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Welcome to the forum.
With questions that diverse it might have been better to post them separately so that people with knowledge of some of the different elements can reply. Good job it's Sunday and I have the time to tackle them all.
RH Server is not RH Office. RH7 gives you RH HTML, RH for Word and RoboSourceControl, and other bits. RH Server is only required if you want to use the WebHelp Pro or FlashHelp Pro outputs. There's information on Adobe's site about what RH Server gives you extra. Essentially user feedback and reports.
There's information on my site about JavaHelp, perhaps that will make it clearer.
Single source surely implies multiple output. A single source for multiple outputs. In one project you can have many topics which could cover, say, different products. In any one output you can use whichever topics you want. So you might have 10 topics about your company and 10 for each product. If you want an output that covers all the products, you use all the topics. If you want an output that covers just some, you use the core 10 and then the 10 for each product to be included. Thus you have a single source of topics and multiple outputs.
With DITA, you have maps to say include this topic. With RH, for online outputs you use conditional tags to exclude topics thus defining what does get included. For printed outputs, you can either exclude in the same way or define what you want included.
Do you know why RH works in this round-about sort of way wrt JavaHelp?
Hopefully my fellow community expert Peter will forgive my wandering into the thread here.
First off, I'd like to point out a link to some information I once constructed that hopefully will help you understand the differences between WebHelp and WebHelp Pro.
Click here to read
Please note that I'm not knocking WebHelp Pro or the RoboHelp Server. But from a personal standpoint, unless I had compelling reasons for using it, I'd leave it alone. It's my firm belief that many folks misunderstand things and obtain it in the misguided belief that they have to have it in order to use WebHelp off a server. Nothing is further from the truth. Again, there are some advantages it has, but if you aren't interested in those advantages, why add the additional layers of complexity and areas for issues to arise?
Here's the thing with JavaHelp. The components that are required in order to produce JavaHelp are managed and controlled by Sun Microsystems (I think). So Adobe (and Macromedia before that and eHelp before that) simply built in the ability to use it, but didn't include the components. It may be a simple licensing issue. And I'm guessing here that based on the number of users that would actually require it, it simply wasn't worth the hassle. Very very few users produce JavaHelp or Oracle Help. Most will opt instead for WebHelp, as it works better.
I make my living by conducting RoboHelp and Captivate classes. I had a fairly recent class where one participant was planning on JavaHelp, as that's what his development team mandated. Guess what? After much juggling and seeing how many hurdles were required for JavaHelp to work (specific versions required, inconsistent behavior after generating and whatnot) they decided to opt for WebHelp and leave it at that.
Hopefully something here was helpful to you... Rick
No problem with you coming in Rick. All good extra information. The point about using JavaHelp is exactly my experience as per the article. The developers were insistent that we had to use JavaHelp until I proved otherwise.
Ray, Peter, and Rick,
Speaking of JavaHelp, I just found out over the last few weeks that RoboHelp 7 only supports JavaHelp 1.1.3, not JavaHelp 2.0, which is much more stable. I found this out after installing RH 7 and trying (and trying) to get it to build JavaHelp 2.0. I finally gave up and called Adobe Support. Vivek Kumar from Adobe emailed me last week asking which JRE I used (1.5.0_06) and I'm hoping to get a reply soon. Vivek also said they didn't have any plans for a future patch to get this to work, but there might be the possibility of me getting a DLL. Like you mentioned before, the authoring community for JavaHelp is probably tiny.
Ray - by all means, try to get your development team to NOT go with JavaHelp. It's just not worth the hassle and it has too many limitations. WebHelp is a lot easier to work with.
Thanks for the information Jim.
I will add something to the article so please post anything else that you hear.
Dumb question of the day:
If JavaHelp is so little used, then what are developers using for help system in their java-based applications?
I am re-writing the help system for the latest release of an existing java program. The existing help was built by the programmer. It is a patchwork of sections with a different section added for each the new product as it is introduced.
Since RoboHelp claimed to support JavaHelp, and I was told by the developer that the help system needed to be in JavaHelp, I am trying to get it to work.
Everything I have read here says that there is a better alternative, (re Captiv8r) but I do not know what my options are, let alone how to convince the developer to use an alternative help system within his Java program.
Thank you in advance for your help
ps: I'm a tech writer not a programmer Jim!
I think your questions are answered in the article on JavaHelp on my site.