TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Somehow this whole episode brings to mind the response I expect one might
get if he/she posted a similar rant about Linux on \.
The folks over at RoboHelp did their best (probably unintentionally) to
alienate large numbers of HAT users. As a result many in the community
turned against RoboHelp and embraced the new kid (Flare). I suspect that a
number of Flare users who've had problems have sucked it up because it
wasn't RoboHelp. So I'm inclined to think that there are a number of folks
whose ox has been gored and they're lashing out at the original poster
because of it.
I became fairly antagonistic toward RoboHelp when ForeHelp fell off the
market. I was a ForeHelp user and loved it and really resented RoboHelp for
capturing so much of the market that the folks who sold ForeHelp couldn't
gain enough market share to stay in business.
Having said that, I was forced to embrace RoboHelp because it was the tool
in place where I was contracting. I'll grudgingly admit that I was
reasonably pleased with it... it had its flaws but I was ultimately able to
bend it to my will.
When Flare went into beta, I got a copy and tried it out. What I saw looked
great and I really wanted to adopt it. Unfortunately, there was a
dealbreaker there... Flare doesn't support WinHelp. That was what I was
developing and I felt no need to transition to what I feel are inferior help
formats for desktop application help. Now that Microsoft has announced the
deprecation of WinHelp for Windows Vista the landscape appears to be
changing and I'll have to evaluate my options (although my money is still on
Microsoft changing their mind and including the WinHelp engine with the
release of Vista). And there's no doubt in my mind that both Flare and
RoboHelp will be strong contenders for my HAT-of-choice (along with
AuthorIt, WWP and several others).
However, one thing that galls me is the attitude that if one buys V1.0
software, one should expect it to be only one step above abominable. Sorry,
folks... my attitude is that if you take money for your product, it better
damned well deliver. Bugs are going to happen but rushing a product into
release before it's fully debugged is an unethical business practice in my
book. V1.0 should be as bug-free as V2.0... incremental releases should be
primarily for additional features and functionality, not for bug fixes.
<aside to Lisa>
I realize that the option of posting anonymously through the listowner has
been around for a number of years but this is the first time I've heard that
it was REQUIRED for anonymous posts to be delivered through that mechanism.
I wonder if you'd expand on your reasoning for making it a requirement.
</aside to Lisa>
Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Website developer
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
Phone: (262) 694-1028 - Tollfree: (877) 892-1028 - Fax:(262) 697-6334
Email: mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - Web: http://www.writestarr.com
WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today! http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l