Part III: The Evolution of Help Authoring Tools
   
Part III: The Evolution of Help Authoring Tools
History
The examples of help documentation discovered in ancient Egypt and Greece were undoubtedly carved by the sore hands of the world’s first technical communicators. Relatively modern technical communication, first transcribed by hand and later reproduced by typewriter and printing press, did not begin to emerge until World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) when defense forces required extensive documentation for the use of weaponry, aeronautics, and other defense-related products. By the 1950s, courses in technical communication were widely available at the nation’s leading technical colleges, where students were schooled in traditional grammar, writing dogma, and the day’s foremost printing methods.
In 1950, well-known technical communicator Joseph D. Chapline authored an eight-page pamphlet called Technical Writing. Chapline’s seminal work was distributed with the help of a printing press. It would be another forty years before technical communicators would have the everyday luxury of computers and modern help authoring tools (HATs).
The years since have witnessed the birth of HATs designed with functionality intended to keep pace with modern reading formats and the requirements of the Internet-driven, social media savvy end user.