Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7

Subject: Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7
From: Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2012 15:15:35 -0600

I do understand the political reasons. But I'd prefer to see a more accurate response. ;)

You said:

I don't like the way Adobe handled the transition (several years ago) from the U.S. based dev team to a dev team allegedly based in India.

And if memory correctly serves, Adobe had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

What I recall is that eHelp sold out to Macromedia because Macromedia was drooling for the product we now know as Captivate. Macromedia then promptly laid off the RoboHelp development team and the newly unemployed team banded together to create what we now know as Madcap. Now at that point everyone thought RoboHelp was simply dead. And I'm sure Madcap was quite happy with that because it likely meant they had an automatic and large conversion base that would be clamoring for the Flare product.

The fly in the ointment (if you will) is that Adobe then turned around and purchased Macromedia. And they deemed RoboHelp was worthy of continuing. And I"m sure that put a huge damper on what Madcap was hoping to capitalize on by having this immediate audience. So that made them hate Adobe with a purple passion.

So sure, development is now in India for RoboHelp (as it is for so many other software products) but I'm not sure I'd fault Adobe for that. Had Macromedia left things alone, I'm pretty sure the landscape would be quite a bit different today.

Cheers... Rick :)



On 2/7/2012 12:59 PM, Porrello, Leonard wrote:

Yes, the code is HTML (or XHTML?) or some sort of xml/html hybrid. I am not an expert in XML, so I couldn't say. In any case, it's what you see in Flare's "text editor." I have no idea of how to get to Flare's alleged XML. I seem to remember that it may be possible to export XML, but I forget if that is actually what I read, and I have never had a need to do so. In any case, I am pretty sure you can't simply take Flare files or Flare output and reuse them/it on the assumption that they comprise only XML.

In contrast, if you open Help& Manual's text editor, what you see and use is (well-formed) XML. (While there is no such thing as non-well-formed XML, I put "well-formed" in parenthesis because, while redundant, it bears being emphasized.)

I am not interested in a flame war either. Both products are powerful. While H&M is arguably as powerful as Flare while remaining easier to use and less buggy, Flare imports Frame files and has an interesting and useful way of separating TOCs from targets and content. The only reason I point out the distinction is that I thought someone suggested that Flare's use of XML would make it a better candidate than RoboHelp for anyone who wants to reuse files in a third-party content management system.

Having said all that, I would prefer Flare to RoboHelp for political reasons. I don't like the way Adobe handled the transition (several years ago) from the U.S. based dev team to a dev team allegedly based in India. Regardless of where the "new" dev team lives, those of us who had been using RoboHelp were left hanging in the wind while rumors that the product was being "sunset" were flying around uncontested by Adobe. I would also prefer Flare since I know that while it is at least as good as (and arguably better than) RoboHelp, it is produced domestically.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Stone [mailto:rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:20 AM
To: Porrello, Leonard
Cc: 'Will Husa Documentation Solutions'; 'Julie Stickler'; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7

Hi all

@Leonard - That's interesting. Perhaps we are just talking semantics here, but the "code" you pointed out seems to me to be HTML code, no?

I'm really NOT trying to instigate a flame war between the Madcap folks and Adobe or anyone else affected, but it would be seriously helpful for those of us trying to make sense of all this if we could all agree on some common ground when referring to these buzz terms. And I do think that some use them precisely as that so as to paint product N in a better light by claiming it's more modern because it's "XML based".

I stand to be corrected on this as I'm not really a person deeply rooted in XML (and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I can't fake being one) but it seems early on that the Flare folks were saying that all their content was stored as "XML" when in fact it was "XHTML". Now perhaps XHTML actually *IS* a valid XML format. As I stated earlier, I'm no XML guru. I've heard many claims that certain things "validate", so it must be XML. And other claims that the DTD doesn't reference a valid structure (or something like that) so the claim is invalid.

I believe RoboHelp topics (HTML Pages) are also stored as XHTML. And I know that the RoboHelp project files are now almost all based on the more open and actual XML format. I'm not a Flare user, but I'm guessing that Flare operates in nearly the same way.

It would just be rather refreshing to see something clearly explained in simple terms we can all understand instead of everyone beating each other over the heads with buzzwords and making nebulous claims that are shrouded in confusion. And I do mean all sides of this equation, not just one. ;)

Cheers... Rick :)



On 2/7/2012 11:14 AM, Porrello, Leonard wrote:
This is almost right. Flare is "XML-based." If you look at the actual code, however, you find that Flare uses proprietary tags (such as this: "p class="Bullet1" MadCap:autonum=""). This means you cannot simply reuse Flare content in non-Flare based systems. Help& Manual, in contrast, works with and enables you to author in only (well-formed) XML. It also saves all topics in XML.

Having said that, I would add that in itself Flare seems to work pretty well as a content management system.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Will Husa Documentation Solutions
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 8:30 AM
To: 'Julie Stickler'; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7

The difference is that MadCap Flare is XML and RoboHelp is HTML.

From a posting on http://www.w3schools.com/xml/xml_whatis.asp:
XML was designed to transport and store data, with focus on what data is.
HTML was designed to display data, with focus on how data looks.

That's why Flare is better for content management and RoboHelp is better for WebHelp.

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Julie Stickler
Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Rick Stone
Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Julie Stickler
RE: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Will Husa Documentation Solutions
RE: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Porrello, Leonard
Re: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Rick Stone
RE: RoboHelp 9 vs. Flare 7: From: Porrello, Leonard

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