29 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2007 9:46 PM by tkirkland

    New RoboHelp 6 info?

      My company is currently using RoboHelp v. 10, from back when it was owned by Blue Sky Software. We desperately need to upgrade, but I wanted to hold out for Version 6. I haven't been able to find any new information about its status. Is it still on track to be released sometime this quarter? We do not want to continue using RoboHelp if the product is going to be phased out entirely.

        • 1. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
          RoboWizard Level 4
          HI ehoran and welcome to our community

          NO! RoboHelp is defiinitely NOT being phased out. Regardless of what anyone out there says. Although we aren't at liberty to say exactly WHEN a new version will be making an appearance, rest assured that one is on the way. And I've even seen hints at a version beyond that one!

          This is all very good news for those of us who are so fond of RoboHelp.

          Cheers... Rick
          • 2. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
            Hi Rick
            Whilst I appreciate your enthusiasm, do you have ANY hard facts at all? For example, is the proprietory kadov html coding going to stay? What about tabbed authoring? What about Help outputs? I am waiting on this mythical release and just about holding back on buying Flare, but I'm not sure I want to wait much longer...
            Can you say anything at all?
            • 3. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
              Hi Ed

              Hopefully you understand that I'm under Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Adobe. While I do, in fact, have hard facts, I'm not at liberty to divluge them. Unless, of course, I want to destroy any confidence Adobe has with me.

              All I can say at this point is that if you are considering Flare, keep in mind that the very same folks that created Flare are the ones that also introduced all the KADOV in RoboHelp.

              As for help outputs, I personally don't like the WebHelp output Flare produces. It's just too "Developer Like". I find the WebHelp output that RoboHelp produces to be much easier to comprehend and nicer looking. But that's all subjective.

              I would also encourage you to just sit back and watch any of the videos that the Madcap folks created. I was on the Flare beta team and remember suggesting they create these. Not that this wouldn't have happened otherwise. But I have to admit that I was just slack jawed shocked at them. They are supposed to walk a person familiar with RoboHelp through how to do similar things in Flare. I recall seeing things like: In RoboHelp, open this dialog and click here. In Flare, Open this dialog, then this other dialog, then select items one two and three, then hold your left foot up while hopping over to the copier and press button Z. (of course I'm exaggerating a bit, but I really was amazed at the difference.) It seemed far too difficult to accomplish in Flare what I could easily do in RoboHelp.

              Cheers... Rick
              • 4. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                MergeThis Level 4
                Plus, Madcap totally tanked on the merged project module. Instead of RH's no-brainer setup (especially following Peter Grainge's excellent model), they got cute and provided two ways to merge, before generating and while generating (neither of which works at all!). I've requested, through this forum, that the RH developers feverishly working on the update PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't mess it up!

                You could do worse than upgrading now to X5.0.2 which, in spite of being mature (that means old as dirt), is remarkably stable and full-featured. Of course, I'm probably one of a handful of RH users who totally ignores kadov tags and considers them part of doing business (the help business of providing 2,298 topics in a 40-project merged WebHelp layout).

                Good luck,
                • 5. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                  RoboColum(n) Level 5
                  If you're going to purchase RHX5 direct from Adobe, could you ask them if they'd send you a free copy of X6 when it arrives? If the deadline for release is not far off they may consider it. Just a thought. Of course they may try and sell you a maintenance plan in which case you'll get it anyway.
                  • 6. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                    edhardy Level 1
                    Thanks both for your feedback.

                    I think the main issue here is one of product support. Whilst I am becoming more and more aware of the issues with Flare, the feeling (or suspicion) that RoboHelp is not being properly and responsibly nurtured is even more worrying for me, given that it is my main software work tool. Flare will undoubted catch up in useability and reliability, given time (either that, or madcap will surely go under). And what they have to their advantage is the focus and enthusiasm of a small company. There is very little evidence that Adobe has anything like that degree of energy and focus, and so my feeling is that RoboHelp, as surely one of Adobe's niche products, will continue to plod along, and finally sink without trace.

                    I suspect there are quite a few people like me, who are playing a wait-and-see game. A lot will hang on the RoboHelp v6 release, I suspect, and how much confidence it inspires in RoboHelp users.


                    • 7. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                      MergeThis Level 4

                      You expressed a fear that RH: "will continue to plod along, and finally sink without trace."

                      Those of us who are heavily involved power users, are greatly encouraged by the effort that Adobe has been expending recently to revive a top-notch product that had unfortunately been ignored in the whole Blue Sky/eHelp/Macromedia/Adobe corporate feeding frenzy of the last several years.

                      Although no details can be openly discussed, the news is encouraging. Stay tuned.

                      Good luck,
                      • 8. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                        Hi Rick - long time no - um - comms through the forum I suppose!!! Hope you are keeping well?

                        Anyway, on with the reason for my presence here - by pure coincidence, I logged into the forum to ask the exact same question as ehoran! Therefore I would like to jump on the band wagon and add my two pennies worth...

                        I have been doing a little research on the internet as I am about to launch into a new help project and before I do so I wanted to know whether there were any planned new releases of RoboHelp. I know that x5 has been available for an absolute age and have never bothered to upgrade as - being an x4 user - the new features (aside from version tracking), as a single user, don't really offer me a great deal of additional benefit in comparison to the cost of upgrading. There are a number of features I would like to see (features which I have in the past put forward as proposals) but it would be helpful to have an idea of the future proposed progress of the product.

                        As mentioned in some of the other posts, there are a number of sites suggesting that since MM took over, the product is dying a death but there are others suggesting that since the Adobe take-over, development has re-commenced and that a new version may hit the market in the first half of 2007!

                        I understand that you are restricted as to what you can and cannot say, and I totally appreciate that you are in no way responsible for the decisions regarding information leaking and therefore this is not in any way a dig directly at you personally - but, as someone who works for a software company - one who is and has always been, very open with its customer base regarding future development and expected release dates - I do find the cloak and dagger mentality of larger corporations exceedingly frustrating.

                        I appreciate your comments regarding the complexity of some of the comparable functionality in Flare vs RoboHelp but the Flare product does look to have much more of a user friendly interface (especially from the point of view of a non-code user - i.e. wysiwyg is my forte as a user) and as a faithful RH user of many years, I would like some reassurance that the development of the product is definitely ongoing and that new releases will become a more regular occurrence following the Adobe take-over! And more importantly, that the new features offered will be dazzling enough to make up for the long and drawn out wait!

                        Finally, I don't suppose that you are able to substantiate the claims of a 'first half' 2007 release? And no, I am not being sly to try and catch you out - this was a genuine article release supposedly by a high level member of Adobe staff!?!

                        Thanks in advance and apologies for the moan - but the powers that be at Adobe should take note that people are getting itchy feet - particularly now that there are migratable and fast developing alternatives available.

                        Best regards,

                        • 9. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                          All Ed asked was if Robohelp will still use kadov tags.Its a valid question.
                          I see no need to bash someone elses product, this forum is to help support robohelp.
                          why all the anti-flare bias? I thought as a MVP you support robohelp and not take shots at other companies products.
                          • 10. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                            Ed also mentioned that he was close to going for Flare so Rick passed on his experience of it. He made it clear his view of the appearance was personal and subjective, then he suggested Ed looked at the forums. Where he did get a bit more critical, he then added that he was exaggerating.

                            I don't think even put together that is a "bashing" and free speech is still permitted.

                            As about the longest serving supporter of these forums, I think Rick knows what their purpose is.

                            • 11. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                              edhardy Level 1
                              I'm all for a frank and full discussion. Personally, I have no loyalty to any one product - I'll go with what appears to be the best. My problem right now is that Adobe is not instilling me with much confidence that RoboHelp will continue to be the best. No release date, no hint of what might be in the release, nowt... It's all very cloak and dagger, whereas the Flare team, flawed in their approach maybe, is, at the very least, out there and talking and apparently doing and changing stuff. It's a much healthier (and craftier) approach, in my opinion.
                              And here am I, sitting on my butt, not knowing where to turn!
                              • 12. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                Hi Ed

                                From a purely personal standpoint, I don't like cloak and dagger one little bit. For one thing, for me anyway, honesty has always been the best policy. If for no other reason, it's pure logistics. I'd much rather tell a person one honest thing and be done with it. Nothing to remember. Whom I told what and on which day and all. It just gets tiresome.

                                The unfortunate part of all this is that in order to see new products and test their features, we have to play by the rules and agree to non-disclosure agreements. I tend to take these very seriously. Shouldn't the fact we are all advising we have been testing a new version of the product be evidence that one is forthcoming pretty quickly?

                                I wasn't trying to bash anyone's product. I was simply providing what I thought were my own insights regarding my own experiences with Flare. Believe it or not, I really do wish the Flare guys well. I totally support their efforts. I've met Mike Hamilton personally and he is a really nice and admirable person. I really was super irritated at Macromedia when I heard they laid the developers all off. Not because they were essentially trying to kill off my favorite product, but because of what it meant when I heard that many no longer had jobs.

                                I'm guessing when you say "MVP" you are referring to my Microsoft status? If so, this designation does not mean I support all HATs. It simply means I'm involved with the overall help technology. I am devoted to RoboHelp (as are others) because it's just so darn easy to use. This is the part I tried to contrast. Perhaps it's just my long history and experience with the product, but I've not seen any other HAT that makes the process of help development as easy as RoboHelp does. I feel this is a large reason for it's success. As a Microsoft MVP, I was recently offered free licenses of almost every other HAT out there. Flare included. So I have access to use any of them I would like. But to be honest, I've not installed a single one. Just RoboHelp. I'm not sure if that just says I'm insane or if it implies what I hoped it would. LOL

                                I'm sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with you if you are saying the Flare interface is easier to use than RoboHelp's. I'd really love it if there were a way you could actually show me. (Well, I guess that's the Missourian coming out in me. You know, the "Show Me" state?). Are you sure you didn't mix up what you were trying to say regarding the interface? Personally, both the interface as well as the WebHelp output look very "developer like" to me. But I am all too aware that this is totally subjective. If you have read the above, you know I totally agree with you regarding cloak and dagger. As for substantiating claims of a release, I'd say that first half of 07 is accurate. And I think all of you that are waiting will be surprised.

                                For all that read what is beginning to look like a tome even Blue Sky/eHelp did not want the feature set of RoboHelp betas openly discussed. I've been through betas with this product since 2000. It's always struck me as odd, but it was policy so I accepted it and moved on.

                                For those of you who are devoted to othe HATs, I say shame on the other HATs! I believe in advertising and all, but once it became known that Adobe was reviving interest and development in RoboHelp, I feel the others should have ceased advertising that "Converting your former RoboHelp content is a single click away". And most I've seen are still having a feeding frenzy with that. They are trying to keep the FUD alive so folks will switch away. (FUD=Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) Makes me think of all the derogatory political ads I so hate to see when it's election time.

                                Cheers and happy Wednesday all! Rick
                                • 13. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                  ehoran Level 1
                                  Thanks to everyone for the replies and information. I understand the lack of concrete release dates given the non-disclosure agreements, but it is hard to plan for a help upgrade without it. We are just now converting our .hlp files over to .chm files, and I am trying to bring our documentation into the 21st century.... Since I'm fairly new to the technical writing field, this will definitely be a learning experience.
                                  • 14. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                    MergeThis Level 4
                                    This whole process is much more difficult for those who are occasional users of RoboHelp and who are being pressured by their organizations to decide when, or even whether, to upgrade or convert.

                                    What's also difficult is for these occasional users to put all their trust in long-term users just because we say so. Unfortunately, the secrecy involved is a product of the combination of several factors: 1) the relentless evolution from Winhelp to HTML to XML; 2) the Blue Sky/eHelp/Macromedia/Adobe acquisition madness, and the resulting development paralysis; and 3) the hype on the part of other HATs hoping to grab market share from the Big Kahuna.

                                    To those who absolutely can't wait...see you later. To those who can, I believe the wait will be worth it.

                                    Good luck,
                                    • 15. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                      HKabaker Level 2
                                      What gets lost in the discussion is that right now, RoboHelp is a mature product. It's stable and does an excellent job at most of what it does. Its shortcomings, and we have identified plenty of them in this forum, are not so terrible that you should stay away from RH.

                                      I would say this even if Adobe hadn't promised us an upgrade this year.

                                      That is not to say you wouldn't do better with Flare, which I haven't had time to test. I can't compare them, but I can say that RH will not lead you astray.

                                      Going from hlp to chm? Haven't had the pleasure. I did some chm projects with earlier RH releases and switched to WebHelp some time ago. But based on that experience, I'd say you will do just fine with RH as it is. If you need to start working right now, my advice is not to agonize over what's down the road.

                                      One man's opinion.

                                      • 16. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                        Mark_Gallagher Level 1
                                        psst. a naughty colleague let me see X6. Whilst it has some nice and long needed features I wouldn't delay getting X5 for it.

                                        I also looked at Flare and wondered how it creators could in anyway feel proud; a messy pile of style over simple usabilty.
                                        • 17. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                          tkirkland Level 1
                                          thank you for the reply. I too have an issue with kadov tags they need to be gone, give me simple html and none of this markup.

                                          i would hope that x6 actually gives me new features, that other products dont have, that would want me to upgrade it, instead of just trying to clone something else.
                                          • 18. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                            RoboColum(n) Level 5
                                            Hi Mark. I wouldn't have been saying that publicly if I was you. He/She really ought to be more careful. The consequences of their action may not be fully appreciated but are definitely worth considering even in hindsight.
                                            • 19. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?

                                              I work for a very large worldwide organization and I'm currently working on a project for a state government. They are seeking to establish an enterprise standard for online help authoring and the two candidates currently are RoboHelp and Flare. MadCap has done as great job at marketing towards RoboHelp customers and has gone out of their way to demonstrate advantages that they have over the current RoboHelp version.

                                              I must admint, Im currently leaning towards Flare but I want to give Adobe a fair shot. Obviously, news of any upcoming release is not being provided. What sort of resources, besides trial downloads, can you point me to so that I may make a better informed decision?

                                              Do you have any type of metrics or statistics that may help? One thing MadCap has done is draw line by line comparisons between the two products. Again I understand it is one of their marketing tools but they do demonstrate many advantages in Flare over RoboHelp. I must also say that in my short experience thus far, their customer service is leaps and bounds above Adobe (where I got bounced to 3 people and long wait times, only to find that they couldn't answer my question).

                                              Very anxious to hear from you!
                                              • 20. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                CraigCC Level 2
                                                Welcome to the forum ?

                                                If you look at the trial download page there are plenty of resources and pointers to articles etc discussing the new release.

                                                This is just a pier to pier support forum that helps and support people who use RoboHelp. If you want discuss product comparisons it may be more appropriate to do this on another forum - for example the HATT Yahoo group.

                                                As far as your support issues go, best to contact adobe correctly and provide your case number etc.

                                                Kind Regrards
                                                • 21. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                  Could someone provide the Release Notes? I'd like to see what was fixed from X5.
                                                  • 22. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                    CraigCC Level 2
                                                    Hi A,

                                                    check out the following


                                                    If you have any specific questions let us know and we will try to help.

                                                    Have a fun day
                                                    • 23. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                      johndaigle Level 4
                                                      To Craig's list I would add Adobe RoboHelp 6 FAQ
                                                      It's a lot of collapsed dropdown hotspots. Particularly open the one titled "What are the new features in RoboHelp 6? "

                                                      There is no official "fixed" list that I am aware of because what many view as bugs, others view as feature requests (seriously). For example, there is now an incredibly better conditional build tag process which now includes the TOC, the Index and a much-requested report. As far as I was concerned this was a "bug" whereas someone else would call it a feature enhancement. As Craig says, if you have something specific let us know and we'll try to help.

                                                      Adobe Certified RoboHelp Instructor
                                                      • 24. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                        So is it weaned off of MS Access/Jet? Our decision to purchase or not is probably going to come down to that.
                                                        • 25. New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                          Level 1
                                                          Hello JeffHowe,

                                                          I am going to assuem that you are referring to the RoboHelp Server technology (formerly known as RoboEngine). By default, yes, RoboHelp Server does use a Microsoft Access database. This, however, can be changed to point to an Oracle 9i, 10g, or SQL Server 9.0 server. This was previously available via the RoboEngine Connectivity Pack, but is now offered natively in RoboHelp Server 6.

                                                          Does this address your concern?

                                                          Thank you,

                                                          Bobby Walker
                                                          Adobe Technical Support
                                                          • 26. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                            JeffHowe Level 1

                                                            Partially, and I agree those options will help web scalability. But the usage I really meant was in RH proper--the .cpd files, which in RH 5 are in the pre-Access 2000 (that is, pre-Jet 4.x) format.

                                                            While even the new version of Jet would be preferable to the obsolete one, it's still not a great choice for large databases, that is, help systems.
                                                            • 27. New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                              JeffHowe Level 1
                                                              whoops, duplicate :)
                                                              • 28. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                                Level 1
                                                                Hello JeffHowe,

                                                                As of today, we do still use the older Access 97 database structure for the .cpd file. I do see a benefit to moving to a more large scale capable environment.

                                                                As mentioned previously on this forum, the RoboHelp team is back in full swing. We are actively looking for feedback from the RoboHelp community as to how they would like to see the future of this product. Any time that you have a feature that you would like to see included with RoboHelp in the future, be sure to submit a feature request ( http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform).

                                                                I stated above, I do see a need for moving towards a more robust and larger scale environment. I have forwarded this thread to the RoboHelp Engineering team for further review.

                                                                Thank you for the feedback. It is requests like this that will allow the RoboHelp product to grow to exactly what you want to see in the future.

                                                                Thank you,

                                                                Bobby Walker
                                                                Adobe Technical Support
                                                                • 29. Re: New RoboHelp 6 info?
                                                                  tkirkland Level 1
                                                                  Can I publish my Robo 6 to my old robhelp engine? or will I be foreced to get the new roboengine?

                                                                  and Still Kadov tags,argh