Re: Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool)

Subject: Re: Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool)
From: Deborah Hemstreet <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 19:03:45 -0400

Hi All,

I want to thank you all for your feedback. It has been quite helpful to me on several levels.

1. Your input confirmed what I thought I already knew, but now know I know.

2. Your input confirmed my personal experience.

3. Your input helped me to consider additional issues which further confirmed the above.

4. In short, I still want to wait for my client's feedback, but if all goes well... I believe we too will select Flare.

All that being said, I do not want to do product bashing. RoboHelp was my first Help tool after working in pure HTML for help on a UNIX system, many many eons ago. There is much that I love about RoboHelp and still do. But the ability to contact someone to get my simple pre-purchase questions answered was a huge issue. I could not get the tech support person via Chat or telephone to understand my questions. This is a shame because when a product is good, it merits good support as well.

Other variables also contributed to my decision. Still, thank you all for your input.

Deborah

On 03/30/2010 3:11 PM, cjcbrown -at- comcast -dot- net wrote:


Our tech writing group just did a big comparison and chose Flare too.

We are a group who has experience with just about everything including Robohelp, Flare, their predecessors, etc.

After painstakingly doing requirements, and comparing features, and running tests with legacy documents,

we all thought the two were very close.

The deal maker was the vendor's investment in the tool, or, how much do they want us to use it and be successful?

Flare not only has more responsive support, but more frequent full releases and patches.

Robohelp seems moribund by comparison.

We just couldn't shake the image of the energetic Flare team out to grab market share,

versus the lonely person in a cubicle at Adobe doing Robohelp sustaining. And tech support escalations. How sad.

Connie


----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Swallow" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 8:30:06 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Re: Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool)

> I have been given the choice of two tools to use: Flare vs RoboHelp. Output
> will be WebHelp, and possibly PDFs, maybe someday help for mobile
> applications as well.
>
> If you had the choice and cost was not an issue, which Help tool would you
> pick and why?

Answering the question as you phrased it won't help you one bit, as
both will create the output you need. Instead, I'll ask you some
questions that should inform your decision:

1) How many authors will be building the Help? And how many
maintaining it after your engagement ends?
2) Are you building from scratch or are you using pre-existing source
material (of what file type)?
3) How confident are you in the tool not changing in years to come?
That is, how great is your client's need of a migration path for the
Help content?

Never, ever, base a tool purchase based on its bells and whistles or
its comfortability. It's like buying a car based only on its creature
comforts, or a house based on the interior decorating. Instead, focus
on the big picture needs. Who is going to use it? How? And how does
content management (technological or methodological) play into these
needs? Answer that and look for the solution that best fits those core
needs. Everything else is just window dressing.

--
Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood
Blog: http://techcommdood.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/techcommdood

Available for contract and full time opportunities.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com

Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
http://www.ModernAnalyst.com

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com

Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
http://www.ModernAnalyst.com

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References:
Re: Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool): From: cjcbrown

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