Authoring software

Subject: Authoring software
From: Rita Johnson <rbjldj -at- USIT -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 10:04:09 -0400

I am the only technical writer for a company that manufactures fiber test
equipment (large, expensive, and complex) we do our own software and my job
includes writing the instruction manuals and the service manuals. Our
equipment is exported around the world and our service techs are very
dependent on our manuals. I have been pushing for us to deliver on CD for a
quite some time and now it's going to happen! Now I need advice on what to
use to deliver this.

Just this spring we did our first Windows based software and I supplied the
help files using the Windows 95 Help Authoring Kit. I realized then that to
do extensive help files I wanted an authoring package. We are working on a
new instrument due to be released next year that is entirely Windows based.
I got WinHelp Office 95 and will be using it for that project.

In the meantime, I have this immediate need to deliver our service, spare
parts, and instruction manuals for a series of instruments on CD. It is
critical for the success of the project that it be easy to use with jumps,
popups, etc. so that the service techs can actually find the infomation they
need quickly. These manuals are full of photos and I would like to include
some short video clips. I am currently doing the research for purchasing a
CD writer (I want one that I will be able to add an autoloader to in the

My question to this group---finally---what authoring software do you use for
this type of project? Can I use the Winhelp Office 95 or do I need something
else (Macromedia, etc.)? I don't want to spend my company's money on
additional software if what I have is sufficient.

At this point we do not have a web presence, nor are our service techs
connected to the Internet. The only way I am connected, is because I use my
personal account. This is a bone I have picked with my boss for years--we're
an international company and yet we are not using the most efficient means
of communication. I expect this will change (ever the optimist). The reason
I mention this is because I don't want to have to re-do the work to put it
on the net (when we get to that point).


rbjldj -at- usit -dot- net

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