Windows Help/Future Demand

Subject: Windows Help/Future Demand
From: Steve Owens <uso01%eagle -at- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 16:47:51 +0700

> Hello List,

Hello Matthew :-)

By the way, next time you post, could you keep your line length to
78 characters or less? Otherwise it's displayed in a really ugly way on
most people's mailers.

> 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. Undoubtedly, 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.

Uhm, actually the answer is yes. Sort of. Bristol
Technologies sells a UNIX online help package called Hyperhelp, which
will convert Framemaker files to their proprietary format. They also
sell application named "Bridge", which will convert their proprietary
format to MS-Windows Help format.

Their prices are a little high for my tastes ($2500 for their
hyperhelp compiler, $2500 for a license to distribute copies of their
hyperhelp viewer, probably $2500 for Bridge). I suspect that they sell
the Bridge package in some form that incorporates the MIF-to-hyperhelp
step (or perhaps that includes it).

If you're using Framemaker to produce your primary docs, I'd
strongly suggest looking at Bridge - it should let you cut way down on
the duplicate time spent reformatting stuff written in framemaker.

You can get in touch with Bristol on the net. You can ftp
demos of their viewer software from (although I suspect
you aren't much interested in their viewer software) and you can get
in touch with them via e-mail. I'm currently corresponding with
amy -at- bristol -dot- com -dot-

This looks like a really spiffy technology. The only
obstacles I see to getting it are the cost (our product goes out on
20-25 different platforms, so we'd have to buy the source code for the
viewer - this is even pricier) and the question of porting and
maintenance, although we should only have to do that once. I'm
still looking into it. Oh, hyperhelp comes in Xwindows and
vt100-stle text interfaces, I'm primarly looking at the text version,
at least for now. The demo seems nice, I'm in the process of getting
an evaluation copy of the compiler, to see if it takes our Framemaker
files easily or not.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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