summary WinHelp versus HTML help: which to use

Subject: summary WinHelp versus HTML help: which to use
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 15:09:44 -0400

Hallo:

The many emails I received on the issue of which help to use can be
summarized in three statements:

1. If you are using WinHelp and have no specific reason to switch, don't
switch.

2. HTML help is not a mature product yet, give it more time.

3. Microsoft's HTMLhelp is the best choice because the deliverable is one
file, a CHM file, that is usually smaller than the WinHelp HLP file.
Non-Microsoft HTML-based help comprises many, many separate topic HTML pages
and separate graphics. The HTMLhelp CHM requires certain (unspecified)
elements of Internet Explorer be installed. I.E. need not be the default
browser, however.

I think I'll shoot for Microsoft's HTMLhelp over WinHelp or non-MS
HTML-based online help, management permitting <g>.

My other reasons are: Microsoft has renounced support for WinHelp though no
plans for discontinuing shipping the WinHelp exe are published. I like the
fact that I can ship a single, compiled, HTML help file. I am tired of
WinHelp. I want to learn HTML-based help. I prefer to make my software
product seem more cutting-edge by including HTML help. My target audience,
by requirement, is running Windows 9x or NT4+; cross-platform issues are
non-existent. I do have the option of requiring my audience to use Internet
Explorer but this is not necessary since the required components are part of
the OS. I am starting the help-generation process from scratch, so there is
no pre-existing process or system for creating help that needs to change.

All the best.

Sean
sean -at- quodata -dot- com

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