11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 18, 2012 10:37 AM by woofster

    How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?

    woofster

      Sorry for the noob question....

       

      I am evaluating the v9 robohelp trial.

       

      It won't let me generate Word or PDF outputs....

       

      - It doesn't like my version of Word   /// How old fashioned to actually need Word

      - What does it need for PDF output?

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi there

           

          RoboHelp typically outputs a Word document, then from that it creates a PDF.

           

          What version of Word do you have?

           

          Cheers... Rick

           

          Helpful and Handy Links

          RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

          Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7, 8 or 9 within the day!

          Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

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          • 2. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
            Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Unlike other Adobe products, RH can't print directly to PDF. It has to go through Word to get to PDF from there.

            • 3. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Ummm, yeah. What Jeff said!

               

              Wish I'd thought of that! LOL

              • 4. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                woofster Level 1

                Thanks all!

                 

                I know how it goes, having used robohelp x5 and earlier.

                 

                Flare (which is a dog, but what I am on now) has a very nice direct output to PDF.

                 

                Robohelp's approach, which is dependent on Word versions, and is a three way chain (Robohelp -> word -> pdf sw) was slow and fragile back when I used it.

                 

                Sorry to hear robohelp is still a mess in this area. If I get back to robohelp, I may simply stop doing PDF.

                • 5. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                  Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Hello again

                   

                  For what it's worth, I do believe RoboHelp 9 introduced a new feature where it sort of bypasses Word. At least I think it does. You can elect to "send a PDF for review" and RoboHelp creates a PDF in a slightly different way. However, that way is intended primarily for review purposes and may not suit what you need.

                   

                  Cheers... Rick

                   

                  Helpful and Handy Links

                  RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

                  Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7, 8 or 9 within the day!

                  Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

                  SorcerStone Blog

                  RoboHelp eBooks

                  • 6. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                    Just to add to Rick's reply above, the reason it might not suit is that it is more difficult to get the topics in the order you want. If you are not too fussed about that, it may suit.

                     

                    Personally I always go via Word first to get the page breaks I want and other small tidy up operations.

                     


                    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                     

                    @petergrainge

                    • 7. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                      woofster Level 1

                      Peter, Rick et al,

                       

                      Thanks!

                       

                      I don't have time to fiddle a 300+ page document... I just want it genned....

                       

                      In both Flare and Confluence, I can easily gen pdfs... one stop shopping, no dependencies or utilities needed.

                       

                      In RH, I will probably skip PDF altogether. Not that I want to, but it isn't worth the hassle.

                       

                      Thanks for input. We can consider this closed!

                      • 8. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                        For the benefit of anyone else finding this thread, the time I am talking about to tidy up in Word is perhaps 5/10 minutes per document. Flare may generate the PDF quicker but you then cannot tidy up. When you print a web page, the breaks are often not as desired and it is the same when the HTML topics are sent to Word or PDF.

                         


                        See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                         

                        @petergrainge

                        • 9. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                          woofster Level 1

                          Peter,

                           

                          We hear you. You like to do a tidy pass.

                           

                          I used Robohelp for years, through x5, which also did the Robohelp -> Word -> PDF approach.

                           

                          I never did the tidy, because I don't have time to deal with a 300+ page document (that is what I use robohelp to do!). I just used the PDF as is from robohelp (when the pdf export worked, that is, it was on the flaky side viewed from a five years of use perspective). Also, I was totally unable to use robohelp on our build system to generate the PDF nightly, because the build dudes won't consider putting Word and PDF software on the build system (back in my robohelp days, we did not use the build system to gen help, but since migrating to Flare, we do %100 of our document generation on the build system, and this will never change -- it is the way to go!).

                           

                          Flare has great built-in PDF generation. I don't like Flare. It is painful and slow to use. But the Flare compiler is really quite great. It is very build system friendly. And because Flare directly generates PDF files from its compiler, it is straightforward to build all this on the build system.

                           

                          Note: I strongly prefer robohelp over Flare. Flare is a truly buggy product, that has a phd in creating frustrated users. It is also a uniquely unresponsive product team, that somehow keeps their job with such a deeply flawed product. However, if PDF output was a requirement of mine, Flare would win over Robohelp (ironic, since Adobe is king of PDF and owns Robohelp, but whatever). Fortunately for me, I am able to choose to drop PDF support from our outputs (webhelp and chm are our primary outputs). So we are now trying to move back to Robohelp.

                           

                          Flare is really really a weak product. The biggest professional mistake I have made in the past two years was migrating from robohelp x5 to Flare.

                          • 10. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                            Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            HI woofster

                             

                            If I may...

                             

                            You said:

                            I never did the tidy, because I don't have time to deal with a 300+ page document (that is what I use robohelp to do!).

                             

                            I both agree and disagree with this. I do agree that RoboHelp can (and should) do a better job with creating PDF output. Where I disagree is that one should use RoboHelp as a primary tool used to create PDF. Sure, there are many things dumped in PDF format and called "on-line" because it's now in an electronically transmittable and viewable product, But that's never been the primary goal of RoboHelp. The primary goal is to create on-line help systems. That's the real reason folks use RoboHelp. An on-line help system is vastly different than PDF. You have a Table of Contents that organizes things. Sure a PDF also has a TOC, but does it expand and collapse to hide and show links? I suppose a PDF may have an Index, but is the Index in a PDF really comparable to the index in a Help System?

                             

                            The point being that there are all sorts of nice little extras you get with a Help System as opposed to PDF. As PDF isn't my primary delivery mechanism, I sort of expect that I may have to tweak things in order to make it appear as I want. Even if that means I have to massage 300 pages.

                             

                            You said:

                            Flare has great built-in PDF generation. I don't like Flare. It is painful and slow to use. But the Flare compiler is really quite great. It is very build system friendly. And because Flare directly generates PDF files from its compiler, it is straightforward to build all this on the build system.

                             

                            LOL, I disliked Flare for the same reason. I know it has its followers and converts, but to me It's nowhere nearly as friendly as RoboHelp is. In my mind Flare is really built by developers for developers. So it never really took the mindset of a Help Author.

                             

                            You said:

                            (ironic, since Adobe is king of PDF and owns Robohelp, but whatever).

                             

                            I think it's VERY ironic. But please do keep in mind that Adobe is really only a fairly recent owner of the RoboHelp code base. It used to be owned by who? The folks that now are selling Flare. Even so, I really do hope Adobe finds a better way to handle PDF than the Word -> PDF path. If we could break away from that, we could break away from any dependency on Microsoft Word. I really wish we had a choice. That would allow folks like Peter to continue the "make it pretty, THEN PDF it" way of working. Or, folks like you that simply want a PDF created without the fuss.

                             

                            Cheers... Rick

                             

                            Helpful and Handy Links

                            RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

                            Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7, 8 or 9 within the day!

                            Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

                            SorcerStone Blog

                            RoboHelp eBooks

                            • 11. Re: How does Robohelp v9 generate PDFs ?
                              woofster Level 1

                              Rick,

                               

                              Good points.

                               

                              Flare is horrible. I am amazed people can use it, because it is so awfully slow, and very keyboard hostile. My productivity went down by over %50 when I went to Flare (and I took classes and everything, and I never take classes on anything!). Flare is not developer friendly (I am essentially a developer). Flare is hostile to the content editor, whoever that is. In Flare, if the cursor as at line 1 of a 30 line paragraph, and you want to edit the text on line 10, how many down arrows does it take?

                               

                              Robohelp: 10 (just like every editor on the planet, including developer editors)

                              Flare: 20   That's right. twenty keystrokes when every other tool on planet earth takes 10.

                               

                              It is amazing they can sell the thing with a straight face. "Yes, we have this great tool, etc etc, but not only is the entire GUI keyboard hostile, forcing you to use the mouse all over the place, but we will double your keystrokes for the most common navigation."

                               

                              Real developers are mouse-hostile, and Flare is mouse-dependent, so Flare for sure is not for "developers."

                               

                              On the up side, Flare lets you assign a special style sheet to your css output, which really works. So you can really get the pdf the way you want it. (I did not use this feature, just used whatever the stock pdf output does.) Confluence (the wiki we use) also lets you do this, and it really works great for pdf export. (I have used this, and it rocks.)

                               

                              fwiw...