Re: Online Help

Subject: Re: Online Help
From: Chuck Martin <techwriter -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 1994 18:05:07 PDT


There are no tools that I'm aware of that can creat source documents
for both Windows and OS/2 Help systems. If there were, I'd jump on them.
If you have to do both, you might do some single sourcing (love that jargon)
and write some simple macros to do the conversion; the basic information
has laready been written and designed.

Were it so easy to have a Doc-To-Help for OS/2. No such beast.

There are a number of good tools for Windows Help. But most are designed
as add-ons to Word for Windows, a good production environment in itself.
One advantage to Doc-To-Help is its ability to use one document for
both your print and your online source, where you can code some text for
your printed document, some text for your online system, and some text
for both. Tools such as Doc-To-Help, RoboHelp, and Help Magician cut
the time typically spend coding links, references, and so on. They
can't cut the planning or writing process.

If you are going to use an add-on tool for Help, you might consider
moving your whole development environment to Word, so you don't have
to perform conversions on your textual material.

The probable reasons why no Doc-To-Help-style tools are available for
OS/2 is because the market is significantly smaller. Until that market
grows (and it is growing) to where it can accommodate the cost of
automating the IPF process, the tagging will have to be done by hand.

Chuck Martin
Information Developer, IBM
techwriter -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com

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