Re: desparately seeking java-based help

Subject: Re: desparately seeking java-based help
From: Ruth Glaser <ruthg -at- GORETEK -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 09:04:51 -0500

I wrote:

>I find it amazing that java is fast becoming the programming environment
>of choice, primarily because it is platform and browser independenty, yet we
>technical communicators have no similar platform/browser independent
>development environment for online help. (Anyone else keeping their fingers crossed
>for java-based help development tools?)

Sue responded:

I think we need to do more than keep our fingers crossed, Ruth. If we
mindlessly adopt new technologies just because they're the latest and
greatest, we'll never be better off than we are now. We've got to
discriminate and only adopt those technologies that work to our advantage.

Me again:

Absolutely, Sue. So far no one has come up with a browser independent
online help solution that will work to my advantage -- that's why I posed
the question in the first place. The problem I find is that technology in
software development advances fast (specifically Java), yet the tools
and technology advancement for technical communication does not
keep pace, i.e. the programming staff can adopt a Java development
environment, but I as a writer cannot currently support that environment
with out jumping through huge, flaming hoops.

In addition to keeping our fingers crossed, what can we do to influence
the development of tools/technology? I personally have attended several
Java seminars (of the "salesy" nature) sponsored by Sun. I spoke with
representatives from Netscape at the STC Conference. (I don't bother
with Microsoft reps, because I feel that's absolutely useless). The
message I carry is always, "My development team develops a java
based system. It is browser independent. I need an online help
solution that is also browser independent." My intention is to make
them aware that we as technical communicators have this need.

Is this doing any good? It doesn't seem to be. How can we,
collectively, influence the development of tools/solutions we need?


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