28 Replies Latest reply on Oct 24, 2015 3:28 AM by Willam van Weelden

    Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp

    jasona66572020 Level 1

      I can't be the first to consider this....anyone know of anything out there, or anyone that is currently working on such a site for RH 2015?

        • 1. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          What exactly are you asking?

           

          Using RoboHelp 2015 to create and manage a web site about some topic of interest?

           

          Does a web site exist for the purpose of discussing RoboHelp 2015?

           

          Using RoboHelp 2015 to create and manage a web site related to RoboHelp 2015?

           

          Cheers... Rick

          • 2. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
            jasona66572020 Level 1

            The last one...

             

            Use RH 2015 to build a Help Guide website that is structured around help content for each of the menu items/functions that exist in RH 2015...

            • 3. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
              TXTechWriter Level 1

              That's a great idea. RH Help is not helpful at all.

              • 4. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                What would the financial incentive be for anyone to write their own version

                of the help? Payback would need to be achieved over the life of the

                version, which is typically just 12 to 18 months. That's why there aren't

                too many books on how to use RoboHelp, I can only think of one.

                 

                There are a number of sites with topics spanning all versions. See the link

                below to my own site. Also see http://www.wvanweelden.eu,

                http://www.helpessentials.com and http://www.robowizard.com.

                • 5. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                  jasona66572020 Level 1

                  The idea is predicated on the concept of giving back to a community what one learns about a product - sort of altruistic, but gratifying and helpful for one who would create such a site.

                   

                  I based my photography blog on this concept many years ago, and it ballooned into a litany of posts, articles, musings, essays, photo projects, and video tutorials which not only helped me further my own understanding of photography and the various tools available, but shared that knowledge with others.  I ended up monetizing it, but only because people found it so useful they said "you really should be charging for this content".  I did for a short time (and still do with ad space but it's a pittance and doesn't even pay for the continued hosting anymore...but that's ok, because the goal was not to monetize in the first place, and losing $15 a year on a domain name is worth it to share my experiences with the photography community.  Plus, it helps me network and showcase some of the writing, training, and my abilities, which actually was instrumental in landing me my current position as a technical writer! So, the financial incentive is quite positive - I make more than $15/year now! :-) )

                   

                  But, since you mention it, speaking to a financial incentive, the built in obsolescence of any product would provide for continual website updates...a la:

                   

                  RH 2015

                  RH 2017

                  RH 2019

                  RH 2021

                  etc...

                   

                  With proper planning and execution, this could become an invaluable resource, and correctly deployed could produce monetization results that would satisfy the financial incentives to do so if one were only inclined to help based on the goal of profiting on others lack of knowledge.  That said, on clicking the links provided, here are some initial thoughts on these "resources for RH":

                   

                  1.  helpessentials and robowizard took me to blank pages (you forgot to include the ".com" in your linkage...)

                   

                  2.  Once I properly filled out the domains, and visited them, one of them was built out using Wordpress, not RH 2015, which does not really build a case for using RH to design a website that is of any use to a RH user looking to ramp up quickly. The other, while built with RH 12 (which is really RH 2015), seems to be laden more with reference links to other sites that promote products, consultancy-based revenue streams, and requires multiple click-throughs before anyone gets to anything that is useful  - but these are merely templates, and there's nothing that really speaks to helping in a "soup to nuts" kind of way.

                   

                  3.  In the case of Mr. Van Weelden's site, there appear to be about 9 tutorials on there...it looks like other products are spoken to as well, but there certainly does not appear to be an exhaustive (or even an attempt at one) list of help files, videos, tutorials, or anything along those lines.

                   

                  All of these sites seem predicated on the principle of making money, rather than actually helping people.  Kind of an inverse line of thinking:  It seems the logic here was to build a site centered around charging people for templates and abbreviated tutorials, while also linking to colleagues websites that are built on that same logic.  None of these seem to speak to the big picture of giving people a complete picture of what RH is, how to get started, how to publish, gotcha's and features explained in their totality.  That is not how I'd try to help anyone.

                   

                  I'd build a site centered around helping people - let the help content speak for itself, and once that establishes an audience based on the idea of really and truly helping others, then moving into monetization. At that point (if desired), one could monetize through ads, vendor support, and other means...including consulting, and individual training.  But the founding principle of the website would be to help people with tutorials, articles, and videos that are exhaustive, encompassing, and give the complete package to readers/viewers/subscribers (your future customer base).

                   

                  That said, you and William (along with a few others) do seem to be the "community experts" and my employer has sought to bring me up to speed with the product, so I will be attending the one from Mr. van Weelden's repertoire here shortly.  Hopefully this will be educational and informative.  Looking forward to this and will let the larger community know upon completion.

                  • 6. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                    TXTechWriter Level 1

                    I have been using RoboHelp since it was produced by Blue Sky Software and I have a pretty good grasp of what it does. I find this forum friendly and useful but it's not designed to help a novice user to ramp up quickly. And the Help in RH is NOT helpful. I would love to contribute to your site since I had to create tutorials for my new hires to bring them up to speed on RH.

                    • 7. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                      jasona66572020 Level 1

                      I'm not sure I would be the one to create such a site, but would be sure to let you know in the event something like that were to happen! :-)

                      • 8. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                        jasona66572020 Level 1

                        FYI - Here's the book that arrived today in advance of the Robohelp Essentials class that begins later this week:

                         

                        RoboHelp Essentials.jpg

                        • 9. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                          That's the book I was referring to earlier.

                           

                          Apologies for the domain goofs. Willam's other site uses .eu and I didn't check. Rick's site was a straight error and I will fix that post in the thread.

                           

                          You say that the fact Willam's site do not use RoboHelp does not build a case for using Rh as a tool to build a website. Rh's main function is to build help outputs, use as a website builder is secondary and I don't think you will find Adobe touting it for that purpose. It can be used as in my RoboHelp Tour. I originally used it for my site but I think there were some problems with stuff relating to older versions running in the current version. Also at the time it was easier to add menus and stats using Dreamweaver whose main purpose is to build websites.

                           

                          My site does not aim to be a tutorial and neither do any of those I have mentioned. In my case it was much like yours, sharing knowledge, my own and that of others. I went with a site rather than a blog as I have always found that easier to find things further down the line.

                           

                          You say that all of the sites seem predicated to making money rather than helping. I take exception to that. I simply ask for donations if people find the content useful. I can assure you that the number of donations is a very small fraction of the number of visitors. I'm happy with that as the prime purpose is not make money as you think.

                           

                          You then suggest we should be creating tutorials and charging for them but you don't like sites when you think their prime purpose is making money. RoboWizard is a certified RoboHelp trainer so training is available for those willing to pay. What those of us who have been supporting Rh for years have found is that the willingness of companies to pay to train help authors is poor. They will pay for developers to be trained but not the people who have to explain things.  John Daigle is another experienced user who also provides training and both Rick and John will tell you demand is much lower than it used to be.

                           

                          Providing proper structured training takes time and so often users then want it customised to their own scenario. That's fine but it adds to the work so it can only be justified by people who make their living that way, such as John and Rick. My own site was created as a sideline when I was working so it was, and remains, a spare time activity. It is designed to support people who have been trained or aquired knowledge when they run into problems. There are tutorials on areas of my expertise but I don't pretend to know it all. I have never touched source control for example.

                           

                          There is paid training available. In addition to Rick's site and John Daigle's site at http://www.showmethedemo.com where you can arrange face to face or web training customised to individual needs, there is Online video tutorials & training | lynda.com with various modules. Sorry but my aim differs from what they provide.

                           

                          I am not seeking to go to war with you lest you misunderstand my response. I am simply seeking to explain why the purpose of my site is not what you seek and that such sites are available. To provide the tutorials you seek would take more time than I have if done properly. I reiterate that the purpose of my site is not to make money. I would add that as well as offering paid content, Willam also offers a lot of free content and all of the people mentioned give a lot of time freely to help Rh users.

                           


                          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                           

                           

                          @petergrainge

                          • 10. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                            jasona66572020 Level 1

                            Well said Peter, and no "going to war" mentality intended in my prior post...my frustration is not with the community here, rather the releasing of RH 2015 without anything even close to approaching adequate documentation on the part of Adobe.  Their other more popular software products like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere, etc. seem to get plenty of documentation and where their own Help files may sometimes fall short, the community is quick to fill the gaps when needed.  Because (my guess anyway) the RH community is a much smaller user base, the powers that be did not really see the need to fully develop or compile adequate resources under the assumption that anyone using RH either:

                             

                            a. Has already been using the product for years and doesn't need to "ramp up", or

                            b.  Has sufficient background in technical writing, website development and the like to decipher and decrypt the, shall we say, less than intuitive design of the product itself.

                             

                            It continues to baffle me that Adobe would develop all these other products and then choose to utilize a completely different UI for this product.  Maybe the logic was that writers tend to use Office and other similar products, so they wanted the UI to approximate that of the other tools out there, but the end result has been an amalgam of gobbeldygook (that's my technical term, copyrighted, trademarked, and available for licensing if anyone likes )

                             

                            All that said, even though the user base that would benefit from a RH based site with tutorials, instructions, and such is small, I am wondering if the need for it is enough to warrant building such a site.

                             

                            I've currently got a domain parked from Godaddy for the following website:  http://robohelpguide.com and am currently taking a bit of a dive into at least putting out a logical sequence of videos, articles, and such using RH as the foundation.  If anyone would be interested in contributing and assisting with building out the content, I am all ears!

                            • 11. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                              TXTechWriter Level 1

                              I would be happy to contribute to this. Great idea. I have a few ppts that I made for our new tech writers. I will have to redact them first.

                              • 12. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                jasona66572020 Level 1

                                The bare bones of it is now live.  I'm currently hosting it through Digital Ocean which is a nice place to set things up to test fairly cheaply.  If this really takes off with contributors from here, and starts getting activity, I'll move it to another server that can handle more consumption and bandwidth.  Thoughts thus far on the layout?

                                • 13. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                                  Well I assume it is a standard RoboHelp layout.

                                   

                                  I wish you luck in adding the resources to cover the various versions and making enough money out of it to justify the effort needed.

                                   


                                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                   

                                   

                                  @petergrainge

                                  • 14. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                    jasona66572020 Level 1

                                    It's not about making money...it's about helping others (remember?)

                                    • 15. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                                      I was teasing as earlier you felt people could make money out of it.

                                       


                                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                       

                                       

                                      @petergrainge

                                      • 16. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                        jasona66572020 Level 1

                                        Sure...any site could be monetized if deployed correctly and with the right mindset.  My general rule of thumb that I use is to ask myself a question before putting any sort of website out there:

                                         

                                        1. Is my website idea going to make the internet a better place?

                                         

                                        If yes, proceed, if no, stop.

                                         

                                        2. Am I capable of publishing the website?

                                         

                                        If yes, proceed, if no, go to #5


                                        3.  Will producing this website be something I can maintain?


                                        If yes, proceed, if no, go to #5


                                        4.  Do I have the resources to produce this website?


                                        If yes, proceed, if no, go to #5


                                        5.  If I cannot, do I have an adequate network to assist me?


                                        If yes, proceed, if no, stop


                                        6. Is the ROI worth it?


                                        If yes, proceed, if no stop.


                                        The caveat here is the ROI - how are you defining it?  Is the ROI a financial reward, building a better community, connecting with others, etc.?  Depending on your short term and long term goals, the ROI may be different for different people. I am a capitalist just like many people, but there is also a more basic principle I live by, which is helping others, and being as much of a sponge as I can on technology - meaning that by learning and sharing my knowledge with others, I can get an ROI of learning more, and becoming more proficient, my ROI is worth it.



                                        • 17. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          Hi all

                                           

                                          I've held off on posting to this thread for assorted reasons. But I'll post now.

                                           

                                          For starters, I'll have to say that I totally agree with Peter's view that there is precious little (if any) ability for monetization of a site such as this. I also don't visualize it as being a replacement for the help system. But I also see that Jason seems to be more interested in what it can offer. And the way I see it, it certainly can't hurt anything and it might be fun for some to work with Jason on.

                                           

                                          As Jason seems to be sort of the ringleader in this venture, I'm curious about how folks will be contributing and how updates get made. I'm guessing folks contact Jason?

                                           

                                          After looking at the site, here are a couple of my own observations and recommendations.

                                           

                                          If it's going to be a collaborative site where you are actively seeking folks to contribute, perhaps offer a topic stating exactly what the mission of the site is and offering ways for folks to reach you.

                                           

                                          I would consider using Topic TOC Placeholders in order to provide a nice little index at the top of topics to navigate sections. Either that, or tuck things like the videos into DHTML Drop-Downs.

                                           

                                          In the "What is RoboHelp 2015" video, you really should consider using audio narration.

                                           

                                          I'll be happy to contribute things along the way as time permits.

                                           

                                          Cheers... Rick

                                          • 18. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                            jasona66572020 Level 1

                                            For starters, I'll have to say that I totally agree with Peter's view that there is precious little (if any) ability for monetization of a site such as this. I also don't visualize it as being a replacement for the help system. But I also see that Jason seems to be more interested in what it can offer. And the way I see it, it certainly can't hurt anything and it might be fun for some to work with Jason on.

                                             

                                            Agreed - the purpose is more altruistic than a profit-seeking endeavor...

                                             

                                            As Jason seems to be sort of the ringleader in this venture, I'm curious about how folks will be contributing and how updates get made. I'm guessing folks contact Jason?

                                             

                                            Initially yes, there would be only one "webmaster". 

                                             

                                            After looking at the site, here are a couple of my own observations and recommendations.

                                             

                                            If it's going to be a collaborative site where you are actively seeking folks to contribute, perhaps offer a topic stating exactly what the mission of the site is and offering ways for folks to reach you.

                                             

                                            Agreed, what is live is simply an idea, a mission statement would be a necessary component...working on it as we speak!

                                             

                                            I would consider using Topic TOC Placeholders in order to provide a nice little index at the top of topics to navigate sections. Either that, or tuck things like the videos into DHTML Drop-Downs.

                                             

                                            Agreed - both are "under consideration"...LOL

                                             

                                            In the "What is RoboHelp 2015" video, you really should consider using audio narration.

                                             

                                            Agreed, it was just a placeholder video, and was not in a position to record audio at the time.  It's already been added and is awaiting upload!

                                             

                                            I'll be happy to contribute things along the way as time permits.

                                             

                                            Excellent!

                                            • 19. Re: Building a website with Robohelp to consist of Help Topics on Robohelp
                                              Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              I'm a bit late to the party, but I hope you'll allow me to comment.

                                               

                                              Different people have different incentives to create content for and about RoboHelp (or other applications if you want). I agree that the manual of RoboHelp leaves somewhat to be desired. This is mitigated by several sites that provide additional content. Peter's site is the go to resource for best practices and scripts that people have developed over the years. As well as long articles that go more in depth. On my personal site, I have a mix of short tutorials in the blog posts as well as in-depth articles that mostly cater to a technical or advanced audience. With HelpEssentials I work with Jonathan to provide products that enhance your RoboHelp experience. The Essentials book is first and foremost a self paced learning tool and a great help with courses. - I wouldn't build a structured, full fledged help system for Adobe RoboHelp, unless Adobe hires me to do so ;-) And I think that goes for most of the posters in this thread.

                                               

                                              All these different use cases require different tools. My own site and HelpEssentials use a CMS (Wordpress / Drupal) since those sites offer advances database driven features that I require on the web. That is behaviour that is impossible to replicate with RoboHelp. Where RoboHelp excels in reuse and management of technical documentation, there is no support for ecommerce or automated views on blog posts. Each tool has its own use case and simply being proficient with RoboHelp doesn't mean that I will always pick RoboHelp. (Heck, sometimes I use Word for simple manuals!) So while it is not a case for RH as a personal site tool, my using other CMS systems is certainly not a case against it.

                                               

                                              I welcome all efforts to improve the RoboHelp experience. If you have the time to improve the RoboHelp experience, go for it. I'll be sure to keep an eye on useful content you post! ROI is very hard to calculate for these kinds of sites. You can use a site to improve your skills, get famous in the community and score leads that way. But unless you are planning to sell access to the site, it will probably be challenging to get direct revenue from the site.

                                               

                                              On remark: if you are serious about having people contribute to the content, use an online version control system such as Visual Studio Online to allow collaboration. Otherwise you will have a lot of work getting all the content together in the project.

                                               

                                              Just my two cents. Good luck on setting up the site!