20 Replies Latest reply on Feb 15, 2009 6:33 PM by JenJen72

    RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool

    mschallmo
      Hello All,

      I'm currently looking at RoboHelp to replace our old help guides. Right now our guides are accessed though a 2 frame page with an asp driven TOC on the left. The TOC just links to some html pages that display in the right fram and others that are just downloads of word, excel and PDF docs.

      We will be purchasing Microsoft SharePoint next year and it has been suggested to use that as our help authoring tool. I don't know much about RoboHelp (other than I've been using the demo for a couple days and love it's ease of use) and SharePoint and was wondering if anyone out there has used both as a help authoring tool and what your experiences were.

      Are they pretty much similar, does anyone use them in conjunction, any pros and cons to each?

      Any help would be greatly appreciated.
        • 1. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
          Welcome to our community, mschallmo

          I'm not a Sharepoint user and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I can't claim to be one.

          I think you are comparing Spiders to Hedgehogs here. RoboHelp is a Help Authoring Tool (HAT). Sharepoint is a product that might display what RoboHelp created, but will not facilitate actually creating the content you would later display as RoboHelp will.

          Unless someone more experienced with Sharepoint steps up to refute this, my understanding is that you would need Both RoboHelp AND Sharepoint. RoboHelp to author the content and Sharepoint to present it to your users.

          Cheers... Rick
          • 2. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
            Ben Minson Level 2
            Welcome to the forums. My colleague, Tom Johnson, posted on his blog about his experience trying out SharePoint as a help system. His comments may be helpful to you. (While his preference is Flare, in your case RoboHelp would have been the choice here.) But you may not be trying to all the things he was trying to do.

            Hope this helps,

            Ben
            • 3. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
              RoboColum(n) Level 5
              Hi mschallmo and welcome to the RH community.

              Microsoft SharePoint isn't a help authoring tool. It's a document management system. You'd still need to have some application to produce the help output to host in SharePoint. As you have discovered, the RoboHelp interface is very user friendly so why not use that ;-)
              • 4. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                RoboColum(n) Level 5
                Doh! I must type quicker. I managed to step on two esteemed colleagues toes at once. That must be a record?
                • 5. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                  Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                  Nah, the more the merrier!

                  Too much information is seldom a bad thing!
                  • 6. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                    Ben Minson Level 2
                    No worries, Colum--I step on my toes, too.
                    • 7. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                      ChickAD
                      Hi mschallmo,

                      I use RoboHelp for my projects and have limited experience with Sharepoint, and it is not a favourite product of mine. Although it is possible to create web part pages with navigation rather than use Sharepoint's document repository to host prebuilt help, I have not found it particularly elegant or easy as you seem to get forced to do everything through their irritating interface. We use RoboHelp to build and ship our help as WebHelp then host a local copy on Sharepoint for our helpdesk to access.

                      Get a HAT and make life easier!
                      Cheers,
                      Charles
                      • 8. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                        Ian_botw
                        I am trying to import word docs into Robohelp html 7 from Sharepoint, but the document library does not show up in the import dialog under "My Network Places" even thouigh it is definitley mapped - it appears in windows explorer, and I can even use the Robohelp "import Word Documet" wizard to create a new project. I just can't import from Sharepoint into an existing project. Has anyone else run into this problem ?
                        • 9. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                          RoboWizard Level 4
                          Welcome to our community, Ian

                          Have you tried manually adding the location to My Places?

                          On the outside chance you don't know how it's done, you do it this way:
                          Navigate to the folder you wish to add
                          Click the Tools drop-down menu in the upper right area of the dialog and choose "Add to "My Places"".

                          Cheers... Rick
                          • 10. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                            Trustwriter
                            Not to beat a dead horse here, but this question has come up at our company also. We have been using RH here for approximately three years. Our writing team of three loves it as a Help Authoring Tool. However, the IT-types here are heavily promoting using SharePoint for procedures and guidelines instead of RH. Our manager has agreed to do a comparison of the two (and she is confident RH will come out on top). However, I would love any additional information anyone has on use of SharePoint as a HAT. Thanks,

                            TW
                            • 11. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                              MergeThis Level 4
                              Opening topics and images in popup boxes
                              Adding map IDs to images for links to bookmarks and other topics.
                              Adding JavaScript functions for rollover images, mailto feedback, etc.
                              Providing a built-in Glossary.

                              Will the "IT-types...heavily promoting using SharePoint for procedures and guidelines" going to create, edit, and maintain these procedures and guidelines? Not likely.

                              Ask them if they've considered using Cobol to write their software!


                              Good luck,
                              Leon
                              • 12. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                RoboWizard Level 4
                                Hi there TW

                                Perhaps the blog post linked below will help.

                                Click here to read the blog post

                                Cheers... Rick
                                • 13. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                  Trustwriter Level 1
                                  Thanks Rick. I did find it interesting that Tom Johnson said, "...the more I tried to use SharePoint as a help authoring tool, the more problems I ran into." My colleagues and I have that sense also. Unfortunately, we don't have much in the way of knowledge about SharePoint as we simply don't use it at all right now. Hopefully as we learn more we can point out the obvious advantages of RH as it is a true HAT. Thanks again,

                                  TW
                                  • 14. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                    Radha Renga
                                    Hi mschallmo,

                                    Until a couple of months back, I worked in SharePoint Services 3.0 and then 7 for a specifc task. The requirement from our client was to prepare [note: only to prepare; the maintenance and updates on their shoulders :) :) thank heavens] the help contents with SharePoint 'Wikis' :( :( :(. We were two in this task and had a real tough time. I just read Tom Johnson's exhaustive blog on this topic. Our experience has not been different. SharePoint is not a HAT at all. As he has also mentioned, no formatting, no variables, not any single sourcing, it cannot even bring up a user-friendly TOC. It just provides you with a collaborative environment which if not managed well, lets you lost amidst the strings of loads of data on your organization's Web. 'Look before you leap'.

                                    Regards
                                    Radha
                                    • 15. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                      RoboColum(n) Level 5
                                      We are just implementing Sharepoint and my first impressions are that it is an excellent Portal for enabling the sharing of information. A HAT it is not for the reasons others have already outlined.
                                      • 16. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                        Oldee
                                        What are the chances I will use RoboHelp to be my replacer for the help files and it will work with Mainsoft's software?

                                        Because it is already works as an Lotus notes Sharepoint migration help tool, and I don't want to spend more money later.

                                        Any one used Mainsoft with RoboHelp? working well?
                                        • 17. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                          Trustwriter Level 1
                                          Thanks to all for the information. Once we finish our comparison of the two products I will post an update here.

                                          TW
                                          • 18. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                            JenJen72
                                            Hi, I have lots of experience with Sharepoint and am still learning RoboHelp. But I can tell you that comparing the two is like comparing Word to XP, or oranges to a shopping cart.

                                            Sharepoint is mostly used to create intranets and websites. It's very good for storing documents centrally such as company policies and procedures that everyone can access whether they are in Sydney or Hong Kong (without having to experience painful download times.

                                            'Out of the box' - Sharepoint will not do what Robohelp does. However, you can purchase very expensive extension software called Black Pearl (there are different versions of this) - and get your programmers to spend weeks creating Robohelp-type functionality. But you would effecitively be creating your own programme to do what Robohelp does 'off the shelf'.

                                            So if you just need to store manuals and job aids centrally - Sharepoint is perfect. If you're wanting to create dynamic help files - then Robohelp is the better tool.

                                            Jen
                                            • 19. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                              JenJen72 Level 1
                                              Hi, I have lots of experience with Sharepoint and am still learning RoboHelp. But I can tell you that comparing the two is like comparing Word to XP, or oranges to a shopping cart.

                                              Sharepoint is mostly used to create intranets and websites. It's very good for storing documents centrally such as company policies and procedures that everyone can access whether they are in Sydney or Hong Kong (without having to experience painful download times.

                                              'Out of the box' - Sharepoint will not do what Robohelp does. However, you can purchase very expensive extension software called Black Pearl (there are different versions of this) - and get your programmers to spend weeks creating Robohelp-type functionality. But you would effecitively be creating your own programme to do what Robohelp does 'off the shelf'.

                                              So if you just need to store manuals and job aids centrally - Sharepoint is perfect. If you're wanting to create dynamic help files - then Robohelp is the better tool.

                                              Jen
                                              • 20. Re: RoboHelp vs. SharePoint as Help Authoring Tool
                                                JenJen72 Level 1
                                                Hi, I have lots of experience with Sharepoint and am still learning RoboHelp. But I can tell you that comparing the two is like comparing Word to XP, or oranges to a shopping cart.

                                                Sharepoint is mostly used to create intranets and websites. It's very good for storing documents centrally such as company policies and procedures that everyone can access whether they are in Sydney or Hong Kong (without having to experience painful download times.

                                                'Out of the box' - Sharepoint will not do what Robohelp does. However, you can purchase very expensive extension software called Black Pearl (there are different versions of this) - and get your programmers to spend weeks creating Robohelp-type functionality. But you would effecitively be creating your own programme to do what Robohelp does 'off the shelf'.

                                                So if you just need to store manuals and job aids centrally - Sharepoint is perfect. If you're wanting to create dynamic help files - then Robohelp is the better tool.

                                                Jen