Subject: choices..choices
From: "Henry W. Meyerding" <hwm -at- HALCYON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 08:04:56 -0700

Whether to choose MS HTMLHELP or NetHelp

Depends on what you want.

If your hearts desire was Winhelp 4, then M$ has done a good job of
recreating it in an html metaphore (sort of). Then you can sit and wait
patiently for the gods of Windows to set the paradigm and redefine it the
next time they want to test the reciprocal arrangement between their cash
flow and yours.

Netscape is trying the Unix/Internet approach of offering to mediate a
process that will develop open standards, some proprietary tools and lots
of third party supplements. They ask, "Was winhelp what you really
wanted?" They answer this rhetorical question by saying that if that's the
concensus, then they're sure it can be arrived at."

I'm sure that Microsoft will attempt to give us the same old same old in
html clothing. If we buy that, then more fool us. If we don't and it
becomes clear than the online documentation community won't accept five
year old standards in the new distributed medium, then there will be a lot
of takers who will attempt to fill this void. Whether the best of these
(or even one of these) is Netscape is anybody's guess.

At my company, we're going to do a lot of usability studies to determine
the customer's beefs and desires. When we're firmly convinced we have a
clue about the customers' issues, then we'll look about for the best array
of solutions to address those requirements.

Personally, and speaking prejudicially, I'm always more prone to becoming
part of a process than to accept the passive role of being the consumer of
a product. We'll see...

Good luck!

Henry W. Meyerding
Technical Writer

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