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Please help with authoring tool questions

I am doing a project for school that involves creating help files for a html
authoring tool.
If you could help me with answers to some questions it would really help.

1. What tasks do you expect an html authoring tool to help you accomplish?

2. What do you expect from online help for a html authoring tool?

3. What audience do you think a freeware html authoring tool is directed
towards?

4. What format is most useful for online help?

Thanks to any of you who take the time to help.
Jul 24 '05 #1
6 3000
d.warnermurray wrote:
I am doing a project for school that involves creating help files for a
html authoring tool.
If you could help me with answers to some questions it would really help.

1. What tasks do you expect an html authoring tool to help you accomplish?
A rich editor is expected to help you in keeping track of what you write. It
can also give you aids like search-and-replace, colours, auto-complete,
etc.

WYSIWYG tools help you if you have little or no HTML authoring experience.
They have other advantages too.
2. What do you expect from online help for a html authoring tool?
Popular authoring tools will have many Q&A threads. Web search engines can
be a powerful tool for finding help when needed.
3. What audience do you think a freeware html authoring tool is directed
towards?
Probably people who write HTML for non-professional purposes. However, free
does not mean poor. Tools like the GIMP, for example, are very professional
and yet OS.
4. What format is most useful for online help?
I do not understand your question.
Thanks to any of you who take the time to help.

Hope it helps,

Roy

--
Roy S. Schestowitz
http://Schestowitz.com
Jul 24 '05 #2
Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "d.warnermurray "
<d.************ @comcast.net> writing in
news:ta******** ************@co mcast.com:
I am doing a project for school that involves creating help files for a
html authoring tool.
If you could help me with answers to some questions it would really
help.

1. What tasks do you expect an html authoring tool to help you
accomplish?
I expect the tool to write clean markup. If it is a WYSIWYG, then I expect
to be able to go into Code View and see the code with syntax highlighting.
I also expect the tool to be able to use HTML-Tidy and have a good CSS
editor, or the ability to use a third party CSS authoring tool.

2. What do you expect from online help for a html authoring tool?
Frankly, I don't like online help. If I am not connected to the Internet,
then I can't get help. Help should be local.

With that said, each function should be fully explained, and any and all
options of that function should also be explained, even if they look really
simple.

3. What audience do you think a freeware html authoring tool is
directed towards?
Freeware does not necessarily mean that professionals will not use it. I
use a lot of freeware, mainly because they always seem to play nicely with
my other software.

Freeware is also attractive to developers who might not be using their own
system, and have to make a quick change to a file. Notepad is okay, but no
syntax highlighting and no line numbering, so you look around for some
freeware.

If the product is good, people will use it, no matter what the price. I
remember when Freixenet sparkling wine was 4.00 a bottle, when no one knew
about it, and now its 9.00 to 26.00 a bottle, and sells out quickly at New
Years. Trader Joe's has very nice wine at 1.99 a bottle, a lot of people
buy it, and like it a lot.

4. What format is most useful for online help?
Again, I don't really like online help. I especially don't like the online
help for Microsoft Office products. It seems I can never find anything.

If I am using online help, like a FAQ, and there a lot of topics, then it's
nice to have a frame based help, ala MSDN.

Thanks to any of you who take the time to help.


HTH

--
Adrienne Boswell
http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info
Please respond to the group so others can share
Jul 24 '05 #3
In article <ta************ ********@comcas t.com>, d.************@ comcast.net
enlightened us with...
I am doing a project for school that involves creating help files for a html
authoring tool.
If you could help me with answers to some questions it would really help.

You didn't say if this was an installed application, so I'll assume it IS
installed and is geared towards Windows.
1. What tasks do you expect an html authoring tool to help you accomplish?

Authoring web pages, what else?
And it better be able to FTP upload to my site or it's useless.
2. What do you expect from online help for a html authoring tool?
I expect it to NOT be online. There's nothing worse for a dial-up user than
to have a program installed on their PC that requires an internet connection
for help. Well, there might be something worse, but it's still a Bad Idea.

I now have broadband, but it does occasionally go down. Having the help docs
not be installed with the application is a bad move, IMNSHO.
It's my number one beef for a couple apps I use.

Note that you can make help be HTML files that are LOCAL, not online. This,
IMO, is just fine. I have applications that do this and it's no problem.
3. What audience do you think a freeware html authoring tool is directed
towards?

Newbies, intermediate designers with a low budget, and those who aren't web
designers and don't want to be, but want a basic web page.
You have stiff competition from low-cost and mid-level cost tools that
intermediate to advanced users use, such as Coffee Cup and Homesite. So gear
it towards an audience that doesn't use those. ;)
4. What format is most useful for online help?


Not online, as I said.
And check out the help docs of other windows apps. Windows users expect
things to be similar across applications.

Having supplementary things online is fine, but basic help better be
available offline, too.

If it MUST be online, check out Macromedia Dreamweaver, Cold Fusion, and
Flash stuff (though they offer offline help, too). It's pretty extensive and
very nicely laid-out, IMO. A search function is an absolute MUST.

Anyway, my 2 cents.

--
--
~kaeli~
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/wildAtHeart
http://www.ipwebdesign.net/kaelisSpace

Jul 24 '05 #4
Adrienne wrote:
Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "d.warnermurray "
<d.************ @comcast.net> writing in
news:ta******** ************@co mcast.com: <snip>
1. What tasks do you expect an html authoring tool to help you
accomplish?


I expect the tool to write clean markup.


That's open to interpretation. Do you mean:

- valid HTML?
- reasonably human-readable HTML?
- reasonably concise HTML?
- correct use of logical markup?
- no useless defaults (e.g. page titles, alt attributes)?
If it is a WYSIWYG, then I expect to be able to go into Code View and
see the code with syntax highlighting. I also expect the tool to be
able to use HTML-Tidy and have a good CSS editor, or the ability to
use a third party CSS authoring tool.


What should Code View do on a WYSIWYDG (what you see is what you don't get)?
2. What do you expect from online help for a html authoring tool?


Frankly, I don't like online help. If I am not connected to the Internet,
then I can't get help. Help should be local.


The OP might've meant the other meaning of "online help", which seemed
to be common in Windows 3.x days - help displayed on the computer
screen, as opposed to a dead-tree manual.

<snip>
3. What audience do you think a freeware html authoring tool is
directed towards?
Depends what kind of HTML authoring tool it is.

<snip> 4. What format is most useful for online help?


Again, I don't really like online help. I especially don't like the online
help for Microsoft Office products. It seems I can never find anything.

If I am using online help, like a FAQ, and there a lot of topics, then it's
nice to have a frame based help, ala MSDN.


I'd thought the OP meant "format" as in "file format". To which my
answer would be whatever's standard for the platform you're writing for.

Stewart.

--
My e-mail is valid but not my primary mailbox. Please keep replies on
the 'group where everyone may benefit.
Jul 24 '05 #5
Gazing into my crystal ball I observed Stewart Gordon
<sm*******@yaho o.com> writing in news:d3******** **@sun-cc204.lut.ac.uk :
Adrienne wrote:
Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "d.warnermurray "
<d.************ @comcast.net> writing in
news:ta******** ************@co mcast.com:<snip>
1. What tasks do you expect an html authoring tool to help you
accomplish?


I expect the tool to write clean markup.


That's open to interpretation. Do you mean:

- valid HTML?
- reasonably human-readable HTML?
- reasonably concise HTML?
- correct use of logical markup?
- no useless defaults (e.g. page titles, alt attributes)?


All of the above.
If it is a WYSIWYG, then I expect to be able to go into Code View and
see the code with syntax highlighting. I also expect the tool to be
able to use HTML-Tidy and have a good CSS editor, or the ability to
use a third party CSS authoring tool.


What should Code View do on a WYSIWYDG (what you see is what you don't
get)?


Code View on a WYSIWYG should be what you have authored in HTML. If this
were a good tool, then it would not have any presentational markup. On
code view, or on preview, or whatever, it would figure out what was
presentational and write that to a stylesheet, leaving just the plain HTML
behind. It would probably make a mess of the CSS, but that could probably
be avoided if it were set to look for "duplicates ".
2. What do you expect from online help for a html authoring tool?


Frankly, I don't like online help. If I am not connected to the
Internet, then I can't get help. Help should be local.


The OP might've meant the other meaning of "online help", which seemed
to be common in Windows 3.x days - help displayed on the computer
screen, as opposed to a dead-tree manual.

<snip>
3. What audience do you think a freeware html authoring tool is
directed towards?
Depends what kind of HTML authoring tool it is.

<snip> 4. What format is most useful for online help?


Again, I don't really like online help. I especially don't like the
online help for Microsoft Office products. It seems I can never find
anything.

If I am using online help, like a FAQ, and there a lot of topics, then
it's nice to have a frame based help, ala MSDN.


I'd thought the OP meant "format" as in "file format". To which my
answer would be whatever's standard for the platform you're writing
for.

Stewart.


--
Adrienne Boswell
http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info
Please respond to the group so others can share
Jul 24 '05 #6
Adrienne wrote:
Gazing into my crystal ball I observed Stewart Gordon
<sm*******@yaho o.com> writing in
news:d3******** **@sun-cc204.lut.ac.uk :
Adrienne wrote: <snip>
If it is a WYSIWYG, then I expect to be able to go into Code View
and see the code with syntax highlighting.
<snip> What should Code View do on a WYSIWYDG (what you see is what you
don't get)?

I was actually trying to ask here (I know it wasn't clear): if it's a
non-WYSIWYG editor, e.g.
- HTML-oriented or programmable text editor
- syntax-directed HTML editor
- program purporting to be WYSIWYG but which actually isn't

then what should the code view be like in comparison? For example,
shouldn't we have syntax highlighting at least to the same extent?
Code View on a WYSIWYG should be what you have authored in HTML. If
this were a good tool, then it would not have any presentational
markup. On code view, or on preview, or whatever, it would figure
out what was presentational
By "figure", do you mean filter away the <i> while leaving the <em> and
stuff like that? Or wild-guess whether the user who asked for italics
really wanted italics or emphasis?
and write that to a stylesheet, leaving just the plain HTML behind.
It would probably make a mess of the CSS, but that could probably be
avoided if it were set to look for "duplicates ".

<snip>

Doing it quite like this seems a bit silly to me. But if it:

- looks for duplicates and writes these to styles
- does one-off presentational formatting as inline style attributes
- can still produce reasonably maintainable code
- can happily get along with the ability of the user to create a stylesheet
- will not get progressively messier as the page/stylesheet is saved and
loaded again and again

then I guess WYSIWY(D)G users (and those subjected to the code written
by them) would be on cloud seven.

Stewart.

--
My e-mail is valid but not my primary mailbox. Please keep replies on
the 'group where everyone may benefit.
Jul 24 '05 #7

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