend beyond
documentation, which leads me to the second issue of this message: On-Line Help
(specifically Windows Help facility)

Our documentation department has been tasked with developing the Windows help
facility for
all the Windows applications that are currently being developed by the company.
on-line help and on-line documentation will become more and more the province of
tech writers.

Thanks to the help from this list, I was able to determine if there are any
Windows help
authoring tools that uses FrameMaker as their editing environment. The answer
seems to be
no. I realize that I can save the FrameMaker files in RTF and then use the Help
(HC.EXE, HC30.EXE, or HC31.EXE) to generate the hlp files.

Alternatively, I could use a Windows help authoring tool. These tools use
Microsoft Word for
their editing environment. The benefit of these tools is that it provides an
integrated package for
writing, coding, and compiling the Windows help.

For those of you on the list who are developing the help facility for Windows
applications I
would like to hear from you about:

1. Which of the two development routes would you recommend: (a) develop the RTF
file with
FrameMaker and then exeute the help compiler, or (b) use a Windows help
authoring tool.

2. What Windows help authoring tool would you recommend: (a) RoboHelp, (b)
(c) Help Magician, and what are your reasons for recommending/discouraging them.

3. How are you presently developing your Windows help ?

Thanks to all for your time and attention.

Matthew (wong -at- acec -dot- com)

"Words, words, words--Hamlet"

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