HTML help questions

Subject: HTML help questions
From: Beth Kane <Beth -dot- Kane -at- VENTANA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 09:28:12 -0700

Although I have developed a lot of 32-bit Winhelp systems, I'm
completely inexperienced with HTML help, and I'd like to ask you a few
things about it. It looks like my company is leaning toward producing
the entire help system for our new product in HTML, since other
companies are doing it these days with their new products. We don't own
an HTML-help authoring tool yet and have to buy one ASAP.

Here's a little background: My company's new application will run on Win
95-98-NT machines. It will be used in large corporations that may or may
not allow all their workers Internet access. There's no guarantee that
all users will have a browser installed. We're discussing distributing a
free browser with the product, and it's true that people can download a
browser. But I understand it matters which browser people use...I'm
still hearing that there are problems caused by differences in the way
HTML help displays in different browsers. What kind of problems? Have
you found a way to minimize the problems?

How does HTML help appear, in a non-Internet application? When someone
clicks Help in our application, does the full-size browser window
instantly pop open with the help in it? Or will they just see a window
that's the same width and height as your help system screens? I'd hate
to see our interface covered up by a browser window. Where can I see a
good example of this?

And finally, I hear that ForeHelp's HTML help authoring tool is not very
good (an improvement is due in February but that's too late for us). And
Front Page does too much proprietary stuff. I heard RoboHTML is good.
Any other recommendations for or against a particular tool? Do ForeHTML
and RoboHTML "prefer" displaying in IE vs. Netscape?

Thanks very much for any help you can lend,
Beth Kane
kane -at- ventana -dot- com in Tucson

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