2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 21, 2007 11:40 AM by johndaigle

    Robohelp 6, Framemaker and WebWorks integration?

      I'm responsible for technical documentation at my company. Yesterday I received an email about Robohelp 6, and decided to check it out.

      I've used Robohelp before and quite liked it. It's very useful if you have an existing documentation base in Microsoft Word; owever nearly all the companies I've worked at that have a substantial documentation base use Framemaker and not Word as their standard documentation platform, for a wide variety of reasons.

      So, I'm a little disappointed to notice that Robohelp 6 really can't be used practically with Framemaker. Sure, I can translate all my files to MIF and import them, but then this forces me to go ahead and translate a lot of documentation manually (the functionality to do a batch format conversion just doesn't exist). It also forces me to keep two sets of documents (you can't generate TOCs or IXs from MIF files apparently). That's just not acceptable considering that the same company makes both applications. Evidently RH6 isn't even able to use Framemaker to translate documents on the fly the way that a third-party application like WebWorks is able to do.

      Seriously, I can't even say that the products are poorly integrated, because they're evidently not integrated in any way.

      This wouldn't be so bad if Frame 7.2 included the decent version of WebWorks that used to be included with Frame 6.x, or was even compatible with that version! But it's not. You can't use Frame 7.2 with WebWorks. You're stuck with using ePublisher, which isn't even close to an acceptable replacement as it's a huge downgrade from the previous bundled app.

      So, another online help solution is a dire necessity here, and Adobe, despite owning both the Robohelp and Framemaker, is either unable or unwilling to make both work together for a reason which really escapes me. The one FAQ entry on the subject is beyond vague and noncommittal and smacks of a half-answer designed to "stop the technical writers whining about this".

      Additionally, considering that Adobe itself is still to this day bundling Quadralay products with Framemaker, wouldn't it be the logically expected thing for Robohelp to be able to import WebWorks and ePublisher projects, at least in part? Yet I don't see any way in which this can be done.

      Robohelp 6 is not a cheap product. At a grand a seat, it costs more than Photoshop, despite being a much simpler product (certainly in technical terms). I'd LOVE to be able to recommend that my company buy a few licenses, but this is really not something that I can do at this time, nor do I foresee a time when I'll be able to do so unfortunately.

      What can I, as a senior technical writer, expect Adobe to do to resolve what I see as a serious impasse here?
        • 1. Re: Robohelp 6, Framemaker and WebWorks integration?
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
          Welcome to the forum.

          This is something that really only Adobe can comment on and these forums are for user to user support. As such Adobe do not monitor posts.

          Take a look at my site and there are a couple of links to what is publicly known about RH7 and I believe that includes some Framemaker related enhancements.

          Maybe that will be of some help to you.

          • 2. Re: Robohelp 6, Framemaker and WebWorks integration?
            johndaigle Level 4
            Hi, tonyemond and welcome to the pond
            You may not be aware, but Adobe only recently (within the last year or so) acquired RoboHelp in the Macromedia deal. I can understand your frustration and many of the issues you raise are being addressed in the next version of RoboHelp which is being developed as we "speak". In fact, it is so far along that you are invited to join the Adobe RoboHelp pre-release (beta) program for the next version.

            You can find details here. Adobe Technical Communications Blog

            I got to attend the sneak peek sessions at STC in Minneapolis last month where Adobe showed many new features. As you may know, there is a new version of Framemaker in beta as well (and Adobe Captivate, too!). So, it takes a while to integrate these leap-frogging targets. The wait will be rewarded however.