8 Replies Latest reply on May 21, 2009 12:48 AM by Marina Michaels

    RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?

    Marina Michaels Level 1
      I am in the process of considering whether to upgrade to the latest version of my current help tool (WebWorks/ePublisher), or switch to a new product.

      My understanding is that there are really only two mainstream help generation possibilities: RoboHelp and ePublisher. Although there is also the excellent Mif2Go, the company I am contracting with wants me to stick with mainstream solutions. (Sorry, Jeremy, if you are on this list!)

      With ePublisher, I can maintain my source files in FrameMaker and then generate PDFs, Help, etc. as desired using Adoboe Acrobat or ePublisher. Once I've created a help template, if I need to make any changes to the books, I make those changes in FrameMaker and then regenerate the help. Basically, with FrameMaker, Adobe Acrobat Professional, and WebWorks, I have a true single-source solution.

      I rejected RoboHelp as a help solution long ago because at that time, I would have had to import my FrameMaker source files into RH in order to generate the help. Any changes that needed to be made after that initial import would then have had to be made in two places: in the original FrameMaker files, and in RoboHelp. Is that still the case?
        • 1. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
          johndaigle Level 4
          Hi, Marina, and welcome!
          While I am not a FrameMaker user, I understand that in RoboHelp 6, there is no "linking" of FrameMaker files to a RoboHelp project. However, I saw a presentation by RJ Jacquez at the STC conference. RJ is the senior evangelist for Adobe FrameMaker and RoboHelp. At this presentation he made several announcements about new features that integrate RoboHelp and FrameMaker more tightly along the lines you are thinking. I know the new RoboHelp 7 is coming out before the end of the year.

          RJ invited folks to email him directly with any questions they may have.
          Here is a link to his email.

          Hope this helps.
          John
          • 2. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
            Marina Michaels Level 1
            Thank you for taking the time to welcome me and to give me this information.

            I have been given the mandate to settle this issue by the end of September (we are all concerned about continuing to rely on a very old, no-longer-supported product), so probably RH isn't the answer. Though someone else wrote to me from another forum and mentioned something called Flare, so I will be looking into that as well.

            Again, thanks!
            • 3. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
              Hi Marina

              I'm confused. You said: we are all concerned about continuing to rely on a very old, no-longer-supported product

              Ummm, who have you been talking to? I ask, because even though my fellow Community Expert and Certified Instructor John advised a new version of RoboHelp is about to be released, you seem to be under the impression that RoboHelp is very old and no-longer supported.

              I know that the competition loves to say that RoboHelp isn't supported, but that's quite untrue. Yes, version 6 is logically version 14, but the new version arriving soon that John spoke of has many new and exciting enhancements.

              Cheers... Rick
              • 4. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
                Marina Michaels Level 1
                My apologies. I wasn't clear. I wasn't referring to RH. I was referring to my version of WebWorks, which is quite old and no longer supported by Quadralay. What initiated this issue was that I moved to a new computer and WebWorks wouldn't run on it, even though the platforms (Windows XP) are the same. I managed to resolve the issue myself (registry editing FTW), but I brought it up as an issue to the head of engineering because if something else goes wrong, who knows if I will be able to resolve it?

                So he's asked me to update my software to something new and mainstream.

                However, not being able to use a true single-source process is a big negative for RH.
                • 5. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                  Do contact RJ as John Daigle suggested. You might find it quite useful.



                  • 6. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
                    Catfish Tales Level 1
                    You mentioned a deadline. If that deadline is fixed, and you need to quickly research Help Authoring Tools (HATs), the HAT matrix is invaluable. It's online at " http://hat-matrix.com". There are definitely more than two mainstream products out there.

                    Now, if the deadline has some flexibility, RH 7 might be worthwhile. I've seen the beta. It has improvements for FrameMaker users. I don't use FrameMaker, so I cannot address your concerns. As always, there is a chance of differences between the beta release and the production release. A feature might be dropped, or another one added. Though I agree with the goal of using current software applications, there are times when waiting a little bit longer is worthwhile.
                    • 7. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
                      MergeThis Level 4
                      Coming in late, I know, but here goes:

                      The major issue, as I see it, is whether your main focus is on printed documentation (with fancy graphics and backgrounds for headers/footers, side tabs, etc.) or online help (heavy cross-linking, context-sensitive, dynamic html, etc.). If the former, stick with Frame; if the latter, go with RH, although I would definitely contact RJ per John's suggestion.

                      As to Flare, they seem to have reinvented the wheel and are now promoting their resulting trapezoid as something wonderful and glorious.


                      Good luck,
                      Leon
                      • 8. Re: RoboHelp and FrameMaker: Single-sourcing not possible?
                        Marina Michaels Level 1

                        A very late response, but just in case anybody still is wondering how this ended up, I stayed with WebWorks but purchased Flare to evaluate. Then the company I was working for had to close its doors in early 2008, making the question moot for that company.