Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHelp?

Subject: Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHelp?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 08:53:42 -0500

Chantel B is <<... trying to decide whether to purchase Doc to Help or
RoboHelp for a online help project. I'm using a single source (MS Word
Doc) and in the past I've used Doc to Help.>>

The best way to make such decisions is to download a demo of the
software--or get a free CD shipped to you if you're not in a hurry, because
the downloads have gotten mighty large. Play with that and see if it meets
your needs. I would, however, note that when last I evaluated the product,
Doc to Help was strongly biased towards a print solution, and that meant it
produced what I considered awkward and unsuitable help systems unless you
really jumped through hoops. RoboHelp was a much more effective Help
authoring tool.

Please note: I don't consider Doc to Help to be an acceptable
single-sourcing solution based on my brief evaluation of the product; others
who are more experienced with the product may have developed workflows that
make it tolerable in this use, so wait for confirmation from them. But I
don't consider this problem unique to DtoH; RoboHelp is also lousy at
single-sourcing. If you really want to produce single-source documentation,
you need to look at an XML solution or perhaps even SGML, and learn a whole
new way of writing.

Check out Michael Priestley's excellent article on this subject:
Priestley et al. 2001. DITA: an XML-based technical documentation authoring
and publishing architecture. Technical Communication 48(3):352-367.
Further info. and probably contact info. for Michael can be had at IBM's Web
site. Try the following URL for a list of resources:

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a
personality, and an obnoxious one at that."-Kim Roper

Now's a great time to buy RoboHelp! You'll get SnagIt screen capture
software and a $200 onsite training voucher FREE when you buy RoboHelp
Office or RoboHelp Enterprise. Hurry, this offer expires February 28, 2002.

Have you looked at the new content on TECHWR-L lately?
See and check it out.

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