Web Publishing of Microsoft Word Documents Has Never Been Easier
Posted on 12/17/2003 1:07:53 AM
Brolin's new Help Builder is a versatile and easy to use tool for migrating MS Word documents to the web. It is extremely applicable for any document more than 10 pages in length, especially documents containing pictures or diagrams. This is the perfect tool for publishing best practices, operations manuals, instructional manuals, help guides, design specifications, engineering specifications and many other types of documents.
Like many good products the idea for Help Builder originated with a problem. Brock Miller, CEO of Brolin Corporation and Stephen Reuning, CEO of Diedre Moire, Inc. had been working together on a project that involved the creation of a 600 page help guide which they wanted to make available online. They had created the document in MS Word thinking they would use one of the popular help authoring programs to convert it to HTML and then publish it on a website.
Much to their astonishment, the popular help authoring tool created a monster 30 Megabyte plus file, much too large for practical use on anything but fast Internet connections. What they had expected was for the help authoring tool to breakup the document into pages and store each page as an individual html file that could be downloaded on demand from a table of contents or index page. The last thing they expected was to have to download a 30 megabyte file just to view a single page. This would not be practical for many users, especially those with dial up connections or even for the average DSL connection. Even more astonishing, the other help authoring and Word to HTML conversion tools they found, created similar monster size files. Since Brock is CEO of a software development company, he quickly designed a solution and assigned the programming task to his development team. The result is Help Builder.
The most astonishing thing about Help Builder is how easy it is to use. The next most astonishing thing is how quickly it converts large documents. The resulting output from Help Builder is a collection of pages (Brolin calls it a mini web) that includes a table of contents and a fully searchable index. All pages are cross linked and contain next and previous navigation buttons inserted at both the top and bottom of each page. Additionally, Help Builder inserts links to the Table of Contents and the Index into each page. The next release of Help Builder will include a "Search For" text box option to search for a keyword or phrase.
The bottom line is that the individual pages load quickly. Large documents are broken down into smaller pieces for efficient and quick retrieval. Users can easily zero in on exactly what they need. What about document maintenance for updates and additions? No problem, you use MS Word.
Brock attributes the speed and efficiency of Help Builder's MS Word to HTML conversion to Petia Docheva. Petia is a Sr. Programmer with Brolin and is the lead programmer for the Help Builder sofware development.