Re: [Query] The Future of Macromedia/Adobe RoboHelp

Subject: Re: [Query] The Future of Macromedia/Adobe RoboHelp
From: David Dickerson <davidmd -at- echomusic -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 08:54:14 -0600

Hello, Stacia!

Thank you for your message of 30 March.

I wrote to Mike Hamilton, VP Product Management, for MadCap
Software. Although he was traveling, he sent me two cordial
messages from his hotel room last night. Naturally, I was
impressed to hear from Mike, but his messages were genuine
replies and not attempts to get me to be a Flare customer.

Ironically, despite the fact that I have been technical writing
for over 20 years, I had only brief exposure to RoboHelp for
about a week in 2001. What I found irritating about the product,
having hand-coded HTML since 1994, was the invalid and poor code that RoboHelp generated. I had to go in and edit the HTML manually.

I am the first technical writer that my employer has ever had,
so I need to make a case for the need for a tool to develop on-
line help, and to specify the tool and justify its cost.

By the way, Stacia, MacCap offers a "competitive upgrade" to
Flare for people who use, or have used, any other on-line help
authoring tool, even "extinct" products such as Forefront. The
cost of this "competitive upgrade" is $499, a significant savings.

I definitely will not be recommending RoboHelp to my comany.
Right now, I need to find the time to test Flare and some of the
other options. I am already leaning toward Flare, however.

Please keep me posted as you continue to use Flare, Stacia. I
agree with you: Based upon what we know, RoboHelp is basically
dead, with no development and no support.

Thank you, again, for your message, Stacia!


David Dickerson
Technical Writer
echomusic, LLC
1101 Seventeenth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
615.371.5119 (Telephone)
615.777.5119 (Facsimile)

On 30 March 2006 at 09:38:29 -0600, Stacia Marlett wrote to TECHWR-L:

> Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 09:38:29 -0600
> From: "Stacia Marlett" <smarlett -at- digitalriver -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 5, Issue 30
> To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Good question, David. We're working on migrating to MadCap
> Flare, which was built by some of the RH developers laid
> off from Adobe. So far its been a struggle - but I think
> it will be worth it. RH caused nothing but problems, it
> never worked correctly and the output was less than
> stellar.
> With Flare, the output is not as customizable, but it
> looks much more modern and nice. It hasn't crashed yet. It
> uses XML instead of HTML. It has more useful features,
> like snippets. Adjustment has been tough, but I will be so
> glad to be rid of RH.
> RH *will* die. That is without question. There are no
> developers working on it. There is no support beyond the
> Adobe forums for it. There are no plans for updating it.
> It's dead already.
> Stacia Marlett
> Technical Writer
> Digital River
> 9625 West 76th St. Ste. 150
> Eden Prairie, MN 55344
> 952-253-8663

David Dickerson
david -dot- dickerson -at- echomusic -dot- com – intelligence, artistry, innovation
615.371.5119 | 615.777.5119 fax


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