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Presented at the 2014 STC Summit in Phoenix, AZ, #stc14
With the demise of HTML Help (CHM files), Help developers have been left looking for a useful method for delivery of online Help. HTML5 offers some interesting options because of its ability to adapt to the multitude of screens and devices in use today. The main drawback is that this requires a server-based installation or a local installation of hundreds of individual files. HTML5 delivery also requires that the Help developer buy or create a framework that provides useful navigation to access the topics in the documentation.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a system that offered single-file delivery with built-in navigation (like you had with HTML Help, or WinHelp)?
Well, in theory an EPUB could be that system. This does require the installation of a reader application which are available for virtually all devices and platforms, both mobile and desktop. It is a single-file deliverable, and provides a TOC, Search, Bookmarks, and soon (with EPUB 3.0.1) an Index. EPUB3 is built on HTML5, so you can take advantage of all (well most) of the cool interactive features like video and scripting.
EPUB3 has been slow to take off since being introduced in May of 2011, but we are finally starting to see more readers that support the new standard. The concept of delivering online Help as an EPUB may not be ready now, but it could be soon, and it could simplify things for both the developer and end user.
In this presentation Scott will discuss the pros and cons of this delivery option and will demonstrate some real working prototypes on various devices.