1 person found this helpful
1. RoboHelp works best for creating 'online' output. You can create pdf-output, but RH is primarly focused on HTML output. Yes, you can single source your manuals.
2.You may want to take a look at FrameMaker. I think that's better suited for your purposes. You can also check out the Adobe Technical Communication Suite that gives you FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, Acrobat Pro Extended and PhotoShop. Outside of Adobe, you may find a number of alternatives, such as Scribus (open source).
4. Rick is one of the RoboHelp guru's, so I imagine that his guides have good value for money.
5. Whichever tool you choose, you'll have to think about the way you set it up. Since you're migrating from Word, setting up in FrameMaker of RoboHelp may not seem intuitive at first. After a week or two, you'll never want to move back.
1 person found this helpful
I'd second Willam's suggestion of using FrameMaker. Our shop was similar in that we had all our source docs in Word and then PDF'd them & packaged them with the software. We're now in the process of converting/re-writing the docs in FM. We do our primary output to RH's WebHelp and package that now (using TCS2), but we still needed to produce good-looking PDFs for sales team & trainers - that's where FM comes in. FM allows for content reuse that makes maintaining the variations you've got a breeze. With an additional add-on called Framescript, you can "program" repeated actions to really automate your processes. FM is very strong at conditionalizing and variables, so you could have all 41 variants contained within the same book.
Thank you very much for the excellent responses! I will take your advice and get started with the product.
I don't think your questions were answered, except for the tool one, which is not the most important one. I would reverse your questions:
- Does my project require a special technique? Yes! Single sourcing, which is a methodology for developing modular, reusable information, not a tool. Before you even approach a tool, you must analyze your content, define standards for it, define information types (Google for DITA), and convert it from linear (as your Word documents are) to modular.
- I have not seen the GooberGuides book, but I can definitely offer these:
- Content Managment for Dynamic Web Delivery - Jo Ann Hackos
- DITA 101 - Anne Rockley, Charles Cooper, and Steve Manning
- Introduction to DITA: A User Guide to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture - Jennifer Linton & Kylene Bruski
- Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy - Anne Rockley
- Single Sourcing: Building Modular Documentation- Kurt Ament
- Tools - obviously since we're on the Adobe forum, Technical Communication Suite must be acknowledged. But you can accomplish single sourcing with several tools. Check out a brief overview of some at http://www.writersua.com/restools.htm.
Thank you Jan!
You're welcome. Good luck.