Re: choices..choices

Subject: Re: choices..choices
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 10:36:00 EST

At 08:04 AM 9/25/96 -0700, you wrote:
>Whether to choose MS HTMLHELP or NetHelp

>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

My hunch is that since IE 3.0 will read JavaScript, you'll be able to
develop help for either EI or NS. NS will eventually read VBScript, too, so
the compatibility will flow both ways. I think it may well wash out that
help will appear in either browser, just as WordPerfect opens Word files,
and vice versa. At least, this will hold in MS Windows. Other operating
systems won't be so lucky. There Netscape is the only practical choice.

The file structure will be radically different, though, and that, rather
than browser aspects, may well determine the popularity of one browser or
the other. NS's help won't compact pages into one file, so while it will be
flexible and accessible, it's also cumbersome and about as un-portable as
things get. And if you need hundreds or thousands of pages, things can get
extremely dicey. MS's file will be compressed, with pages extracted at
runtime. And it will need Windows software to operate correctly.

Still, a lot of developers would kill for a completely cross-platform
solution, and Netscape is offering a sound method for it.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
FrameMaker support ForeHelp support
FrameMaker-to-HTML Conversions
HTML Help Consulting and Production

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