Re: RoboHELP vs. Acrobat

Subject: Re: RoboHELP vs. Acrobat
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 1996 10:29:13 -0500

<Envisioners again scurrying to their cubes to put up shields as Bill draws
his hefty, and sometimes nasty soapbox
from under his desk...> :-0

Rod this is to the list in general, not to you personally. But... I really
see where a lack of clarity on what RoboHelp, ForeHelp and the other WHAT's
can confuse the crap out of the new online writers. I've seen this a lot
lately, so as someone who's been authoring online documentation for a while
(including Windows Help for 4 + years), I thought I'd chime in.

Rod, you are not choosing between Acrobat and RoboHelp, you are choosing
between Acrobat PDF and Windows Help. How you author the help (RoboHelp,
ForeHelp, HDK, Help Breeze, etc.) is insignificant at the stage where you
are choosing your platform. I've seen too many folks get confused, asking
questions like "What's the difference between RoboHelp and Windows Help?
and I think a little info about this subject wouldn't hurt. So, I've
provided a couple of definitions below, to help clear things up. Hope it
"helps" ( no pun.. )

1. Platform?... I didn't know I was joining a political party...
A platform, is the file format that you will use to store/view the online
document (Adobe PDF, Frame MIF, Word DOC, Windows Help HLP, etc.). When
choosing to deliver documents online, there are a dizzying amount of tools
to select, but really, there are not that many platforms. There are many
WHATs for the Windows help platform.

I would suggest that you first determine the platform. This is an
important distinction, because the "platform" has direct impact on your end
user. It is how they will "see" and "use" your document. Think of it as
the replacement for Paper in a printed document model.

2. What is a WHAT?
WHAT stands for Windows Help Authoring Tool. RoboHelp, Help Breeze,
ForeHelp, Doc-2-Help, HDK are all WHATs. The major difference between them
is whether or not they author from within a word processor, or if they are
self-contained, with an integrated word processor of their own.

If anyone else wants more information on this type of stuff, I would
strongly suggest taking Dr. Conrad Gottfredson's class from Skill Tech
Professional Seminars called Constructing Online Documentation. I have
continued to find it invaluable.

Also, I'd answer any questions the best I can, but I am not the
all-knowing-source of infinite wisdom... just a tech writer getting by :

gotta run, too much to do.. not enough to do it with...

From: Rod Reicks[SMTP:RSC!RSC!RODR -at- SCC -dot- ATTMAIL -dot- COM]
Sent: Friday, August 02, 1996 11:39 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
Subject: RoboHELP vs. Acrobat

We are about to convert about a dozen printed manuals (averaging about
500 pages each)
into online documents.


Bill Bledsoe "Junk moved on line is still junk. You can
Documentation Specialist bet that if they didn't read the printed
Envision version, they won't read the online version
bill -at- envision -dot- com either." Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, online
or documentation guru-guy
intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- net

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