My company has an HPJ project created using RH for Word X4.
The hard drive crashed that had X4 on it and Adobe won't
reserialize our X4, so we're forced into making fast decisions,
first whether to stay with RH, and second whether we'd be best off
to import our project into RH for Word vs HTMLHelp. I've done
enough amateur website development to feel comfortable switching to
HTMLHelp, but future inheritors of the documentation role may be
more comfortable with Word as the editing environment. My question
to you is whether there's strategic advantage to switching to
HTMLHelp, perhaps due to decreased complexity or to increased
future HAT tool purchasing options due to greater project
portability, or ...? I'm starting a trial of RH7 today, so am
trying to decide now into which authoring environment I should
import our project.
I am certainly one of those who would go the HTML route as
the HTML code created there is much cleaner and less prone to
issues than HTML created by Word. Also you can get at the HTML and
do things in the help that are not possible when working with Word.
However, you have hit the nail on the head when you mention future
authors in your company. Increasingly I believe that being able to
work with an HTML tool, which is not the same as needing to have a
good understanding of HTML, will become a basic expectation of
anyone seeking a technical authoring role, if it is not already.
But there are many organisations where the job is part time and
knowledge of Word is all that can be expected. Personally I would
go the HTML route and force the issue. It should not take too much
to get someone else to the point where they can follow on.
When I first created help I used RH HTML I started by using
Word as the editor. I hit some problems and was persuaded to use
the HTML editor. I got help along the way and now I would not
consider anything else. If I can do it, anyone can.
If you are going to import from a project created using Word,
do take a look at the topic on my site about importing from Word.