38 Replies Latest reply on Aug 28, 2007 2:38 PM by Ben Minson

    Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks

    johndaigle Level 4
      In three different sessions at the STC conference in Minneapolis I saw pre-beta demonstrations of RoboHelp "next". Certainly there's a mind-boggling number of new features. But more than that, Adobe has spent a lot of time listening to authors about ways to make their workflow easier. The presentations were made by Akshay Madan, Adobe Product Manager for RoboHelp. He and his team have obviously been busy! Here's a recap:

      1. What struck me right away was a multiple document interface (MDI). You can work nicely among any number of topics that are open and displayed in tabs. I'm glad to see that they are not planning to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The popular and friendly Word-like WYSIWYG editor is still central to the main work area. You still feel like a writer and not a coder (no offense to programmers).

      2. At the same time, the UI is more modern and cleanly laid out. There are also customizeable toolbars and "pods" that can be moved around and configured the way the author works. These configurations can be given a name so for example, an author can have a layout for authoring sessions and one for editing sessions.

      3. These movable panels or pods are handy, but I also like that you can quickly return to "factory defaults" in case the layout becomes too fragmented.

      4. No <kadov> tags! These much-maligned tags are often used by competitors to bad-mouth RoboHelp. Well, they'll have to come up with something else because I saw nice clean, color-customizable code behind the WYSIWYG editor.

      5. There is also Unicode and double-byte support for something like 34 different languages including Asian and Eastern European characters.

      6. For single sourcing, the author can create multiple TOCs and name them so that they are easy to use when generating output for different audiences (or for print vs. online).

      7. Help for translators: Because of MDI, a translator can have an English topic open in a pane side-by-side with a Japanese topic for easier comparison and editing. Languages can also be mixed. So, I can have Japanese, Greek or any number of words or phrases mixed within a topic. The same is true for the TOC, Index of keywords or Glossary of terms and definitions.

      8. Snippets of HTML code make it easy to have chunks of text and graphics saved for re-use. For example a logo graphic and copyright statement can be saved and placed in multiple topics. If you change the logo or text in the snippet, the changes are populated wherever the snippet has been placed (kind of like RoboHelp 6's User Defined Variables on steroids).

      9. Breadcrumbs offer a nice touch for the user experience with links that show the user where they are in the heirarchy of topics.

      10. Searching in WebHelp/Flashhelp: When searching, the "hit" terms are highlighted in a color of the author's choosing. This can easily be turned off by the user as well.

      11. Much improved Framemaker MIF support. Matthew Stern was at STC and was impressed. "You can import a MIF file directly into RoboHelp and everything is retained: variables, graphics (including Flash and Acrobat 3D files), and conditional text."

      12. There is support for MS Vista and Office 2007 including the new XML-based .docx format, (though this was not yet enabled in the pre-alpha build I saw.)

      13. Better Screen capture manipulation within topics.

      14. Adobe representatives also said there would be news posted on the Adobe TechComm Blog with invitations to sign up for the beta program when it gets underway.

      After using RoboHelp since 1992, I get caught up in the feature race like everyone else. But, as Vivek Jain, Group Product Manager for RoboHelp said, features are not the only thing that define innovation. Rather he says, "Quality is innovation."

      This should put a rest to the "RoboHelp is dead" garbage.

      As a user and instructor since 1992 it was very satisfying and exciting to see these sneak peeks and that Adobe is not only bringing RoboHelp back to life, but making it a central piece of the suite of applications that make up the Technical Communications (RoboHelp, Framemaker, Captivate and Acrobat).

      Sneaks peeks were also shown for Adobe Framemaker 8 and Adobe Captivate 3 as well. The sneak peeks were introduced with the usual caveats, such as,“The features presented during the Technology Sneak peek contain proof of concept features and features in the development pipeline. They are not final for the next release however we want to take this opportunity to show the general direction of where we are taking the products.” They also mentioned that while they cannot comment about release dates, they "expect to see new releases this year." However, from what I saw, this pre-alpha build looked stable and rich with the functionality I've outlined.

      It's an exciting time for technical communicators!
      John
      Evergreen Online Learning, LLC
      Evergreen, Colorado

        • 1. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
          So when are they going to give us some real changes? I am, of course, just kidding. That is quite some list and I can but echo how much the Adobe guys have listened to all that we have said to them and then responded by actioning it, not just nodding and ignoring the input.

          Great work.

          • 2. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
            HKabaker Level 2
            John,

            Sounds really good to me! Thanks for the report.

            Harvey
            • 3. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
              CraigCC Level 2
              Thanks for the in depth update John.

              It's been such a relief to watch Adobe wrap their arms around RoboHelp and give it the attention it deserves over the last year and it is now obvious that they have big plans for RoboHelp. This feature list covers many things that we have been wishing for and more. Personally, it's the MDI that I've been waiting for as this is something that will greatly improve productivity and totally change the way that I work.

              Great to read such a positive post on a Friday morning
              Thanks again
              Craig
              • 4. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                RoboColum(n) Level 5
                "User Defined Variables on steroids"? LOL!. Seriously It really looks great for the future. Having taken my fair share of people Adobe biting over the last couple of years it now looks like the other HAT vendors will have a true competitor to deal with. Thanks Adobe.
                • 5. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                  d2will Level 1
                  Exciting news after waiting so long for an update and wondering if there really would be any!

                  From reading the post, these features are not in RoboHelp 6, but the 'next' version after that. Do you know if we'll be required to update to version 6, before going to this one? We're thinking of upgrading now, but I'm willing to wait if we can get the features outlined here.
                  • 6. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                    twritersf
                    This is an interesting summary. I have just two issues.

                    First is the reference to describing the RoboHelp is dead message as "garbage." At the time this message began circulating through the help development world, it was not only not "garbage," but fact. Macromedia had stopped development on RoboHelp. It was a tool that didn't end up fitting into their mission.

                    That said, once Macromedia was bought by Adobe, things changed. Adobe had a different view, and it put together a team whose focus was tools for user assistance development. Work began anew on RoboHelp development, and so the message changed. Quite some time ago, as a matter of fact.

                    Second is the breadcrumbs feature. Help systems typically aren't like web sites and usually don't have hierarchies. That said, breadcrumbs properly don't show a hierarchy anyway; they are a trail back the way you came. Web designers co-opted the term "breadcrumb" to use for the set of site hierarchy links that so often accompany pages on a site, but it is in fact an entirely inappropriate use of the term.

                    Still missing (apparently) from the feature list is a means of developing embedded user assistance, be it for desktop or web-based applications. And with user assistance models moving toward managing user-generated content, as well as developer-designed content, the tools that we will need will have to adapt to that as well, and just one thing needed here will be integration with content management systems.
                    • 7. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                      d2will

                      Put it this way, it has always been possible in the past to upgrade from any version. It was the case that you paid a full licence fee if you did not have one of the two previous versions but for RH6 Adobe only charged the upgrade fee whatever version you had.

                      • 8. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                        donalmc Level 1
                        Now that is a list that would have me rushing to upgrade!
                        • 9. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                          Linux Rules Level 2
                          Nice report, John...thanks.

                          Did Adobe say anything about (my wish list):
                          > no longer writing to the boot record of the hard drive during installation
                          > Linux version
                          > user ability to not install (or at least ridd the system of any and all vestages of) Flash
                          > ability to hook to Open Office and not MS Word
                          > no longer requiring IE browser engine


                          Regards,
                          GEWB
                          • 10. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                            TheMarcus7
                            Hi John, Mark Whisler from Altera here. Did you get a feel for whether this was going to be a full release or an incremental release of RoboHelp 6?

                            .MW
                            • 11. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                              johndaigle Level 4
                              Hi, Mark. There's nothing "incremental" about it! What I saw was a huge leap.
                              After using RoboHelp since 1992, I can say this is will be the most significant release I've ever seen.

                              One thing that I looked for was what did NOT change. That might surprise you because so many of us harp on new features. But, we forget that one of the reasons RoboHelp has been so successful is that it is author-centric, not programmer or "coder" centric. Let writers write. The new interface, while way more modern and slick, will not be strange or offputting to authors. Adobe engineers managed to make major changes without shocking the long-time user into a huge learning curve.

                              Sure, there is new functionality and that will require some orientation to discover new things. But nothing so weird that you'll have to throw out everything you knew.
                              Thanx,
                              john
                              • 12. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                johndaigle Level 4
                                Hi, LinuxRules!

                                Sorry I have nothing specific to report. What I saw was a little more than a half hour presentation of a pre-alpha build. There was no time to get into nitty-gritty. I do know that Adobe is a very standards-driven company and hopefully they will address some of your issues.

                                So, my advice would be to sign up for the beta when the time comes so you can put in your two cents directly. It would also be good for other Linux/open-office advocates to speak up as well.
                                Thanx,
                                john
                                • 13. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                  johndaigle Level 4
                                  Hi, twritersf!

                                  Regarding your issues:
                                  I absolutely take your point about "garbage." Yet, what I was addressing was that even after a year when Adobe clearly stated its support (and has delivered); the competitive rants still try to replay the "meme" that RoboHelp is dead. It's frustrating to me that many people still blame Adobe for things done by not only Macromedia, but eHelp for crying out loud. So, call me sensitive In fact, I appreciate your pointing this out in your post.

                                  As for breadcrumbs. I kinda see your point, but I think it varies. Some systems are constructed in a heirarchical way and others not. In those cases where the author would like to implement this navigational scheme, it's nice that it is available no matter what it's called.

                                  Your point about embedded user assistance is interesting. As you recognize, there is a partnership between the author and the web application developer. The languages and development platforms used by developers vary wildly. I think what RoboHelp as done and seems committed to do in the future, is provide APIs for developers to implement embedded help as they and the authors work together to champion the end user. I'd love to hear more of your ideas on this. I agree that the whole techcomm community is not doing as much as it should in the area of embedded help.

                                  Thanx for some extremely interesting and timely points I had not thought about.
                                  john
                                  • 14. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                    Linux Rules Level 2
                                    quote:

                                    Originally posted by: johndaigle
                                    So, my advice would be to sign up for the beta when the time comes so you can put in your two cents directly. It would also be good for other Linux/open-office advocates to speak up as well.
                                    Thanx,
                                    john


                                    Thanks - I have done beta testing on-and-off for almost 15 years now so I'll "sign up" when the opportunity is presented.

                                    I wish more Linux users would speak up and request Linux versions of commercial software...I for one have no problem paying a fair price for a software product that works on Linux.

                                    Regards,
                                    GEWB
                                    • 15. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                      Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                      Hi all

                                      I'd like to offer one smidgeon of thought with regards to breadcrumbs. Think about a context sensitive situation where the user may open a topic from a dialog. These types of breadcrumbs could prove invaluable in locating where surrounding information might be located in the TOC!

                                      Cheers... Rick
                                      • 16. Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                        Carlos_Mills
                                        What is the Adobe answer to User Assistance for .NET applications?

                                        johndaigle, thanks for your report. It is really comprehensive in terms of the new features for RoboHelp "Next".

                                        I think that list includes everything we TW whished for plus! One point I think was missed out... that was about the incoming new .NET platform or longhorn.help. That's something I am already feeling the pressure to present a possible curse of action to my employee. They are developing .NET applications and the developers are refusing to link it to the traditional CHM file. They preferred to deliver an application without help than using the "old" style saying that this will cause a bad impression into our customers. So we are seeking a solution ASAP; a new online help platform to develop User Assistance for .NET applications.

                                        Carlos Mills
                                        Technical Writer
                                        Grad Dip. Technical Communications
                                        Grad Dip. in Systems Analysis
                                        B.A. Social Sciences
                                        FastTrack Pty Ltd
                                        ': +61 (03) 9225 9639
                                        ': +61 (03) 9225 9600
                                        7: +61 (03) 9225 9601
                                        *: cmills@fasttrack.net.au
                                        ": http://www.fasttrack.net.au
                                        • 17. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                          RoboWizard Level 4
                                          Hi Carlos and welcome to our community

                                          Isn't .NET used for Web Based applications? At least that's my understanding of things. I recall even back in version 2003 when Mike Hamilton (You know, the Madcap Flare guy?) was responsible for RoboHelp development, that he said then that nothing special was needed for .NET. Many folks thought (and perhaps many still do think) that .NET requires some special form of help geared toward .NET. From what Mike Hamilton stated years ago, WebHelp would be the way to go with this. And with WebHelp, really your imagination is the limit as to look and feel, because of the skinning ability.

                                          Just a thought... Rick
                                          • 18. Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                            johndaigle Level 4
                                            Welcome Carlos!
                                            There are actually several questions in your question! I'll try to add to what Rick has mentioned.
                                            RoboHelp has a .NET API (application programming interface) to help .NET developers connect WebHelp to their applications. The old Macromedia use to charge extra for this, but now it comes free with Adobe RoboHelp 6. You'll find it in this path on your computer:
                                            C:\Program Files\Adobe\RoboHelp 6.0\CSH API\RoboHelp.NET

                                            This also allows you to provide WebHelp as a "web service" to applications. (I'm not a developer so what I know is dangerous. )

                                            On the other hand, you may also be referring to Microsoft's "next generation" of help that supposedly will replace their old .CHM format. There is a lot of disappointment in the TW community that Microsoft has not made it's new platform available to developers outside of Microsoft's own applications. I do believe that as Longhorn and Vista become more "deployed" that Microsoft will release a solution. But we should not hold our breath.

                                            One of the best resources for learning about Microsoft's user assistance plans is Rob Chandler's website (Australia). HelpWare

                                            Or, perhaps I misunderstood your question, in which case, please try again
                                            • 19. Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                              CraigCC Level 2
                                              Hi All,

                                              I'd like to add a second vote of confidence for breadcrumbs. I've been asked to add a breadcrumb trail on many occasions. They work particularly well for policies and procedures to help users keep track their whereabouts.

                                              I'm also sceptical about the comment "Help systems typically aren't like web sites". More often these days I get asked to add website like features to many of my help systems. A client asks for a feature to be added to webhelp that they've seen featured on a website. I don't think that is an undreasonable request and normally do my best to find a workaround in the help system. We only use RoboHelp in circumstances where we need to control and manage a lot of content (topics) but really don't have a problem with clients who want/expect to be able to add web features to their helpsite.

                                              Just my humble thoughts and ramblings
                                              Kind Regards
                                              Craig
                                              • 20. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                MergeThis Level 4
                                                Carlos:

                                                As Rick said, there's really no problem with .NET apps; simply call the URL as in Peter Grainge's tutorial.

                                                With a merged WebHelp of 42 projects, we simply provide a text file (we call it form_path.txt) that lists individual lines for each of the application's forms (windows/screens) and in which child project they reside.

                                                For example, AcctMainFrm.htm relates to the AcctMainFrm form in the application, and the line in the form_path.txt file reads:

                                                AcctMainFrm, mergedProjects\crdhelp.

                                                Speaking of merged projects, John, please stress to the Adobe folks that they should absolutely NOT mess with the current bulletproof merged WebHelp environment. It works, darn it, so don't fix it! And don't mention Madcap's treatment of merged projects to Peter, unless you've got hours to listen. :-)

                                                Now, if Adobe could only add Advanced help, which you lose when going from single project to merged projects. Until then, I'll just keep "Zoom"ing along!


                                                Good luck,
                                                Leon
                                                • 21. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                                                  Leon

                                                  Well as you've mentioned it...

                                                  What I have asked for is:

                                                  1] Stop the false reporting of links from the parent to any child project.

                                                  2] Make it easier to create cross project links. Stop them being reported as external.

                                                  3] In merged FlashHelp, don't strip out the cross project links! Yup if the target is not found when generating, RoboHelp says this target does not exist and ever so helpfully corrects the link to <a href>. It may not exist in the source but it does in the output, I know what I am doing, don't mess with MY code.

                                                  I know there are some differences between our languages but I think the word you were looking for when talking about merged projects in Flare was maltreatment!

                                                  Not following you on "Advanced help..." in the last paragraph.

                                                  • 22. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                    wildchicken
                                                    Hi all,

                                                    That certainly looks like a promising list of possible enhancements. :-)

                                                    I've been putting off switching to Flare for a few reasons (for me, the user friendliness of the editor doesn't appeal) and have been hoping that Adobe would pick up on RoboHelp and develop it further.

                                                    RoboHelp's ease of use just seems to allow me to concentrate more on creating content and that has always been its major advantage.

                                                    Maybe I'm just getting lazy, and I know all software has its foibles, but spending time fighting with an editor to get the output to look and behave how I want is not where I want to be. Even the great RoboHelp kadov debate doesn't bother me so long as the output works, but, if they can get rid of proprietary tags so the code is more compliant - brilliant.

                                                    The X6 release came across as a first step but not necessarily a needed upgrade - the stuff they're talking about for the next release looks much more promising, and definitely feels like a reason to hang on with RoboHelp a while longer.

                                                    By the way, does anyone know if the X6 version still strips out meta tags from source when you produce output files? The feature list of X6 didn't prompt me to upgrade immediately, but X5 gives me a world of hurts with metatags, and that could actually be something that could get me to shell out some dosh for the X6 version rather than wait for what looks like a major new release.

                                                    Sorry for being lazy and not installing the trial to see, but I'm a bit tight on project time so if anyone knows I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

                                                    PS - something that made me laugh out loud this morning:

                                                    "One of the most interesting requests from customers at the STC Conference Minneapolis was for a migration path from Flare to RoboHelp. Clearly, some of the customers, who had migrated from RoboHelp to Flare, want to come back to RoboHelp."
                                                    http://blogs.adobe.com/techcomm/robohelp

                                                    The MadCap people seem very helpful, but some of their marketing comes across as too pushy, so that blog really made me smile. Maybe Adobe are almost 'too'big', but with the new release talk, it looks like things might be about to get interesting again.
                                                    :-)

                                                    Cheers

                                                    Karl
                                                    • 23. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                      Paul Griffiths Level 1
                                                      What we are seeing is an "arms race" between Adobe and MadCap in terms of the features they offer in RoboHelp and Flare. This can only be good for the customer.
                                                      • 24. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                        LaKisha1
                                                        Thanks soooo much for the report! I'm particularly happy to hear that we'll most likely be able to save and reuse code snippets. I've often wondered why Macromedia’s Dreamweaver allowed you to save and reuse HTML code snippets, and then Macromedia acquired RoboHelp but they didn’t quickly add this tremendously helpful feature to RoboHelp!!!
                                                        • 25. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                          Gravenstein Level 2
                                                          Thanks, John! That was very helpful.

                                                          Was there any mention of further changes to RoboSource Control? I am just starting to investigate RoboSource Control 3 now, so I don't know what additional features I'd want, but I'm sure curious about what might be in the works.

                                                          And I'm happy about the demise of kadov tags. Mostly they're harmless, but in some particular instances of our help they cause javascript errors. I won't be sorry to see that disappear.

                                                          Cheers,
                                                          G
                                                          • 26. Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                            johndaigle Level 4
                                                            Hey LaKisha1 and Gravenstein
                                                            Hooray for snippets! As far as RoboSourceControl 3 updates, that was not mentioned one way or the other at the STC sneak peek. I'm thinking there would not be anything major because it is so new. I set it up with the free MS SQL Server Express and it works quite well, even on my laptop. It is definitely more stable and has many more features than the old version which used the fragile Access database as the default.

                                                            Matthew Ellison has an article on the new version on the Adobe Developer Network
                                                            Getting started with RoboSource Control 3 in RoboHelp 6

                                                            Fortunately the GUI has not radically changed so my article on the older version might also be of help to those just getting started. It kind of picks up where Matthew's article leaves off.
                                                            Sharing One RoboHelp Project Among Multiple Authors
                                                            Give it a try
                                                            • 27. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                              Cro1410 Level 1
                                                              Hi John,
                                                              Thanks for this report. All seems to moving in the right direction in terms of features for RoboHelp Office.
                                                              I don't know if you remember but I and the network admin where I work had posted a bunch of threads in the RoboEngine section of this forum reporting a series of failures of RoboHelp Server 6 (for some reason, they "disappeared" from the forum, really pi**ed off about this, there was a lot of info there). Well due to these problems, we had to revert back to the previous version of RoboEngine. This previous version does support load balancing and the webserver part of the application does not crash when more than two users are connecte to the help system.
                                                              You had mentionned that you would touch a word to Adobe about this at the STC convention? Any news on this? Any information on future developments for RH Server 7 to make it more robust and support load balancing?
                                                              Thanks!
                                                              Chris
                                                              • 28. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                Brian.Mccaffery Level 1
                                                                Chris,

                                                                If you go into your profile in Personal options, you can set the number of days back that you want to display threads. You should find the threads you posted.

                                                                Hope this helps,

                                                                Brian
                                                                • 29. Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                  johndaigle Level 4
                                                                  Hi, Chris. How could I forget you

                                                                  As Brian says, this is often a problem if you don't have your dates set back. Hopefully you'll be able to retrieve the older messages. I'm not aware of any removal of posts (not saying never. I've just never heard of it).

                                                                  Anyway, I did talk to Adobe engineers at STC and so much attention was spent on the many changes in the basic RoboHelp 7 that not much was mentioned at all about RoboHelp Server one way or the other. I will keep you posted as things develop. It may be awhile before we hear anything on the Server piece. Regardless I will re-emphasize our mutual feeling for creating a better load-balancing architecture.
                                                                  Thanx,
                                                                  john

                                                                  • 30. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                    Cro1410 Level 1
                                                                    Aha, indeed that was the problem. Thanks Brian for pointing that out.
                                                                    John, thanks a lot for taking this matter into consideration. The combination of the office app and the server app add a tremendous plus to this product (ease of use and ease of deployment) and has significantly increased the productivity in our corporation. Without the server app, this gain of rpoductivity would have been for more limited. I am glad Adobe are making so much effort in developing new features the office app (especially the html snippets) but it would really be a shame to leave the server app behind.
                                                                    Thanks again,
                                                                    Chris
                                                                    • 31. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                      johndaigle Level 4
                                                                      In case someone here missed it, you are invited to join the Adobe RoboHelp pre-release (beta) program for the next version.
                                                                      You can find details here.
                                                                      Adobe Technical Communications Blog

                                                                      Enjoy!
                                                                      john
                                                                      • 32. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                        rhofitz
                                                                        Thank you for the summary.

                                                                        Was there any talk of supporting Eclipse help format?

                                                                        Rhonda
                                                                        • 33. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                          Carlos_Mills Level 1
                                                                          Hi Rick & johndaigle,
                                                                          Thanks for the warmth welcome. I have been following this forum for some time hoping to find out some clues about what lies ahead of us in the publication production field using RoboHelp.
                                                                          As I said, I am seeking a "dotNET way" to deliver my online hep to our .NET applications. As our applications are web based, I decided to give a try on using the vertical Flash help skin (RoboHelp6). As output, this kind of interface generate a 2x framed window, with the TOC on the top window and the Contents below. The help toolbar is nice but a little bit bigger than I need. I am wondering if I can edit those buttons using Micromedia Flash and replace then in the project. I'm still trying to figure out how to call individual topics in the Flash Help (delivered as swf file). Any clues?

                                                                          BTW:) Guys are you able to give more details on how to use the .NET API? What I need to test it? Is Visual Studio required?

                                                                          Carlos Mills
                                                                          Technical Writer
                                                                          Grad Dip. Technical Communications
                                                                          Grad Dip. in Systems Analysis
                                                                          B.A. Social Sciences
                                                                          FastTrack Pty Ltd
                                                                          ': +61 (03) 9225 9639
                                                                          ': +61 (03) 9225 9600
                                                                          7: +61 (03) 9225 9601
                                                                          *: cmills@fasttrack.net.au
                                                                          ": http://www.fasttrack.net.au
                                                                          • 34. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                            johndaigle Level 4
                                                                            Hi, Carlos.
                                                                            First, on FlashHelp modifications, they are fairly simple to do if you are a Flash Developer or have someone who knows Flash.
                                                                            I am not a proficient Flash developer, but I have successfully made my own minor changes by following the FlashHelp Software Development Kit (SDK). This can be found along this path of your installation:

                                                                            C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe RoboHelp 6\FlashHelp SDK

                                                                            Secondly, with regard to the "DotNet Way" the only thing I know is what I discussed in my post above on 05/22/2007. I am a writer, not a developer so I have not personally created any .NET calls so I can give you personal examples (as MergeThis has). All the documentation and sample code in the Online Help of the CSH API should cover the most common help calls. Regarding your question about Visual Studio; it is a popular development environment, but to my knowledge it is not mandatory.

                                                                            Also just because there is an API doesn't mean the developer has to use it. It's more of a convenience. I have found many developers have their own favorite ways of coding things rather than using APIs. Also because each help topic (whether WebHelp or FlashHelp) is just a URL, many .NET developers bypass RoboHelp's .NET API and elect to make their own calls using the techniques that are their own favorites.

                                                                            I believe MergeThis (hi, Leon) has posted several items on the CSH subject from the point of view of a developer. I'd search for his posts, including the one above in this thread
                                                                            I'm afraid that's the limit of my understanding at the moment.
                                                                            Thanx,
                                                                            john
                                                                            • 35. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                              js-
                                                                              Is there an estimate on when RoboHelp 7 will be released?

                                                                              I found RoboHelp had been updated around July and that 7 would be release by the end of the year.
                                                                              So to verify the obvious, RoboHelp 7 will be able to open RoboHlep HTML x5.0.2 files.
                                                                              • 36. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                                                                                No further news on the date. You will be able to open projects from earlier versions. No reported problems on that from the beta testers.

                                                                                • 37. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                                  johndaigle Level 4
                                                                                  Hi, js.
                                                                                  Can't say too much more than "by the end of the year". My coy way of responding is that back in May I saw a very stable build demonstrated in public at the STC conference in Minneapolis. That suggests to me that it will be sooner rather than later. Sorry nobody knows for sure. Rest assured. We will shout it from the rooftops here on the Forums when it is announced.

                                                                                  As to your question about opening RoboHelp X5 in the new RoboHelp 7, absolutely! Most older versions are converted "on the fly" when you open an .MPJ or .XPJ project file. However, once converted, you can't go back without a bit of hassle.
                                                                                  Thanx
                                                                                  john
                                                                                  • 38. Re: Lots of goodies seen at the Adobe RoboHelp STC sneak peeks
                                                                                    Ben Minson Level 2
                                                                                    I missed this post in May but since subscribed to this forum, so thanks to js for "reviving" the thread. Thanks, John, for the list of features--I'm looking forward to trying out the next version when it is released. I'm thinking I'll use most of your 14 points when asking management for an upgrade.

                                                                                    A comment on the RoboHelp-Flare contest: One of the reasons I didn't switch to Flare was that their campaign seemed more anti-RoboHelp than pro-Flare, and it came across pretty mean-spirited. (It's also strange to me that a bunch of developers--the RoboHelp-turned-Flare group--would tear down the product they brought to the point it was at before Adobe took it off the shelf...) The main reason I didn't switch was that Flare didn't have any features that made me sit back and say "Wow," and RoboHelp still allowed me to do some things that Flare didn't for all its improvements. It's looking to me like my decision to hide and watch what Adobe would do with RoboHelp was a good one.

                                                                                    --Ben