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Chapter 4. Navigating the Access User In... > In the Real World—HTML Help or Hindr...

In the Real World—HTML Help or Hindrance

The new feature of Access 2002 that users of Access 97 probably will find most traumatic is the move from the traditional Windows help system (WinHelp32) to HTML Help. Changing to HTML Help violates one of the primary tenets of software development—“If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” WinHelp32 is a mature, stable help system that's part of the Windows 9x and Windows NT operating system, and is supported by Windows 2000 and Me. Fortunately for Access book authors, Microsoft's Office 2002 implementation of HTML help still has the hallmarks of a work in progress.

“If it's meant to be read, convert it to HTML” is today's variation on the Navy's “If it don't move, paint it” rule. It's a reasonably safe bet that the number of HTML pages on the World Wide Web today exceeds the number of pages of books in the world's libraries. When it comes to online help, however, most Access 97 developers believe Microsoft took the “If it ain't broke, break it” route.


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