Home > General Development > Help Authoring For Windows, Macintosh & Linux Help Authoring For Windows, Macintosh & Linux Thom Holwerda 2005-07-10 General Development 11 Comments Excel Software began shipping QuickHelp 2.0 for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. QuickHelp is a development tool for creating and deploying application help on Windows 95 through XP, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X and Linux. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 11 Comments 2005-07-10 12:46 pm QuickHelp Windows, QuickHelp MacOSX and QuickHelp Linux are $195 each or all three platforms for $295. Each platform includes a Builder and Viewer executable, QuickHelp Viewer distribution license, a printed manual, online help and PDF manual on CD. Site licensing information, product descriptions and online ordering are available at http://www.excelsoftware.com. Established in 1985, Excel Software provides development tools to thousands of Windows, Macintosh and Linux developers worldwide. > > Since when did this kind of crap become news? 2005-07-10 2:06 pm Thom Holwerda Since when did this kind of crap become news? Because there are many developer’s in OSNews’ readership. They might be very interested in this product, so that’s why I posted this. If you have a problem with that, then simply please skip commenting on these items. Thank you. 2005-07-10 5:32 pm wordtech I’ve played with this before, and it’s very expensive & slow for what you get. There are plenty of cross-platform open-source help authoring tools (DocBook, LaTeX, simple HTML) that can deploy user help in a professional manner. RealBasic developers might find this of use, I suppose, as this tool is plugged into the RealBasic environment. But even there are less expensive alternatives that seem to have the same feature set, such as HelpLogic here: http://www.ebutterfly.com 2005-07-10 8:30 pm Being a penniless OSS developer and student I fell in love with DocBook — the company that I worked for lat year did too when they found out they could make PDF, RTF and WinHelp all from the same source file really easily. I am sure that some of the OSNews readership would be interested in this (otherwise it probably wouldn’t have been reported) — companies that make (possibly) commercial cross-platform apps may find it cuts down on time spent developing the help and gives a consistent LnF. I would encourage people to check out DocBook for any technical writing related stuff. A good and simple tutorial I found was: http://opensource.bureau-cornavin.com/crash-course/ (it’s what pops out when you Google for “docbook crash course”, too) 2005-07-10 9:29 pm This sounds very nice indeed. Have you by any chance tried to use OpenOffice to generate files in DocBook format? I’m about to start with the documentation myself right now and it seems very nice if it’s possible to make a document in OOo, generate a DocBook and then the relevant targets. /Meng 2005-07-10 6:23 pm Normally I would not feel like posting this, but since pravda so fervently denied the existence of third party commercial development tools made for/with Qt, he can probably add these four to his list. The screenshots look much like the software was made with Qt to me… 2005-07-10 7:44 pm pauls101 There are no end of very expensive help authoring tools for Windows, most of which suck BAD (not to name names and thereby insult RoboHelp^H^H^H^H^H^H anyone.) Expect a directory full of dll’s and binary mystery files, crappy unreadable HTML, and compiled Help files that are bigger than the programs they’re for.) The Answer is pure HTML: Both Mac and Windows originally had horrendously awful builtin help systems (WinHelp / AppleHelp / AppleGuide were all nasty to develop and authoring tools made a lot of sense; those days are mostly gone now.) Apple’s current Help Viewer is pretty badly broken, to be sure, but it at least takes simple HTML files. Before HTML Help was commonly available, one could actually use the same pages on both platforms and access them w/ a web browser. Not hard: anybody can author that level of HTML, even with a text editor. Swapping out screenshot images and compiling a Windows .chm file / Mac help index are simple and easily automated. Not that a specialized authoring environment is always bad, they just solve a problem I don’t have, at a high cost and with a steep learning curve. Every authoring package I’ve tried (on Windows) has been seriously buggy and unstable and most use MS Word for their editing, which is about the most awkward and painful way to create text that there is. I’d spend some money to save time and effort, but it’s never (so far) worked out that way. 2005-07-10 10:57 pm pravda Thank you underground member of secret truth cult. I had noticed something looked bad about the screens and was still pondering this issue. Your timely observation is most appreciated. http://www.excelsoftware.com/quickhelpwinviewerscreen2.gif Look at the screen and how it looks 5-10 years old. This is what Qt will do for your app. If you need that “from the dawn of computers” look and feel, Qt is the toolkit of choice. Thus it is — Qlassic App Toolkit is alive and well — in 4 applications! Let the truth be known. 2005-07-11 4:31 pm Thank you underground member of secret truth cult. I had noticed something looked bad about the screens and was still pondering this issue. Your timely observation is most appreciated. http://www.excelsoftware.com/quickhelpwinviewerscreen2.gif Look at the screen and how it looks 5-10 years old. This is what Qt will do for your app. If you need that “from the dawn of computers” look and feel, Qt is the toolkit of choice. Sorry pravda, what you are seeing is the normal Windows XP GUI. 2005-07-11 2:49 pm oracle2025 I’m actually in Favor of HTML as help-format, however I prefer to edit the help-pages in a wiki and generate the online-help automagically. 2005-07-12 1:24 am wordtech This company is a one-man shop that makes a lot of RB tools. Look at their website–RB classes among other things for sales.