Re: Current trends in Authoring Tools?

Subject: Re: Current trends in Authoring Tools?
From: Joe Malin <jmalin -at- jmalin -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2007 09:48:13 -0800

My favorite authoring tool is the system of glyphs often known as "Roman": a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z. This tool comes in many variations, some more usable than others. Along with this tool, I also use English, a system of expressing ideas using combinations of these glyphs plus others such as . , ; : and !. One of English's key features is a set of rules known as "grammar". A great many books have been written about English; I notice that English is such a popular tool that many of the books are written using English itself.

English users seem to have followed the idea of design patterns and best practices, so one can now find books on "rhetoric" and "style" that help construct effective English. English by itself is very free-form, and while this is often useful, one should also learn the most effective and efficient design patterns.

English is, of course, not the only system out there, but it is very popular. Other systems and other glyph tools exist, but you can find experts that can convert your English into these other systems.

I have noticed some recent debate on whether or not we should replace English with XML or Ruby on Rails. Regardless, English is the basis of both of these systems, so learning English now will give you some future payoff as well.

And by the way, I am only joking slightly here.


ct wrote:

Good Point David.


Your comment "I have had the good fortune of not having to work with
Word as my main
authoring tool for the past 13 years as a TW" is hardly the thing to
motivate Word experts >to leap to your assistance. I, for one, think
Word's flexibility and potential for automation >far outweigh its
limitations. I won't sneer at your tools if you won't sneer at mine.
Deal? >About your questions...

Although I am trained in and use (mostly to keep current) a good
number of the authoring tools, I've noticed a definite trend AWAY from
the industry norms.

The last few contract jobs I've worked as well as the last 3 permanent
jobs (and the job I am moving into - a fortune 50 company) have all
abandoned tools like RoboHelp, FrameMaker, Flare, etc. Their tool of


Why? It's in use. It's got a future development path. And everybody knows it.


May not be the best tool...but it's what's hot in Rome. And when in Rome....


(I guess the tagline applies here...)


*Joe Malin*

jmalin -at- jmalin -dot- com <mailto:jmalin -at- jmalin -dot- com>


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

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Current trends in Authoring Tools?: From: ct

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