Re: Two Professional Questions

Subject: Re: Two Professional Questions
From: Suzette Leeming <suzette -dot- leeming -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 21:31:00 -0400

I have been a Help & Manual user for the past five years as well, and have
to say I am truly impressed with it. I create Webhelp, PDF and Ebooks for
around 10 different products, some with over 500 ages. I second all the
accolades Leonard gave it.

The interface is very intuitive and quick to learn. I was able to hit the
ground running right after we started using it.

Suzette Leeming
Stouffville, Ontario




On Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 7:14 PM, Porrello, Leonard <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>wrote:

> I used Help & Manual for the past five or so years to single source and
> automatically publish several hundred pages of documentation, for three
> different products, as Web help and PDF, and I have been using Flare for
> the past three months on a single document of only 240 pages with no
> snippets and only four conditions. The only thing Flare has over H&M is
> that it can import from Frame (which is why, unfortunately, my group is
> forced to use it). I also like the way it gives me a window in which to
> create and work with TOCs.
>
> Apart from the way it manages TOCs and Frame import (which requires a
> huge amount of manual cleanup), Flare is very disappointing. The WYSIWYG
> editor is not truly WYSIWYG, the code is not XML (and features
> proprietary "madcap" tags), and it is about as buggy as early versions
> of Word. It has crashed on me several times over the past three months.
> In contrast, H&M has all of the capability of Flare (and probably more
> since I was able to create excellent, customized PDFs over five years
> ago--when Flare's PDF functionality was apparently still vaporware). H&M
> code is truly XML. The WYSIWYG editor is as easy to use and "intuitive"
> as Word. H&M crashed on me only twice in five years (even though I was
> working with a very large, interconnected document set with multiple
> conditions)--really; and it recovered itself so that I did not lose any
> of my work. (I can't say the same for Flare.) Also unlike Flare, H&M has
> excellent and comprehensive help. Best of all, H&M tech support is
> excellent, the best I have ever worked with. I was able to ask questions
> about how to do things as well as questions about problems I was having
> with the product. I posted 264 issues and questions over the course of
> five years--and I never had to wait more than a day for a truly helpful
> response. Finally, H&M support does not require a service plan; it is
> included in the price of the product (which, last I checked, is
> significantly less than Flare).
>
> Having said all that, I have to add that I am truly impressed with
> Madcap's extraordinary marketing. They've sold the tech writing world on
> a product which I can describe only using a word Madcap used to describe
> RoboHelp: "Craptasitic."
>
> BTW, I get absolutely nothing for plugging H&M. I am doing so only
> because, in spite of Gene's generally true maxim about no tool being
> objectively better than another, H&M is a superior tool.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello <techwr-l-bounces%2Blporrello>=
> illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of Roberta Hennessey
> Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 11:30 AM
> To: salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Two Professional Questions
>
> Ah, thank you so much.
>
> What have people's experience been with MadCap's suite of products?
> thumbs up or down?
>
>
> On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 2:25 PM, Chris Morton <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
> > For any Word question (or M$ question), I recommend Windows Secrets
> > Lounge<http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/>(formerly Woody's Lounge, as
> > in long-acknowledged Word uber-guru, Woody
> > Leonhard).
> >
> > > Chris
> > On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 10:01 AM, Roberta Hennessey
> > <rahennessey -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:
> >
> > > Oh my, I hope I've not been annoying.
> > >
> > > My consideration is that the guide I was hired to create is now apt
> to be
> > > at
> > > least two guides, and a future
> > > software releases will add a third book. There are no functional
> specs
> > here
> > > nor program management milestones.
> > > It appeared Word was going to be the tool of choice before I got
> here.
> > >
> > > Not being a Word superuser, I have found Word does not update the
> TOCs
> > > very
> > > well. I also cannot get Shift + F5 to
> > > work with cross references so users can go back to the point of
> origin of
> > > the cross reference. This would provide a user
> > > with quick, good access to additional information if they needed it.
> > (Does
> > > anyone know of a fix? I see lots of complaints on web but no
> solution.)
> > >
> > > Part of the comfort factor is true, though I see ease of creating
> other
> > > versions of the doc a consideration as well.
> > > I think (and I could be very wrong) it would take another contractor
> far
> > > less time to come in an add 2 new chapters to
> > > a guide using Frame than using Word (and running the risk of the doc
> > > getting
> > > too big).
> > >
> > > Am I wrong? Can anyone suggest where a writer can go for expert
> superuser
> > > Word help? What alternative tools would people
> > > suggest - this is going to be 2 to 3 guides for an internet
> application.
> > I
> > > think I have 6-9 weeks to complete.
> > >
> > > Bobbi
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 12:21 PM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > > That was my interpretation as well. Either the company is
> intrigued by
> > > > Bobbi's FM experience and would like to know whether FM would be
> an
> > > > improvement over what they have now, or (hopefully not) Bobbi has
> > managed
> > > > to
> > > > annoy them with comments about how much "better" FM is as a tool
> and
> > > > they're
> > > > giving her a chance to put up or you-know-what by providing a
> detailed
> > > > FM-vs-Word comparison.
> > > >
> > > > I've done single-sourcing with FM and I hated it. I doubt that
> I'd
> > like
> > > > trying to do it in Word any better. If it's a genuine future
> step, my
> > > > preference would be to move to a native XML tool. Single-sourcing
> is a
> > > > significant mindset adjustment compared to traditional authoring,
> and
> > > > trying
> > > > to hang on to old, familiar tool environments just bogs down the
> > learning
> > > > process. At least it did for me.
> > > >
> > > > Gene Kim-Eng
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 7:26 AM, Combs, Richard
> > > > <richard -dot- combs -at- polycom -dot- com>wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > So, to recap, here's the situation as I understand it: The
> company
> > has
> > > > been
> > > > > using Word. Bobbi has come in as a contract technical writer,
> and
> > she's
> > > > > experienced with FM, but has never used Word for such a project.
> > > > >
> > > > > Why would you say the issue isn't Word vs. FM? Other than your
> > > enthusiasm
> > > > > for ID, that is. :-)
> > > > >
> > > > > The issue is Word vs. FM because one is a comfortable fit for
> the
> > > company
> > > > > (no change required) and the other is a comfortable fit for
> their
> > > writer
> > > > (no
> > > > > learning curve or stumbling blocks).
> > > > >
> > > > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > > >
> > > > Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
> > > > Doc-To-Help.
> > > > Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
> > > > Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
> > > > http://www.doctohelp.com
> > > >
> > > > LavaCon 2010 in San Diego Sept 29 - Oct 2 is now open for
> registration.
> > > > Use referral code TECHWR-L for $50 off conference tuition!
> > > > See program at: http://lavacon.org/
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > ---
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> > > >
> > >
> >
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> om
> > > >
> > > >
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> > > >
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> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > Roberta Hennessey
> > > Technical Writer
> > > (978) 835-4282
> > > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > >
> > > Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
> > > Doc-To-Help.
> > > Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
> > > Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
> > > http://www.doctohelp.com
> > >
> > > LavaCon 2010 in San Diego Sept 29 - Oct 2 is now open for
> registration.
> > > Use referral code TECHWR-L for $50 off conference tuition!
> > > See program at: http://lavacon.org/
> > >
> > >
> > > ---
> > > You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com -dot-
> > >
> > > To unsubscribe send a blank email to
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> > > or visit
> > >
> >
> http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/salt.morton%40gmail.c
> om
> > >
> > >
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> > >
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> > >
> > > Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
> > > http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/listinfo/techwr-l-chat
> > >
> > >
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
> > Doc-To-Help.
> > Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
> > Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
> > http://www.doctohelp.com
> >
> > LavaCon 2010 in San Diego Sept 29 - Oct 2 is now open for
> registration.
> > Use referral code TECHWR-L for $50 off conference tuition!
> > See program at: http://lavacon.org/
> >
> >
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> om
> >
> >
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> >
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> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Roberta Hennessey
> Technical Writer
> (978) 835-4282
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
> Doc-To-Help.
> Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
> Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
> http://www.doctohelp.com
>
> LavaCon 2010 in San Diego Sept 29 - Oct 2 is now open for registration.
>
> Use referral code TECHWR-L for $50 off conference tuition!
> See program at: http://lavacon.org/
>
>
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com -dot-
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>
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>
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
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>
> Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
> http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/listinfo/techwr-l-chat
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
> Doc-To-Help.
> Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
> Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
> http://www.doctohelp.com
>
> LavaCon 2010 in San Diego Sept 29 - Oct 2 is now open for registration.
> Use referral code TECHWR-L for $50 off conference tuition!
> See program at: http://lavacon.org/
>
>
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as suzette -dot- leeming -at- gmail -dot- com -dot-
>
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>
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>
> Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
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>
>
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
http://www.doctohelp.com

LavaCon 2010 in San Diego Sept 29 - Oct 2 is now open for registration.
Use referral code TECHWR-L for $50 off conference tuition!
See program at: http://lavacon.org/


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References:
RE: Two Professional Questions: From: Porrello, Leonard

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