4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2007 12:19 PM by MergeThis

    RoboHelp 7 and XML output

      Can RoboHelp 7 output topics as XML (.xml files) ?

      We are researching upgrading to RoboHelp 7 from our RoboHelp HTML 2002 versions. We skipped the X-series upgrades, but I recall reading that the X-series supported XML in some way. I downloaded the RH7 trial version and could not find anything in the Help about XML. Then it seems that suddenly an XML Output icon appeared in the Single Source Layouts pane. It was not there previously. I then could generate xhtml (.htm) files.

      We called sales who didn't seem to know and said we'd need a valid license to ask tech support.

      Can someone enlighten me about the history of the X-series and XML output, and what is actually possible for XML from RH7? And what you need to do to get the XML Output to appear in the Single Source Layoutspane? XML Output is not covered anywhere I found in help or knowledge base, but it seems so huge a deal that it makes me think I must be missing something.
      Thanks for your help.
        • 1. Re: RoboHelp 7 and XML output
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
          On getting the XML option into Single Source Layouts, you simply right click that folder in Project Manager and create a new layout. XML will be one of the options in the dropdown.

          I don't use that option so I cannot speak for the output produced. There is a lot of hype about how great XML is, how it is the future and so on. For some it is important and their companies are in a position to use it. They can take the content of your topics and reuse it for other purposes. That assumes the skills to use the XML exist within your company, which obviously I don't know.

          I think someone in your company would be prompting you if there was a need for XML. If not, is there some other reason for your interest?

          • 2. Re: RoboHelp 7 and XML output
            JBCampo Level 1
            Hi Peter
            Thanks for your help. In the Single Source Layouts pane, I clicked create Layout, and selected XML Output, and it now appears in the Single Source Layouts screen. Still have some questions.
            1\ Do you know any of the history of what kind of XML support was offered in the X-series, and if version 7 offers less, more, or the same support?
            2\ Any idea why there is NOTHING mentioned in the RoboHelp Help if you search using XML or XML output? Even more curious is when I click the Help button from the XML Output Options box, I do find a topic called XML Output Options. I wonder why their main Search tool doesn't find this...

            We were hoping to migrate to XML using XMetaL, but Mgt is balking due to the time and costs involved in conversion and translation issues. Which is why we may need to upgrade RH2002 to RH7, so our legacy docs remain pretty much intact. But at the same time, we want to know what the current RH XML capabilites are, and are wondering what their plans are for the future, like, will they offer real XML out to the current major tech writing standard, DITA. We hope to start authoring new docs only then using XMetal so we don't take the conversion/translation memory hit.

            So yes, our XML questions are deliberate.
            • 3. Re: RoboHelp 7 and XML output
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
              I have to repeat "I don't use that option so I cannot speak for the output produced."

              Sounds like you are using the online help and there are usability issues with that. Go to Tools | Options in RH and in the General tab select Use Offline Help. You will get many more hits on a search.

              Take a look at that and see if that helps. If not, post back and I will try to get someone from Adobe to help us out.

              Obviously you can upgrade a COPY of an existing project to check it out. I have put copy in caps because there is an important change in RH7. The code is rewritten on upgrade to get rid of Kadov tags. I don't do any translation work but I understand this has an impact on the methods translation tools use. Whilst they do not translate the code, I understand they look at it and, in the case of this upgrade, will see it as sufficiently changed to decide the text is new. Something like that anyway.

              Take another look at the help after changing the setting and see if any of that helps.

              • 4. Re: RoboHelp 7 and XML output
                MergeThis Level 4
                The dirty little secret about XML is that you must deal with named objects. So what, you say?

                Well, who's going to analyze your entire enterprise to determine how to name those objects, so that you can then create custom transforms to use the data in multiple ways? Oh, and by the way, who's going to pay for this analysis? It's OK for an IBM, a Boeing, or a Bloomberg, with their deep pockets, but most companies can't get past the huge startup costs to get to Nirvana.

                The other one that kills me is "XML will save the writers from replicating the same content in dozens or hundreds of other topics, especially with branding changes; that way, the writers can just write!" After over 20 years in the business, I can honestly say that the amount of replicated content in any documentation I've worked on, online or print, has never even approached 1%. It's just another urban myth!

                Although some experts have made a lot of money writing books and making presentations at trade shows about it, I doubt that it will ever be adopted by any organizations who don't need to produce targeted documentation by the ton.

                Good luck,