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The answer here is a mixed bag. It has recently come to light that Adobe is planning a "RoboHelp Resurrection".
Indeed, when Macromedia purchased eHelp corporation, they immediately laid off all the RoboHelp developers. Made no sense, but it happened. So everyone thought RoboHelp was going to sunset.
As a result of this, a great number of normally sane individuals that created help using RoboHelp appeared to begin wringing their hands and immediately looking for their next tool. The pervading thought was that because someone said it had been sunset, it would immediately cease to work and take their project files down the tubes with it and another tool was needed to immediately replace it.
So, my guess is that others, such as Mr. Perlin have attempted to bring some much needed sanity to the situation by creating the seminar that is listed. It's quite likely that this stuff was in the works prior to Adobe announcing that it really does have plans on breathing life back into RoboHelp.
Hopefully this helps... Rick
As Rick says, many users seemed to relish in Robohelp's possible demise and constantly suggested jumping ship rather than fairing storm. Not viewed the seminar unfortunately, but you may want to check out this thread.
The last post of the thread is the most revealing.
What's even more interesting is that the last poster (ie. Rickferrell) jumped ship (or was pushed off) shortly after he posted: "There is development on a new version of RoboHelp, What will be in it, and when it will be out, Can't answer that. But Adobe has hired staff for this product."
My $$ is still on RoboHelp. So Adobe guys if you are reading, please include the ability to automatically create an Eclipse help plugin. Creating a toc.xml by hand (for 2000+ pages) is a pain.
Is it just me, or does this seminar's abstract read like the trailer for an episode of 60 Minutes during sweeps month (you know, between the piece on global warming and the one on road rage)?
"...have added turmoil and uncertainty to what had been a stable profession..." Excuse me, what stability?
"...the major RoboHelp replacement tools..." doesn't include Help & Manual 4. This latest version was quite impressive in our trial download testing.
Finally, I fail to see "how a move to XML-based authoring tools affects documentation development--letting us clean up bad projects and workflows..." Cleaning up bad projects and workflows can only be done with major infusions of time and resources; no tool conversion can do that for you.
Thank the HATT gods that RH X5 remains incredibly stable and robust, so that we can survive until Adobe Helpinator X10 (or whatever they decide to call it) makes its appearance!
I am not Going to Comment on Adobe's position on Supporting the RoboHelp Community, But I Left on my own, I Decided to take an oppurtunity that is better for me, and Will allow me to better support the Help Authoring Community, Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A friend of mine mentioned this thread and suggested that I reply.
The seminar covers the state of the HAT market, and is as factual as any such discussion can be these days. I've been giving this seminar for nine months, starting before Adobe came on the scene and when it looked like Macromedia was killing it. So the point of the seminar was to explain what happened to RoboHelp, discuss examples of new tools, and offer tool selection criteria for new tools.
Because of the recent upheavals - the big one being Adobe's announcement of support for RoboHelp - the seminar has to be very flexible. Wednesday's discussion will cover the same points that I listed in the previous paragraph but more broadly. The point, again, is that the HAT world is changing, with the biggest change being the uncertainty around RoboHelp - will Adobe release X6, with what features, when, and whether it will be competitive with the newer XML-oriented tools.
I'll note that I've been in tech comm for 27 years, hypertext for 21, Windows-based help for 17, HATs for 15, and RoboHelp for 15. I've been training and consulting on RoboHelp specifically since 1995 and was one of the first eHelp certified instructors. I've also been ForeHelp certified and was one of the first Flare certified. With that background, several points re some of the responses you've gotten:
- By 2003, RoboHelp had beaten all of its former competitors, had about 80% of the HAT market, and played a major role in setting the market's direction. The vast majority of my clients, and fellow consultants' clients, used RoboHelp and had barely heard of any other tools. That's stability.
- I'm not surprised that I missed Help & Manual and I've probably missed some others. No presentation will ever be 100% comprehensive.
- My experience is that demand for RoboHelp training has dropped like a rock. I base this on feedback from two MATPs and my own consulting/training practice. People are holding off to see what's going to happen.
- Re the disagreement with my point about how a move to an XML tool will let us clean up bad projects and workflows. No, the move to an XML tool offers us *the opportunity* to clean up bad projects and workflows. However, I will note that the move from RTF to HTML eliminated some major problems in the old WinHelp simply because of the difference in technologies.
- Finally, RoboHelp *has* been surprisingly stable and robust given the fact that the code has barely been touched in over two years. This is a testament to the quality of the work that went into X5. However, it is starting to break, sometimes in odd ways.
Hope this helps.