About www.HAT-Matrix.com

www.HAT-Matrix.com is a new representation of an old standard.

In 2001, Char James-Tanny developed the original Help Authoring Tool (HAT) Matrix, comparing popular tools such as AuthorIT, Doc-To-Help, ForeHelp, and RoboHELP. Over the next five years, more tools were added and some were removed.

Early in 2006, Char released an upgraded and updated version of the matrix, expanding it from a nine-page PDF (with approximately one tool per page) to a more detailed comparison chart organized into categories and features. After its release, she received requests from both vendors and users to add more tools. However, the matrix was already pushing its limits, and the table couldn't get any wider without causing layout and printing problems.

And then Char was asked to present the session "Choosing a HAT" at the European Online Help Conference. Now Char had given presentations on this subject before, and had included information on the different features. But this time, she reworked the presentation to include the process itself. And during discussions with her husband, Jim Freeman, they designed a new—and greatly improved—HAT Matrix. This site is the result of that discussion.

Instead of a static chart, Char and Jim decided to use a customized database for the tool information. By using a combination of PHP, JavaScript, and forms, visitors would be able to publish reports listing the tools with the features that were most important to them. And by using a database, many more tools could be added.

They also decided that other things would be helpful:

  • Let visitors write user reviews about the tools that they researched or purchased (reviewers must register and login; readers can read all reviews anonymously)
  • Link to articles about the HATs and to conceptual information
  • Meet the vendors whose applications are included in the database, and learn about the applications themselves
  • Add a blog to track the latest site updates
  • Add an RSS feed to the blog so that interested readers can receive notices of updates
  • Contact the people behind www.HAT-Matrix.com: Char James-Tanny, Jim Freeman.

Vendors can request that their applications are included in the database. Sponsorship ads are available on many pages of the site. Our rates are reasonable.

We hope you enjoy using the site, but more importantly, we hope you find the tool that best meets your needs.