Re: Help or User Manual First?

Subject: Re: Help or User Manual First?
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 11:02:54 -0500

At 11:35 AM 4/30/97 -0400, you wrote:
>>Design your approach so that it works for both, meaning that you'll have
>to compromise pretty heavily. There won't be many popups, for example,
>unless you want to do them separately and lose
>your time benefits of straddling<
>
>WexTech Systems has a white paper discussing single source publishing
>(printed, WinHelp and HTML) authoring, which goes over issues involved and
>how single source authoring is a good solution for those who need printed,
>Windows Help and HTML documentation and don't want to compromise any
>medium. For further information visit our web page at
>http://www.wextech.com.
>
>David Young
>Senior Technical Support Representative
>WexTech Systems, Inc.
>techsupp -at- wextech -dot- com
>
I'll check out the white paper, David. Without seeing it, I'd have to be a
bit skeptical about any approach that neatly melds the various media without
any compromises. They're just too darned different not to involve
compromises. If nothing else, print is "flippable" while hypertext is
usually one screen/topic at a time, a fact that, by itself, determines some
design parameters. And there are numerous tricks you can do with online that
don't have a print equivalent. And while the print reader has a great deal
of control over what she reads at the time, hypertext files imprison the
user far more, requiring much more thought and planning.

Again without having taken the time to read the white paper, I'd have to
stand for the moment with those who'd advocate doing the two files
separately, and in two different tools. That is, if you have the time and
the money. Given the increasing costs of development time and the inevitable
shortening of time-to-market, I'd say that the trend is toward
single-source, not away.

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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