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Re: MS and help files
The idea of switching away from the proprietary Windows Help tools to HTML
is not recent and is not anti-competitive. When I was consulting at
Oracle's Network Computer Inc. (not a hotbed of fans of Microsoft), the
idea that help files for products on Windows would be written in HTML and
not in a proprietary MS language was extremely welcomed by writers.
The tailoring of the files to IE is a different issue. It's worth asking
whether the files merely look a little better in IE or they don't work in
There are lots of reasons to criticize Mightysoft. This might not be one of
At 04:59 PM 12/4/97 -0500, James Love wrote:
>This was an interesting note, posted to a discussion on
>intellectualcapital.com, which concerns Microsoft's integration of MSIE
>and help files.
>11/25/97 Steven Jong SteveFJong@AOL.com
>Here's another example of Microsoft forcing IE down the throats of the
>desktop community. Until now, the universal means of providing online
>help for Windows applications has been the Windows Help display engine,
>because it's included with Windows 3.1/95/NT and because it's free.
>Microsoft does not document or support its Help compiler, but a whole
>industry has arisen to create tools for creating help source files
>for that compiler. Now, Microsoft has announced that its new model for
>displaying help is HTML-based. Further, it's moving to an HTML help
>display engine, and dropping the Help display engine. But it gets
>better--the HTML isn't vanilla HTML, but HTML extended for use
>with (you guessed it!) Internet Explorer. The effects are (1)
>third-party help tools have to be redone; (2) third-party applications
>developers are coerced into providing HTML help; (3) if they do, they're
>coerced into providing Internet Explorer as the display engine. I think
>is as blatant an example of illegally tying a Microsoft application to
>Windows as any I've read about.
>James Packard Love
>Consumer Project on Technology
>P.O. Box 19367 | Washington, DC 20036
>voice 202.387.8030 | fax 202.234.5176
>firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.cptech.org
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