RoboHelp or DITA

Subject: RoboHelp or DITA
From: Scott Abel <abelsp -at- netdirect -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:08:59 -0400

There has been some recent listserv chatter about RoboHelp and DITA on other listservs to which I belong. I'm certain members of this list are also interested in that topic. Here's what I shared with the DITA-Users listserv that might be of interest to TECHWR-Lers.

On the subject of RoboHelp and DITA...

RoboHelp -- as others have pointed out here -- is a help authoring tool; DITA is an XML topic-based architecture that facilitates standardized creation of structured XML content. Whether you should use RoboHelp (with or without FrameMaker) to create DITA content is the real question.
My advice for today:

- Use FrameMaker if your primary need is to create and publish to print, pdf and various other types of output. You really can't beat FrameMaker in this arena.
- Use RoboHelp if you primarily need to create embedded help systems and knowledgebases.
My advice for the near future:

- Look for Adobe to announce support for DITA in the new version of RoboHelp (No, RoboHelp is not dead!)
- Look for new plugins for DITA (and for S1000D) in the next few weeks/months
- Look for even more in the next release of Framemaker (in my crystal ball I see a version 8 on the horizon)

Also, expect some really exciting improvements that will facilitate the creation of DITA content from Framemaker and into the new version of RoboHelp.

You don't need a crystal ball to see that Adobe is increasing its commitment to the tech comm space. All you need is a web browser: faq.html.

Of course, I could be wrong. :)

Scott Abel, Content Management Strategist, The Content Wrangler, Inc.
abelsp -at- netdirect -dot- net * 941-359-3416 * skype: abelsp

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