Microsoft HTML Help is the next generation online help system from Microsoft and is designed to be the eventual replacement for the Windows Help System (WinHelp), which has been used since Windows 3.0. HTML Help is the standard application help system for Windows 98 and for future versions of Windows NT (although WinHelp will continue to be supported).
Although HTML Help is designed to provide help systems for Windows applications, it can also be used to create general purpose HTML documentation systems. HTML Help includes powerful navigation features such as an expanding/collapsing table of contents and keyword search capability which are especially useful for long, complex HTML publications.
With HTML Help, you can create two general types of publications:
Compiled HTML Help systems
With a compiled system, all the HTML, graphics, and other files are compressed and compiled into a single file with the .chm extension. Compiled systems save disk space and make it easy to distribute help systems with Windows applications (where distributing hundreds of separate files would be impractical).
Compiled Help Systems are viewed using Microsoft's special HTML Help Viewer, rather than in the full browser. This viewer is included in Windows 98 and can also be distributed to Windows 95/NT users. No support for compiled HTML Help is available for Windows 3.1 or for non-Windows platforms.
Compiled help systems offer some additional capabilities (such as full text search) which are not available in web-based systems (see below).
Web-Based HTML Help Systems
With a web-based system, the files are not compiled but are placed on a webserver in the normal fashion. The HTML Help enhancements (primarily a sophisticated table of contents and keyword index) are provided via a Java applet or an ActiveX control.
WordToWeb allows you to choose between the Java applet or the ActiveX control implementation. The advantage of the Java implementation is that it supports all Java-enabled browsers on a variety of platforms. The ActiveX implementation includes some additional features and is generally faster; however, it will currently work only with Microsoft Internet Explorer running under Windows 95/98 or NT.