RE: Framemaker and RoboHelp

Subject: RE: Framemaker and RoboHelp
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Jim Barrow" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 11:52:53 -0700

Jim Barrow wrote:

> Okay, here's my latest workplace drama. Our Tech Pubs group
> has gotten the okay to purchase the Adobe Technical Suite
> (Frame and Robo) to create end user manuals and online help.
> That is until a business analyst spent the entire day looking
> at Adobe presentations. In short, he wants the tech writers
> to create the help file in Frame AND RoboHelp because he
> believes that Frame is used for printed material and RoboHelp
> is used for online help.
> What? Last I heard you could create pretty good looking
> stuff in RoboHelp. Am I correct in saying that we should
> only use RoboHelp and that this app can produce a good
> looking printed manual?

Your business analyst is exactly right, and you need to check out the
same materials he did so you understand. The whole point of buying the
suite is to get the integration of FM and RH. You author in FM. The FM
source files go to Acrobat Distiller to create books and to RH to create
help files.

Pay no attention to comments related to earlier, non-suite versions of
FM and RH -- they're not relevant to the suite, which offers the
integration that makes single-sourcing possible (previous versions only
permitted repurposing).

Don't get distracted by the issue of what content is appropriate for
each output medium. You'll be able to tailor the content for each output
medium while still maintaining a single set of FM source files. We're
just talking workflow here.

If you ignore the business analyst (and Adobe) and use RH for authoring
(either the help alone or both help and manual), then there's absolutely
no point in buying the suite. In fact, if you're happy producing printed
manuals using RH <shudder />, why is FM in the picture at all?

If it were me, I'd be thanking the analyst and the powers that be
profusely, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the suite. Embrace the
future, you lucky dog. :-)


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

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Framemaker and RoboHelp: From: Jim Barrow

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