Re: need advice choosing tools

Subject: Re: need advice choosing tools
From: Sean Brierley <seanb_us -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 18:54:30 -0800 (PST)

If the online help and printed guide are completely
separate items with no reuse of content, and if
someone else is doing the print document, then Quark
might work.

Otherwise, I recommend dropping Quark.

As for an approach, my opinion is that if your output
includes printed (incl. PDF) documentation, then
authoring in the help tool is a bad idea. My opinion;
yours may differ, but I find it more logical to
break-up a printed doc into random-access topics than
pasting random-access topics into a linear printed
book. Also, my opinion is that tools like FrameMaker
handle repeating style elements, numbered lists,
numerous graphics, and styles more robustly and
efficiently than word-processing apps or online help
tools. My opinion only, I respect yours. However, I
personally feel 150 pages is within a reasonable range
for word-processing apps (maybe at the upper end with
lots of graphics and numbered lists).

My personal experience is that FrameMaker and RoboHelp
aren't a strong marriage and I recommend you discard
one. Me, thinking of your printed output, I would drop
RoboHelp and pick up WebWorks Publisher Pro. But, I am
biased because that's what I use now. As a
novice-intermediate RoboHelp user, I am uncomfortable
with the efficiency and stability of RoboHelps
print-document-creation feature. Of course, you have
to balance that against both the ubiquity of RoboHelp
and other factors, like does your staff already know
how to use RoboHelp? Still, FM and RoboHelp are an
inherently inefficient combination.

Inefficient also is having a huge collaborative effort
between a Mac Designer and you on Wintel to create the
master pages. Lose the designer. Developing master
pages is a one-time, quick, uncomplicated event. And,
if they like Quark, chances are your Designer will not
want to work with FrameMaker anyway. Not to mention
the trouble you might get into with fonts and other
issues between OSes (not FrameMaker, OSes). If you
want to develop online help from FrameMaker, Windows
(UNIX also) is the way. I trust your user guides will
not be printed in CMYK from a press; if so, you're
probably going to need that seat on the Mac. If you
end up using RoboHelp, then you will have even less
need for that designer, because your output will be to
Word for print; CMYK + press would complicate things
here, also.

So: FrameMaker + WWP Pro is my number one choice.
Based on not much experience, Word + WordHelp
secondarily, followed by AuthorIT (based on
reputation) . . ..



P.S. And, just for the record, and to prevent tool
wars, really, I appreciate that others might have
different opinions and experience, vive la difference!!

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need advice choosing tools: From: dodd

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