RE: If you were in my shoes, what would you buy?

Subject: RE: If you were in my shoes, what would you buy?
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Sean -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 11:01:02 -0400

Well, to be perfectly honest, if I were in your shoes, I'd dump PageMaker,
pick up FrameMaker and use WebWorks Publisher Pro to single-source my
output. Certainly, FrameMaker would automate all of your PDF needs. The
benefit is that you can maintain your changes in one, FrameMaker, project
and output PDF and online help both.

However, given the toolset you have, PageMaker is difficult to use with
online help output. I see a couple of choices:

1) Create online help as a standalone and separate project from your PDFs
and printed materials. This requires more resources (time, staff, $$) than
single-sourcing but is no less worthwhile in terms of meeting your readers'
needs. For this, eHelp's RoboHelp 9.1 or the soon-to-be-released RoboHelp 10
should be a good solution. You can reuse material from PageMaker in a manual
RTF conversion process but the result is maintaining two different projects,
PDF and online help, separately.

2) Move to MS Word for your PDF and printed document needs, because Word is
better supported by tools, such as RoboHelp. Document in Word and import the
Word into RoboHelp as a basis for creating online help. You will still have
two projects to maintain.

3) Move to RoboHelp for your printed and online documentation needs. My
understanding is that RoboHelp supports printed output in a rudimentary way,
which means you will probably need to maintain two separate projects. I
don't know if RoboHelp 10 will provide better single-source or printed
output options.

In any event, if you plan to reuse material, or single-source, then you
should seriously consider FrameMaker-based solutions and move away from
Word, PageMaker, and RoboHelp . . ..




Sean Brierley
Lead Technical Writer

Jenzabar, Inc.
One Union Place
Hartford, CT 06103
tel: 860-728-6777 x211
fax: 860-247-0249
sean -at- quodata -dot- com

Adobe® Certified Expert
Quadralay WebWorks® Wizard

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kim Forbes [SMTP:kim_portonova -at- hotmail -dot- com]
> >Do you create any other kind of documentation, such as PDF or printed
> docs,
> >if so will your online help reuse any of that content and, if so, what is
> >that content written in?
> We currently create PDFs and written manuals. We usually write our manuals
> in PageMaker and export them thru PageMakers export function into PDFs.
> Sometimes we use Acrobat to enhance our PDFs, fixing broken links,
> creating
> cross-reference links, etc. We also write some manuals in Word 97 and
> export them into acrobat to make PDFs.
> We hope to reuse a great deal of material from the written material into
> the
> on-line help, but we will probably want to rearrange it differently. For
> example, our documents are sometimes conceptually heavy and for the
> on-line
> help we would like to make them procedurally heavy. We would also like the
> procedural on-line help to remain "on top" of the application and the
> conceptual information to be replaced by an active application window.


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