Tech Write Tips

April 3, 2006

What is: MAML

Filed under: Future-proofing,Information Types,Technology,Vista,What is — AndyR @ 12:42 pm

MAML is part of a new approach to help in Windows Vista. This approach is both more integrated with the software and more focused on user tasks. MAML provides a structre in which you can write user assistance information, which can then be presented to the user in a variety of locations.

An example of help using this schema (http://schemas.microsoft.com/maml/dev/2004/10) can be found on the Microsoft Office Online Assistance. Additionally, if the user chooses to get the latest online content, that content is downloaded to the local machine as MAML and transformed at runtime into HTML for display, just as the local content is.

MAML Topic Types
The following types of topic are currently in use in the new MAML based Office Online pages:
MAML_training.gif Training: to learn more about using programs, focus on features or activity areas and allow to suggest best practices. Courses are self-paced, and include graphics, animation, audio, and practice sessions for hands-on experience. They have an inherent browse sequence
MAML_article.gif Article: up-to-date information in the form of how-to, and tips information.
MAML_topic.gif Topics :conceptual information about functionality and theory behind features.
MAML_disucssion.gif Discussion: online Community where you can interact with fellow users, get your questions answered, share ideas, and learn more about products and technologies that interest you.

Reference
Vista Help Technical Overview

What is: Assistance Platform

Filed under: Future-proofing,Information Types,Technology,Vista,What is — AndyR @ 7:00 am

MAML.gifAssistance Platform (AP) is part of a new approach to help in Windows Vista. This approach is both more integrated with the software and more focused on user tasks. AP is the technology used to deliver Help for windows vista. It takes the MAML content and presents it to the user in an appropriate location.

Rather than present user assistance information as one help file with a large Table Of Contents, it can now appear in the following locations:

-Directly in User Experience
  – Embeded Help 
  – Super Tooltips 
  – Ribbon 
  – Help pannels
-In application Context
  – Help window
-No Context
  – Help Centre

AP Wokrflow (Programming Windows Help PDC03)

  1. Well-designed app UI
  2. Assistance directly in app UI
  3. Help Pane and Help Center
  4. User community
  5. Your product support center

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