re: Dreamweaver and RoboHelp

Subject: re: Dreamweaver and RoboHelp
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 08:11:15 -0700 (PDT)

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?

RH and DW are too different tools designed for two different purposes.

RH (or specifically RHHTML) is for designing HTMLHelp, WebHelp or some other HTML-based help system. It has specific tools that make creating the basic elements of a help system easy. Specically, you can automatically generate TOC, Index, includes search engine, and several other really useful things that are a massive pain to create yourself (I know this from experience).

DW is for creating web sites and HTML pages. It has all of the tools that anyone creating a web site might want, including easy ways to add JavaScripts, validing code, and a 508 compliance checker. It also has a set of tools that allow you to make changes site-wide, which is really really nice.

I CAN see why someone would want to use RH to generate the help system, but use something like DW to edit individual HTML pages. RH, in my opinion, doesn't handle HTML well, and its WYSIWYG is based on Word's interface, which isn't very intuitive if you're used to creating web pages. DW, dispite what I've heard people say, does not bloat an html file with extra code, and RH does (BUT you can't get rid of that extra code because RH relies on it).

Is it not possible to generate an index in Dreamweaver?

I don't think so, but then again, DW isn't supposed to be a HAT tool, it's a web site tool, and most web sites don't have and don't need an index......yeah, I think that's a safe statement. I mean, when you say generate, you mean automatically generate, right? Push a button, and it's done (more or less)? You can create an index with a basic HTML file, or in XML (I just got done doing this myself), and you can use DreamWeaver to hand-code an index.

Is editing in DW and generating an index in RH a viable option?

Yeah. What you'd want to do is create the help project as a site in DW. Then you could import the site into RH, where you can do all the nifty little things like adding Index and TOC. But as soon as you import the files, RH adds the code. I know, because I've accidentally opened files into RH (selected the wrong item from a right-click) and then saved without thinking, only to find RH's mark all over the file.

Recommendations and suggestions are very welcome.

My first question is what are you making? WebHelp or HTMLHelp?
My next question is what are the goals for the help? What features need to be in the help?
Do you have size constraints for the help file/files? (If size doesn't matter, go with RH because it will save you a lot of time and automates a lot of features).

My gut tells me go with DW, but I like hand-coding. :-)

Chuck Martin writes:
When creating files for HTML-based Help (which includes its own WebHelp, RH outputs some of the largest files of any HAT.

Have you seen the output from Word? YIKES!!!!!!!! Four-times the original size of the file in my experience!!!

"And in the morning, I'm makin waffles." ~ Donkey
Sean Hower - tech writer

Create your own web site for FREE at

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