Re: Dreamweaver and RoboHelp

Subject: Re: Dreamweaver and RoboHelp
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 14:24:50 -0700

In my on-again, off-again (currently on) world of using RH as a HAT, my gut
reation is:


If you don't have an existing RH project (like I do here), seriously
consider other tools. When creating files for HTML-based Help (which
includes its own WebHelp, RH outputs some of the largest files of any HAT.
(I dont' know the URL where I found the test results, but I know how to get
to it via The HTML produced with RH also wasn't W3C

The RH authoring environment also does nasty things to HTML code. eHelp is
more interested in adding new features and new formats (such as their new
FlashHelp) than in fixing their existing products.

Most HATs use either Java applets or JavaScript to make their HTML-based
Help output cross-browser compliant.

On a recent project, I had to use FrameMaker to create a PDF file, and my
client's client also wanted HTML-based Help for their web application. I
dreaded using WebWorks Publisher because of my past experience with its
horrible usability. But I found that the usability has improved tremendously
and the output was lean and worked well. (The cost, OTOH, was staggering.)
This is also one of the few options where you can use contitional text. RH
seems to use just the old-style topic-lever build tags.

I love DW for edtiing HTML, despite its quirks, but it was never designed to
be a HAT. I tried DevaTools once, and while I liked the output, I found its
usability suffered. Still, a web page that compares RH and DW/Deva is at

Have you checked out the Tools page at

Much as I hate authoring in a non-native HTML editor for creating HTML
output, if I were starting a project fro srcatch today, and was at a company
that had the budget, I probably make FM/WWP my first choice for a tool
combination, with maybe DW/Deva and AuthorIT as runner-up alternatives
(although AuthorIt has a rather large learning curve).

Chuck Martin

"ROGERS, MARTHA (CONTRACTOR)" <MARTHA -dot- ROGERS -at- DFAS -dot- MIL> wrote in message
news:209325 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

After several false starts, I'm again preparing to prototype my first
HTML-based help for a Web-based application. I've been re-researching tools
and formats and am reaching the point of information overload (again).


The HTML help must be 508-compliant and compatible with IE and Netscape but
Active X controls are verboten. If I stick with RH, the output would be
WebHelp. My other option is Dreamweaver. I should have a copy soon and will
be quite happy to learn a new tool.

My questions, and yes, I do have some, are these: An eHelp Web site survey
shows that almost 11 percent of respondents edited their topics in RoboHelp
using DW. I don't understand that statistic. Why are they using RH if
they've got DW? Or why use DW if you've got RH? From searching Techwrl, I've
seen recommendations for Deva Tools or HTML-Indexer to create an index. Is
it not possible to generate an index in Dreamweaver? I suspect trying to
order and download Deva Tools from the Web (which is the only purchase
option available, according to their Web site) isn't going to fly around
here. Is editing in DW and generating an index in RH a viable option? Hmm,
maybe that's why those folks are using both software tools. Recommendations
and suggestions are very welcome.

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