6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 14, 2009 2:23 PM by Matt Armstrong NZ

    Why should I choose Robohelp?

    Nick@Tag Level 2


      So I've recently been tasked at my company to present a proposal of which authoring tool should be implemented to manage our documentation.


      I'm still gathering requirements, but I'm more or less looking between AuthorIT, Robohelp and potentially FrameMaker.


      I've worked with AuthorIT previously in my last job, but I'm interested in what Robohelp can offer.


      I'm hoping some suggestion, advices and answers can be provided.


      A - How would you personally compare AIT to Robohelp?

      B - I've read that RH utilizes single sourcing, which is imperative, does it also use variables across text and images.

      C - We may look at eLearning in the future with interactive training, perhaps using Captivate, does RH integrate with Captivate in anyway? i.e can I single source information between the 2?

      D - How does RH store information. I know AIT uses SQL Server to house everything in a database, does RH operate in the same way, or is information stored on local machines?

      E - How flexible is the import function? I have various documents, .doc, .docx, .pdf etc that would need to be imported into the program so I dont have to rewrite all this information again in RH.

      F - Is it possible to output different documents using different style guidelines or templates. We have various customers whom prefer content to be styled to their conventions.


      Really I'm trying to put together a list of reason why robohelp could be a better solution as opposed to AuthorIT.


      Thanks very much.


        • 1. Re: Why should I choose Robohelp?
          RoboColum(n) Level 5

          Hi Nick and welcome to the RH community.


          I haven't used AIT in anger and even then not for a very long time so am not best placed to do any comparison between the two. You may want to look at the HAT Matrix for a comparison of the functionality.


          As for single sourcing, most HATs claim to do this and RoboHelp is no different. The latest version is the best yet and does a pretty good job. The key to success is to tie down your styles and map these to the styles in the output application. You may also want to be aware that the Adobe Technical Communication Suite allows you to link Word and FrameMaker files directly into a RH project. Then you edit in Word or FrameMaker and update the links which automatically updates the RH project.


          RH has very good integration with Captivate. In fact you just click a toolbar icon in RH and you launch Captivate behind the scenes to create your tutorial. You just record and save and RH does the rest. Of course you can just launch Captivate manually and then import the movie if you want.


          RH stores all the project files in a directory. It uses a .CPD file (a cached MS Access DB) but there are a wealth of other files used as well. As the .CPD file exists, it is imperative that your source files are located on a local drive and backed up to a network drive as MS Access files can be corrupted if run over a network.


          The import function is VERY flexible although you may want to explore the linked Word / FrameMaker functionality that I mentioned earlier. If you don't use this you can import Word, PDF, FM, HTM files and even existing help files (e.g. CHM, HLP).


          As for output you can have different style sheets and templates assigned to topics. You just set them up and assign them and away you go. You can also use conditional build tags to flag content as specific to a particular output and include/exclude them as you see fit.


          As you seem to be considering Captivate, RH and FrameMaker I'd strongly recommend the Technical Communication Suite. It's a bargain compared to buying separate licences. Either way why not download a trial and have a play. Hopefully I've answered all your questions but feel free to post back if not.


          Read the RoboColum(n).

          • 2. Re: Why should I choose Robohelp?
            Nick@Tag Level 2

            thanks for the reply. very detailed and informative.


            another thing, how does FrameMaker compare to Robohelp? From what I've read, it seems that Robohelp has the functionality of FrameMaker and more to offer. Is FrameMaker becoming a redundant product? I can't really find anything to support why FrameMaker would be used over RH.


            Cheers. Nick

            PS. I will be asking for the demo of communications suite to be put on my machine at work and hopefully that should make things much clearer for me.

            • 3. Re: Why should I choose Robohelp?
              RoboColum(n) Level 5

              Nick. FrameMaker and RoboHelp are very different beasts. FrameMaker is designed to handle large complex documents but can't produce a help file. RoboHelp is a help authoring tool. It can take FrameMaker documents and produce the help file. Most FrameMaker users choose it over another word processor (e.g. Word) because it handles large documents much better. It can also be used in a structured fashion.


              Read the RoboColum(n).

              • 4. Re: Why should I choose Robohelp?
                johndaigle Level 4

                In addition to Colum's excellent suggestions I would add these resources which I have found very helpful in evaluating RoboHelp, FrameMaker and the rest of the TCS:


                Adobe RoboHelp 8 Reviewer's Guide



                Try it exercises for tutorials described in the guide.



                7 Captivate videos describing new RoboHelp 8 features.



                Blog of Adobe TCS Evangelist, RJ Jacquez

                Especially take a look at RJ's Training Sessions - They are recordings and easy to view at your leisure.



                Adobe Tech Comm Blog (posts by the RoboHelp Engineering team)


                Hope this helps.
                John Daigle

                • 5. Re: Why should I choose Robohelp?
                  RoboColum(n) Level 5

                  I should add that you don't need FrameMaker to produce a help file but you'll need a HAT like RoboHelp. Some users just use FrameMaker to produce the content and import this into RoboHelp to produce the help. It largely depends on your needs.

                  Hope this helps.


                  Read the RoboColum(n).

                  • 6. Re: Why should I choose Robohelp?
                    Matt Armstrong NZ

                    Hi Nick,


                    It would be worthwhile asking this question on the AuthorIT user group as well.  Many people there have migrated from RoboHelp and Frame to AuthorIT, so will know the strengths and weaknesses of each.  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/authorit-users/ or now http://my.author-it.com


                    I also know that most tools will let you use Captivate files, and AuthorIT will be releasing a SCORM output later this year, letting you create tests, reuse animations from Captivate, and publish directly to an LMS or CDRom.


                    Hope this helps.


                    Matt A