MS HTML Help 1.x (.chm) was first released for IE4 in 1997. It is the only MS Help system available for general application help. It offers no Unicode support. Being an old C++ ANSI application it requires developers and authors to reboot the PC repeatedly to compile help in a different language (or run several operating systems). In an age of choice, HTML Help offers little choice -- Security updates have crippled what ever choice we once had. It wont run on a server any more. Customers still email us regularly asking why is help not working (well MS just disabled all the server features and did not think about how bad an experience that is for customers). Only MS Help Viewer 1.0 has a flexible API. HTML Help has no API to speak of -- No way to embed help or search or Index etc into our applications. Yet we live in the decade of "Embedded User Assistance".
Microsoft Dropped the Ball
At WritersUA conferences Microsoft announced MS Help 2.x but nothing came of it due to MS management shelving these plans. Same thing happened to MS AP Help. And now MS Help Viewer 1.x is showing promise but going by track record Microsoft will probably hold this back as well.
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