RE: Why should I be worried about the merger?

Subject: RE: Why should I be worried about the merger?
From: "Char James-Tanny" <CharJT -at- helpstuff -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 09:28:00 -0400

> There's one point in this that I think the aiee-my-tools-are-falling crowd
> may not have thought of: that the team at Madcap, being comprised largely
> ex-RoboHelp geeks, will almost certainly create a tool that a) can do what
> RoboHelp does, and b) will probably be able to convert RoboHelp source
> to their format, which would be a relief for all those worried about
> their work, no? With all of their knowledge of RoboHelp, I frankly can't
> them passing up on conversion unless they're lacking in savvy, which I
> think they are. It would make their product an instant easy sell, that's
> sure.

And as soon as there's a tool to look at, we'll know ;-) The last I heard,
beta for Flare (the new tool from MadCap) is due later this year.

A couple of other points:

- The tools that you're using right now will not freeze, stop working, or
have to be uninstalled because the vendor stops supporting them or doing
more development on them.

- Many vendors have already announced the ability to import and convert
RoboHelp projects, and others will be making similar announcements.
(Projects are projects. Files are files.)

If the tool you're using falls into the "oh, my" category (and even if it
doesn't), you have time to decide if you need to move to a new tool.

- If so, when. For example, there are still ForeHelp users out there...and
ForeFront closed its doors in January 2002. Do you have to change tools
today? Tomorrow? Next month? Last quarter 2005? After Longhorn is release?

- If so, why. Has new technology (IE7, Longhorn, ???) caused a problem with
the outputs? Do you not want to use a tool with minimal
development/updates/support? (ForeHelp users have relied on peer-to-peer
support for the last 3+ years.) Do you want to use the latest tool on the
market? Has your workflow changed?

The fact that a vendor says that they have your perfect solution doesn't
mean that they do. (They have *a* solution, but it might not be yours.) Take
advantage of trial downloads and see if they have *your* solution. Ask
questions (here, at conferences, on other lists...whereever you get your
information from). Determine your needs and see which tools address them.
Layout your workflow and see which tool lets you use it...and which tools
force you into their workflow.

Fifteen years ago, we could choose from a very limited number of HATs. Now
there's a huge list of HATs and vendors (see You can
choose to use Microsoft Word or Adobe Framemaker or the HTML editor of your
choice or a proprietary editor. You can even use tools that let you modify
content live on the Web. You can find tools that produce (publish, generate)
the output that you need.

So...take this time to do a needs assessment and figure out what you need a
tool to do *for you*.

> I'm betting on a future tool from Madcap that can take RoboHelp files and
> produce NewTool output that uses the original templates.* Five bucks! In
> pot!

I hope not! ;-) (re: the original templates)

Char James-Tanny ~ JTF Associates, Inc. ~
2005 Microsoft Help MVP ~ MSHelpWiki
AuthorIT Certified Consultant ~ AuthorIT Development and Training
RoboGURU: RoboHelp Consulting, Development, and Training
Moderator, HATT and MSHelp2
Web site Hosting and Design ~


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RE: Why should I be worried about the merger?: From: Susan Guttman

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