SUMMARY:HTML Help and Intranets

Subject: SUMMARY:HTML Help and Intranets
From: Manon Kleijn <Manon -dot- Kleijn -at- VISION -dot- NL>
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 15:43:42 +0100

Hi all,

A few weeks ago, I posted some questions about using HTML Help for
Intranet purposes.
I'd like to thank all who have helped me by answering these questions. A
lot of people asked me to summarize for the list, so here it is. I've
also added some information I got from other sources than this list.

Please feel free to comment on the following:

Not many respondents have already completed an entire project with HTML
based help, and very few of them use it for Intranet purposes. For
working on Intranet docs, Word (with the save as HTML-option) and/or
FrontPage (or other HTML-editors) are widely used. Some respondents
advised against using HTML based help for an Intranet, because it does
not add anything to plain HTML. They argued plain HTML is simpler,
because you don't have to compile it; you just put it on the Intranet
and there you are. However, with plain HTML it is more complicated to
provide users with the search- and navigational features that HTML based
help offers (full text search, index, contents tab). But, as one of the
respondents pointed out, there are pre-fab search engines -such as Index
Server- you can implement into your Intranet (or have them implemented).

Writers seem to be quite happy with the features HTMLHelp provides,
though some report it is still buggy. The fact that you have to install
some .dll and .ocx files along with the final file, makes installation a
bit more complicated than with WinHelp files. From my own experience, I
can say that as a tool, I find RoboHTML easy to use. It took me less
than an hour to get the basics right, and after that you can create an
HTML Helpfile that looks quite sophisticated. However, I am used to
working with RoboHELP, which might have shortened the learning curve.

Finally, I have asked some people their opinion on the HTML Help
interface. They found it accessible and easy to get used to. Nearly all
of them are experienced computer users, so I would not dare to say this
works for all computer users.

Again, feel free to respond, either on the list or to me privately. Any
information is welcome.


Manon Kleijn

Manon Kleijn-Quality Assurance & Documentation
Vision Software & Services BV-The Netherlands
Opinions expressed are mine, not Vision's
manon -dot- kleijn -at- vision -dot- nl

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