RE: AuthorIt?

Subject: RE: AuthorIt?
From: "Gretchen Wilcox" <gwilcox -at- author-it -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 13:42:25 +1300


I'd just like to confirm/clarify some of the points that Jim has raised:

>> It looks like it uses a database of document files and lets you
construct documents from any of the doc files and graphics files in the

Yes - information is stored in a relational database (your AuthorIT
library, or *.adl file). Creating a document/project with AuthorIT is
like building with Lego bricks - you construct your document from many
small components which are called 'objects'. There are different types
of object which all have different functions - Topics (text), File
Objects (graphics), Style Objects etc...

>> It looks like it'll build Word docs for print or pdf and the usual
flavors of online help. (A true single source tech writing tool?)

AuthorIT can create seven different output formats - Word, Winhelp,
HTML, XHTML, HTML Help, Java Help, and Oracle Help for Java. Single
sourcing means that you can produce your documentation in any or all of
these output types, but you only store and work with the content in one
place. You can reuse your components (objects) as many times as you like
in the same document, or across many documents - any change to the
object automatically updates the object wherever it is used.

>> It looks like the software has several optional modules that you buy
according to your needs and it looks expensive. Sort of reminds of SAP
in this respect...

There are additional modules available but these are optional. Price
varies according to the edition purchased, but is still in the low to
medium range when compared with many other products. Char James-Tanny
has a Tools Comparison Matrix available on her website at: and we have other comparisons that are
available if you are interested.

>> It looks like it has a steep learning curve with an endless list of
possibilities for formatting and styles.

AuthorIT, like any tool, comes with a bit of a learning curve,
particularly when you're used to working with a different tool and using
a different approach. I will say that I believe that AuthorIT is an
extremely powerful and flexible tool, and perhaps with a change in
thinking, almost anything can be achieved.

>> I have a feeling that it's not really aimed at the typical software
development company and its tech writers.

Wrong - this is specifically where it's aimed at. AuthorIT is a single
source documentation tool that is suitable for individual writers or
large teams working together. AuthorIT is used by many different
industries to produce a variety of different types of documentation
including: user manuals, policy and procedures, health and safety,
training and e-learning, software and hardware, and many others.

David Wood has said his only reservation is AuthorITs dependence on
Microsoft Word - I would like to clarify that AuthorIT is not a Word
based tool. Word is currently used to import your existing
documentation, but otherwise is only used when creating your final print

I've tried not to make this sound like a sales pitch - there are many
tools out there and everybody has their firm favorites and opinions on
what is best. What suits somebody, may not suit others.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me
directly. There is also an AuthorIT-Users forum at: - where you should
be able to get an unbiased opinion!


Gretchen Wilcox
AuthorIT Software
mailto:gwilcox -at- author-it -dot- com

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