Webworks or Robohelp

Subject: Webworks or Robohelp
From: Kara Fiechtner <karaf -at- softcomputer -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "johng -at- zyxel -dot- com -dot- tw" <johng -at- zyxel -dot- com -dot- tw>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2010 14:31:04 +0000


Hi,
Trying to get two outputs from one source always seems more challenging than it should be. I've worked with Frame, WebWorks, and RoboHelp extensively in the past. I can't give any real input to those specific tools because I'm not familiar with the latest versions and functionality.

I wanted to add, though, that where I'm at now we've been using MadCap Flare to create PDFs and Help systems from the same source files for almost 2 years now. We use Flare's conditional text, variables, templates, etc to go from an xml source straight to PDF or WebHelp/CHM format (depending on the product). It works well for us and is about $1000 a license. I don't know if the latest RoboHelp has similar functionality. It certainly took some learning on our end to get this up and running, but it was well worth the effort.

Thanks,
Kara


Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 17:18:55 +0800
From: "John Gallagher" <johng -at- zyxel -dot- com -dot- tw>
Subject: Re: Webworks or Robohelp
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Cc: John Gallagher <johng -at- zyxel -dot- com -dot- tw>
Message-ID:
<4AC1E55C8B20DE4DA2843442F5BE9B180F01A6 -at- zytwbe05 -dot- ZyXEL -dot- com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

I would also like to know people's opinions on this. We recently bought
Tech Comm Suite 2 that bundles Frame 9 with Robohelp 8. We wanted to
upgrade from Frame 7.1 (with Web Works Publisher 2003), but we found
that RoboHelp 8 did not play well with Frame 9 at all. These are some of
the problems we found:

1. RoboHelp crashed FrameMaker when we generate or update a RoboHelp
project.

2. After creating a RoboHelp template, the template became corrupt and
crashed every time we tried to open one of its projects or created a new
project.

3. RoboHelp also corrupted the FrameMaker source files so they could no
longer be used in RoboHelp, even for a blank project.

4. In FrameMaker, we use "Not-WH" (hyphen in between) as a conditional
text name, but this was converted to "Not_WH" in RoboHelp (underscore in
between).

5. It wouldn't hide the Table Continuation variable. From adobe's help:
"Apply relevant conditional text tags to suppress variables that
shouldn't appear in online format. For example, you can suppress the
Table Continuation variable in table headers for tables that break
across pages in the FrameMaker documents." However, this doesn't work!
Even if you mark them out using Not-WH, it still displays! Change one to
Not-WH, right-click it and use Copy Special to copy only the conditional
text settings. Then replace by pasting across the book.

5. Hiding graphics in tables by conditional text left huge blank spaces.


We contacted support, googled solutions and reinstalled the suite but
nothing worked.

We also tested ePublisher and that played real well with our Frame (9)
files, but that's USD 2,600 a pop.
What have other people's experiences been? Please cc me if you reply to
the list as I'm on digest.
Many thanks.

John Gallagher
Technical Writing & Translation Manager
ZyXEL, Hsinchu, Taiwan
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