2.2. MS' help systems

The table below shows the past, present & future of MS help systems.

Table 2.1. MS' help systems (MVPs, 19??; Far, 19??; Winterhoff, 19??)

Name Files/Extension(s) Based on Generation Decompiler(s) Compiler(s) Viewer(s) Specification(s)
QuickHelp ??? ??? MS-DOS ??? ??? ??? ???
WinHelp hlp, cnt, gid, fts, ftg, hpj, ann, bmk, WinHlp32.BMK RTF Previous. Win95 helpdeco, winhelpcgi HC30, HC31, HCP, HCRTF, HCW, MVC, MMVC, WMVC WinHelp and MultiMedia Viewers, winhelp from wine helpdeco docs, "The Windows Help File Format" from Dr. Dobbs Journal, Sep/Oct 1993 by Pete Davis
HTMLHelp chm, chi, chq, chs, chw, its, col, hh.dat, hhcolreg.dat, hhp, hhc, hhk, hhs, stp HTML Current. Win98 - WinXP chmdeco, chmlib, chmtools, istorage, HHA/HHC/HHW, HH HHA/HHC/HHW, hhm (not yet) HH, xCHM, arCHMage, msits kio slave, chmviewer, GnoCHM, chmsee This document, ITSF format
MS Help 2 HxS, HxI, HxC, HxF, HxT, HxK, HxE, HxV, HxA HTML VS.net open convert lit ;) (modifications needed) hxcomp dox ITOLITLS format, convert lit source code
Longhorn Help aka Tréshelp ??? ??? Next. Windows Longhorn. ??? ??? ??? ???
Help and Support Center (HSC) ??? ??? Embrace & extend. WinXP ??? ??? ??? ???

Table 2.2. More info on MS' help systems (MVPs, 19??; Far, 19??; Winterhoff, 19??)

Name More info
QuickHelp Back in the day of MS command lines before I was old enough to reach the keyboard.
WinHelp This had some features (good & bad) not yet present in HTML Help; annotation, weird compression & searching, nasty RTF and a bit of a clunky UI.
HTMLHelp The current generation of MS' help systems. Many of the features are not implemented in either the viewer, compiler, GUI authoring tools or a combination of all three. It is amazing what passes for 1.0 these days.
MS Help 2 This would have been the finished version of HTML Help. Microsoft has decided not to release it, and instead focus on the help system for Windows Longhorn.
Help and Support Center (HSC) An effort to integrate all help into one location (not unlike Unix man pages in motives).