Petition Microsoft for a new Help System

What are we signing for?

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.
  • We need Microsoft to take leadership in this area. To invest again in User Assistance.
  • We need something with the power of VS Help but something that can also run very light weight F1 help for the smaller application.
  • We need a Unicode based help system so companies can produce foreign language help without jumping through hoops to do so.
  • We need Microsoft to recognize that User Assistance is important to all it's customers and to recognize the frustration of customers who keep waiting for Help.Next.
  • We need Microsoft to be customer focused and pick up the ball they dropped a decade ago.

How to Sign the Petition

There are several ways to add your name to the petition
  1. Subscribe to the xxx Twitter feed -- Use the hash tag #HelpNext
  2. Click "Like" the HelpNext Face Book page.
Feel free to leave a comment below or on the Facebook site, 

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