|Product documentation takes many forms. While there is a
big move toward on-line documentation, printed manuals are the correct solution in many
Printed documentation is necessary for many products. It provides a method of
communication that doesnt rely on a functioning computer, and it provides a tangible
item that helps establish the value of your product.
On screen documents are used in addition to, or in some cases, instead of printed
documentation. As users comfort with reading information from the computer screen
increases, we see more and more applications of on-screen documentation.
On-screen documents are available in several formats including Windows Help, HTML Help,
HTML, and Adobe Acrobat documents.
- Conventional Windows Help (also known as WinHelp) has evolved through several
generations. Help for a Windows 95 product is very different from the help created
for Windows 3.x products.
- Windows 98 introduces HTML Help. This new type of Windows help provides several
advantages, and, because it is relatively new, has several limitations. Based on HTML, it
provides more formatting flexibility. Being new, it doesnt offer all the
cross-reference capabilities of WinHelp.
- HTML documents provide a true cross-platform solution to on-line documentation. They
provide a natural solution for Java (and other) applications that run on multiple
- Adobe Acrobat documents provide on-screen representations of printed
provide a compromise between a true on-screen document and a printed document. Its
easy to print an Adobe Acrobat document, but because they are page-based, they dont
always provide the best on-screen viewing experience.