RoboHelp vs. FrontPage

Subject: RoboHelp vs. FrontPage
From: "Shorr, Henry (JUS)" <hshorr -at- jus -dot- gov -dot- mb -dot- ca>
To: "'ceriw -at- bigfoot -dot- com'" <ceriw -at- bigfoot -dot- com>, "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 09:09:33 -0500

This is in response to a recent question in the digest on RoboHelp vs.
FrontPage. The first issue is exactly what you plan to use these products
for. If it's for on-line help (in help file format, instead of web sites ,
then web page design is only part of what's required.

Among the key components of on-line help are creating the content(i.e. htm
file), index, and table of contents and compiling them into an help file
(pulling the htm files [including hyperlinks], index and TOC together into
one file, cross-referencing the various links, and compressing the file).

FrontPage only does one of these things for a help file: create html files.
RoboHelp does all of these things.

At first I used FrontPage 98 for htm files, and then used the Microsoft
HTML Help Authoring Kit (free from Microsoft) to complete and compile the
help file. I then had to do three separate basic operations add each htm
file from Front Page in to the help, project, add each item to the table of
contents (which had to match the hierarchy of the WEB designed in Front
Page) and again add each item to the index. If I need to changed content to
an HTML file I had to do that in FrontPage (if I wanted WZYWG, because the
Help Authoring product uses Notepad as an editor) I then had to re-copy the
htm file to the Help Authoring folder. As you can see this is a fragmented,
time consuming process.

RoboHelp HTML gives you "one stop shopping" It does all these things without
leaving the program. The biggest time saver is that you create a topic, put
it into the TOC and index in one seamless operation. Then you just have to
switch to the html editor on the same screen. I could finish the process in
roughly one half the time it took doing it with FrontPage and the HTML

As far as Word goes (I use Word 97), you still have to create each help
topic separately, which means:

* Breaking an existing Word document in to separate html files for the
various topics (if the word document is more than a couple of pages), and
then importing them into Front page or RoboHelp, or

* Cutting and pasting them into Front page or RoboHelp.

* If there are graphics in the Word document, you would have to insert
them in to the HTML editor using the HTML software.

* You may still have to do a lot of re-formatting (e.g. bullets don't
translate well)

This was my experience with RoboHelp 2000 for HTML.

I recently acquired RoboHelp 9, which amongst other things gives you the
option of using RoboHelp, Word 2000 or FrontPage as your main HTML editor. I
haven't have much experience with this but, it appears that you have to
switch between FrontPage and RoboHelp, instead of having everything together
in one interface in RoboHelp.

I hope this is of some assistance.

Henry Shorr

Henry Shorr
Training Consultant
Manitoba Corrections
810-405 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3L6

Phone: 204-945-7298, Fax: 204-945-5537
email: hshorr -at- jus -dot- gov -dot- mb -dot- ca

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