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Welcome to the forum.
You're playing games with us, right? :-)
The problem with stats like that is who did the survey, what questions were asked and who was asked.
On the Writers UA site there are various surveys. You have to take into account the people aware of Writers UA and attending the conferences are the more interested users and those working for wealthier companies, not the whole market.
Tom Johnson is running a survey right now on his http://idratherbewriting.com site. He has posted on HATT that it was started more to test the survey software. One finding I made is that it is possible to vote more than once. Before anyone jumps up and down, I am not suggesting anyone has done that to rig the results. Your question was about surveys though and I am making the point that you have to know it is a survey that can be relied on.
So you end up with the surveys done by companies who understand the many pitfalls of surveys. They are expensive so probably undertaken for the software vendors and not published.
Are you asking because you want to go for the most popular tool? If so, I would respectfully suggest that is not the best approach. No one tool is best for everyone. If not, perhaps if you tell us why you ask and then maybe we can help in a different way.
First of all, thank you for your reply.
I have watched a few presentations for both Flare and RoboHelp citing different user statistics.
I am just looking for a fairly reliable survey of current usage statistics amongst the tools that offer online help authoring.
I looked at the Writers UA site and it would have been great if they had surverys for 2005-2007; however, I could not find any. The last year listed didn't even have Flare on the chart so its value is pretty limited to me.
I also took a look at the poll cite you suggested provided by Mr. Johnson but yeah- that really does not provide anything of value.
Have any other ideas :) ?
I suspect if you emailed the folks at WritersUA they would PDF past years or something like that.
Flare is a relatively new product and I believe it was just below the required market share to feature.
Anything more meaningful would be state secrets within the HAT companies.
I see you didn't really answer what Peter asked. Why is such a survey important to you?
While I'm smitten with RoboHelp and find it to meet all my needs, I totally agree with Peter in his observation that you need to consider exactly what you hope to do and evaluate different tools based on the need.
Perhaps I need to rapidly cut some ceramic tile. But I look at a survey and see that Paint Brushes are the most popular sales items at Home Improvement stores. I'd be foolish to use that information and run to the store to purchase a paint brush to cut my ceramic tile.