Major announcement re: Help

I saw this in, posted by (Mary Deaton), who I hope will not mind my
re-posting it here. I thought it might be of interest.
Bengt Richter
From: (Mary Deaton)
Subject: Major announcement re: Help
Date: 7 Feb 96 16:54:06 -0800
Message-ID: <>
Organization: The Microsoft Network (
Lines: 33

At about 1:15 pm Pacific Time today, Ralph Walden, development lead
for the Windows Help group at Microsoft, told a seminar at the
WinHelp 96 conference in Seattle that by the time the next version of
the Windows operating system is released (Windows '97 in early 1997),
Help will no longer be done using the current WinHelp compiler or
viewer and that Help content will be prepared not with RTF, but with

Walden said that details are still being discussed at Microsoft, but
the intent was to produce a browser-independent structure. He could
not provide details on how context-sensitive Help, such as What's
This topics in dialog boxes, would be implemented in this new scheme.
The new scheme will assume HTML3 standards, but Microsoft will supply
some proprietary functionality to accommodate the context-sensitive

Walden was unable to supply any other details.


After dropping that bombshell, Ralph later told individuals that the
first task will be developing a compiled binary in order to do
context-sensitive Help. That is scheduled for an August release.
Following that, we will begin to see the actual HTML come together in
order to know what features we will have. Most conference attendees I
spoke with thought this was the right move for Microsoft to make in
order to reduce the now confusing number of content development tools
coming out of Redmond. Most authoring tool vendors, after the first
moments of shock, were happy: they know have to support only one
standard, HTML, rather than both HTML and RTF. Several, of course,
already allow you to output HTML from their tools (HyperSuite from
Hyperact comes to mind) and others have RTF to HTML conversion
utilities (Blue Sky, for example).