Help on HELP! (long)

Subject: Help on HELP! (long)
From: "Jarvis A. Ridges" <Jarvis_A -dot- _Ridges -at- POSTAL -dot- ESSD -dot- NORTHGRUM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 11:55:54 -0400

Hi Techwrlers.

I've been following the list for some time now, and all of you seem to
"know your stuff"! :^) I would like present a situation:

I work for a defense contractor as a Software Instructor and I've
been employed with this company since August 1997. The software
that I am responsible for training on has been developed by one
of the company's employees. There are currently 11 apps created
using Gupta's SqlWindows, however, none of them have a "help"
option. I have been tasked with the responsibilities of creating
manuals, training documentation, as well as online documentation
for each of the apps. I've managed to "master" two of them, as
well as to create training documentation (in Word 6, using NT
4.0) and conduct training classes.

Before I go any further, I have a few concerns:

1) When creating a "help" option for each of these apps, is this
considered online help or does online help become online help
when it is placed on an inter/intranet? (Please forgive the
simplicity of this question).

2) The move seems to be towards HTML-based help. Should I begin
there or should I start with WinHelp and convert in the future?
(I'm a little familiar w/WinHelp, but have no knowledge of HTML
help whatsoever. I'm currently reading the white paper on
HTML-based help by Blue Sky).

3) Someone indicated on the list that the training documentation
should be different from the manual, and they both should be
different from the online documentation. Should I continue to
use MS Word to create my printed documentation? (Eventually, we'd
like to place the manuals on our company's intranet. However,
I'd like to have hypertext links within the manuals that would
jump from document to document, and our System Admininstrator
said that this isn't possible with .pdf files.)

We are currently using Win NT 3.51 & 4.0 Workstations, NT 3.51
Server, MSOffice (Word 6, Excel 5, etc.--- next year we'll be
upgrading to Office 97), Adobe (Acrobat, Distiller, Exchange,
PhotoShop, etc.), Corel Ventura, Visio, Gupta SqlWindows,
Netscape 3.0 & IE 4.0 and several others too numerous to mention.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Please respond

Thanks in advance.

Jarvis (Jarvis_A -dot- _Ridges -at- postal -dot- essd -dot- northgrum -dot- com)

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