Re: Portable Online Documentation

Subject: Re: Portable Online Documentation
From: Marsha Wolicki <cmawta%taux01 -dot- nsc -dot- com -at- HARVUNXW -dot- BITNET>
Date: Mon, 9 May 1994 09:18:23 IDT

Thanks to all who expressed interest and offered suggestions.
For the curious, I am sitting in National Semiconductor's R&D
center in Herzlia, Israel. I thought you would know from the
area code on my fax number, where I am.

The consensus seems to be as follows:

- HyperHelp from Bristol Technology is the tool to compile
online help for multiple platforms.

- FrameViewer would enable us to just put our manuals online
(obviously, with hyperlinks).

- DynaText from Electronic Book Technologies can format
documentation that is in SGML format, for viewing on different

All the options are very, very expensive. Since our customer base is
small and our users are sophisticated (usually engineers), HyperHelp
may not be a cost-effective solution.

We will probably move towards SGML in the future. However, we are
not there yet. Consequently, that option does not seem viable.

I am currently checking out how FrameMaker documents on my Unix
system look when viewed using FrameRead (I think that is the
Windows equivalent of FrameViewer). If the hypertext options in
FrameMaker are used fully, the result could be very good. The main
loss would be context-sensitivity.

Anyway, checking this all out and determining which approach (or
combination thereof) will best meet our particular needs, while I
try to keep up with all my other work, will probably take me a while.

Although I enjoy this list, I usually don't have time to participate
actively. When I feel the urge to answer someone, I have found that
if I only wait a day or two, someone else will express my feelings
exactly. It's great to know that others out there grapple with the
same nit-picky issues I do, issues that no one else cares about.
(Yep, I ended with a preposition. Sometimes, it just flows better
that way.)

When in doubt, I usually go with gut feelings on wording. Then I bounce
it off my colleague who is a Brit (I'm American). When we agree, and
we often do (wonder of wonders), we ignore the rules.

Now, you can see why I don't usually participate. Once I get started,
I don't stop. Don't worry. In my technical stuff, not an extra word
gets by.

Thanks again, to all.

cmawta -at- taux01 -dot- nsc -dot- com
or fax number: 972-9-558322 attn: Marsha

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