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Subject:Re: Experience using these tools? From:Brannon Golden <brannon -dot- golden -at- WCOM -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 21 Jan 1997 08:35:47 -0600
You should know about a little-known GUI tool that IBM developed specifically to simplify online help development. *Hyperwise* is an OS/2-based Help development system which can generate BKM (BookManager), IPF, INF, and HLP files, all suitable for viewing in OS/2. I found this tool to have a minimal learning curve--I was actually creating HLP files within just a few minutes after getting it installed. (Check out http://direct.boulder.ibm.com/us/devsol/devaids/p33d.htm for more information.)
Hyperwise's greatest advantage is that you can actually *see* what your files are going to look like once they're online. Anyone with OS/2 can immediately view your INF and HLP files. If you're into hand-tweaking marked-up text, you can generate your files as IPF and then work them over in any text editor (such as E or EPM). I'm pretty sure that BookManager/BookMaster requires a special viewer (for online use), as Michelle mentioned.
IBM's selling this tool for around $200 these days. I personally consider this a negligible investment, considering the time it can save you, particularly if you're new to markup languages.
I used Hyperwise about a year and half ago, at which time it exhibited occasional erratic behavior (though not enough to keep me from recommending it). Although IBM advertises that you can use it to make help files for Windows, they don't bother telling you that you also have to have their Windows version of an INF viewer to make this work. When I was using Hyperwise, RTF and HTML were not yet implemented, so I can't comment on their usefulness.
P.S. Although this e-mail probably sounds like it, I am in no way affiliated with IBM, nor have I ever been. I'm only speaking from my own personal experience.