Screen shots in .hlp files [long]

Subject: Screen shots in .hlp files [long]
From: Paul Hanson <PHanson -at- Quintrex -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 15:05:58 -0600

First of all, I *like* screen shots in help files. I have designed two
hlp files that are based on .shg graphics. I am not *opposed* to them
at all.

In the future, though, we are going to use them sparingly, if at all.
Why? Like John said earlier, 'code freeze' is a term that gets laughter
here too. There is not enough time or manpower to be checking and
re-checking the GUI hasn't changed. We use GUI (using Seagull's GUI/400
software) panels in our doc and as a co-developer, we are continuously
changing both the design and adding new fields to panels. We will run a
query on Monday for changed display files and have 2 show up. Same query
on Friday may show up 10 changed. I am also the sole doc writer so if
I'm keeping screen shots up to date, who's writing?

In the future, when development and documentation are joined at the hip,
instead of being cousins that only see each other at funerals or yearly
reunions, then I'll push to have screen prints in the online help. Until
then, though, they will be used sparingly.

For those that do use them in your .hlp files, how do you manage changes
to the design? Is your code frozen? How do you reconcile changes in the
GUI of the software that don't get incorporated into the doc.

We are not single-sourcing, but plan to use RH.


<Snip> I was a bit dismayed to read the general opposition to
screen shots in help systems <snip>

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