Genii Weblog

Merged or separate help

Mon 9 Feb 2004, 03:49 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
I am about to release the last (I hope) beta version of our @Midas Formulas, and I am trying to determine whether or not to add the Help documents for @Midas to the Midas Rich Text LSX Help database.  The advantage to adding the two together is that many documents, especially those such as Working with HTML Generation, are almost identical, and it would be easier to keep one set of documentation.  (Easier for us, in this case at least, means more likely to be up to date and correct than if there were two versions.)  There are two disadvantages.  The first is that the sheer amount of information in the Help database may overwhelm someone trying to find out a sample formula solution to a problem.  The second is that there are ways in which Midas and @Midas differ, such as in assumptions about default values for certain methods/functions, so there is an opportunity for error where documentation states that one assumption is made but it is incorrect for the particular product you are using.   This may be particularly true of Release Notes, which may or may not apply to both products.

I have added a few @Midas help documents to the on-line Midas Help database to see how it feels.  Try our on-line Midas Help under the Contents tab and let me know what you think.

Copyright 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

111.1. Duffbert
(02/09/2004 07:16 PM)

My vote would be to keep them together. Look at the Designer help files. @Formula, LotusScript, and Java commands all live together. I can go to one place to find it all. From a marketing standpoint, it would also make sense to have them both together. Say that a person buys the one product but not the other (assuming that's how you sell them). Cross-exposure to the other package might well lead to additional sales.

111.2. Jan Van Puyvelde
(02/10/2004 06:17 AM)

Maybe you can add a "language cross-reference", like in the ND6 Designer Help ?

111.3. Melissa Gena
(02/10/2004 11:45 AM)

I agree with Duffbert. You maintain a lot of documentation, and anything that makes it easier for you is good. Your readers will be able to distinguish between the different categories. Consolidating things can help minimize inconsistencies as well. If you're worried about some of the differences, you can always write an overview document that highlights what these are, and perhaps where to look on the help documents themselves for detailed differences.

111.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(02/10/2004 09:03 PM)

You folks are probably correct. I'll take a look at the language cross-reference and just make it the "Midas Help" or "Midas Rich Text Products Help" instead of the "Midas Rich Text LSX Help". Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.