Advice needed: Creating on-line docs

Subject: Advice needed: Creating on-line docs
From: Colleen Adams <PD33 -at- MEDISPAN -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 16:06:38 -0500

I know this topic has been beaten to death, but...I've already checked the
archives and not really found the information I've wanted.

We are now getting more and more requests to provide our technical
documentation manuals on-line; however, I don't really know what to do
to get started. Currently, all of our manuals are in Word95 (I know...
"aaarrgghh," "gasp," "yuck," you're saying to yourselves).

We have created on-line help for a couple of our Windows-based
products using Doc-To-Help, and I've received training on constructing
on-line documentation. I have also budgeted for more training, tools, etc.
for this project in the coming fiscal year (so money is not really too big of
an issue)... BUT, I'm not really familiar with what tools are best, what
training is good, and the buzzwords associated with on-line docs. HOW

1) Is FrameMaker the way to go if converting some manuals to on-line?
2) Is Word compatible with FrameMaker? Is there a lot of work involved
in converting?
3) Has anyone used "Documentation Studio" by Wextech?
4) Is it best to code your own links or use an authoring tool?
5) Should you just say "screw it" and hire a consultant? (consultants,
don't answer this one)
6) What are some of the averages in development time (per/page,
per/screen, etc.)
7) Besides Dr. Gottfredson's course on "Constructing Online
Documentation" from SkillTech, what other training sessions are
8) Do you need to treat on-line manuals on CD differently from on-line
manuals sent via telecommunications?

Any advice from you on-line gurus would be most appreciated!

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