|I have a fairly technical question for the HN community, hoping some Windows devs would have the answer.|
I'm currently writing documentation for a module I developed on Windows, and the question of migrating our large help base was raised. We are currently still using WinHelp, which exists since the beginning of Microsoft, to generate our offline help and it has became increasingly painful to build the help file (restrictions on txt formats, size, lack of native support in Windows 7).
Our current help engine. Deprecated for almost ten years, yet still functionnal.
However it needs more and more hacks in order to make it work. On win7 you also
need certains specials KB patches to view the help files.
files : hpj, cnt, hlp
-Microsoft Compiled HTML Help (1997-2003)
Successor to Microsoft WinHelp and still supported in Windows 7. It look like to me it's the
current standard help system, however it's been also deprecated for 10 years.
-Microsoft Help 2(2001-2009)
Help engine used in Microsoft Visual Studio 2002/2003/2005/2008 and Office 2007. Also deprecated.
files: .hxs, .hxc, .hxk
-Microsoft Help System(2008-)
Latest evolution of offline help system (used in VS 2010). May or may not be a standard. There is little documentation on it anyway.
files: I don't even managed to find the input file extension needed.
As I see it, compiled HTML help files seemed to be the way to go, but I'm not sure migrate our help to a deprecated system is the right move. I've skimmed the Windows SDK looking for help files, but it's not coherent (some uses hlp+cnt, others chm, etc.). We are a pure Microsoft-only software team, so I'm not looking for a third-party help generator (like Sphinx or APIDoc).
Is there anyone which could give me some pointers as what would be the current native help system on Windows ?