TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Thank you to those of you who replied to me in response to my question, "Does
anyone use Word Perfect anymore?" Four out of the five who responded use Word
for Windows. Three of those four specifically mentioned their involvement in
online help projects. I've paraphrased/ summarized each response:
Doug (engstromdd -at- philbred -dot- com) has created a few Windows help files and will
be creating a lot more. He explained to me that since Microsoft controls the
.RTF standard, and .RTF files vary between versions, you're only guaranteed
.RTF compatibility with the "latest and greatest" version of Word. Doug's
second point is that *toolmakers* assume you'll be using Word. Although you
can manually code help, which is a long and tedious process, WHY would you
want to? Doug said, "In summary, the time you save not cooking up your own
solutions or hand-coding rapidly outstrips the relatively paltry price of the
Darren(wk06248 -at- wordlink -dot- com) told me that his department uses Word Perfect,
but for their first Windows product, they researched for a help authoring
tool that would work with WP. They found one called HelpPerfect. The problem
is it was in beta in Jan and the company was based in the Netherlands with no
US reps. They ended up getting Word 6.0 and RoboHelp (for their Windows
product only). Darren reasons that eventually someone will come out with
exactly what you need, but can you wait that long?
Andreas(andreas -at- netcom -dot- com) uses Word. Although he did not mention anything
about online help, he provides support for using Word. He seems to be very
comfortable with its ease of use and professional looking layout, plus the
competitive upgrade is only $99.
Kelly(kelly -at- disk-synergy -dot- com) says they've always used Word for Windows and
they're about to do their first big online documentation project. They have
the Microsoft Help Author, William Hotrton's book _Designing & Writing Online
Documentation_, and _Developing Online Help for Windows_ by Farkas and
Welinske. They also have info from several online doc seminars. They're just
getting familiar with the terminology.
Tammy(Tammy_Williams -at- oclc -dot- org) did not mention anything about online help,
but said that she uses Word Perfect and Ventura Publisher.