Re: RoboHelp5 (long)

Subject: Re: RoboHelp5 (long)
From: Gurudutt Kamath <guruk -at- GIASBM01 -dot- VSNL -dot- NET -dot- IN>
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 03:27:59 -0600

Hello Susan,

I just completed a project in RH5 and I must tell you that it was a
wonderful experience. It is so intuitive and powerful. All the lists are
so paranoid about the bugs that I am sure there is an unnecessary scare to
use this wonderful tool.

We must remember that we are now talking about Windows 95 standards help
(and not Win 3.1). So you are right about the books metaphor. Someone
conversant with Win 95 would do well with RH5.

I would not say that it "encourages" multiple files. However, multiple
files is a good strategy for one's own good. Maintenance is easier.
Loading and saving (time) is easier.

As regards learning curve, within a month, I feel so confident about RH5
that I can train and take classes (at the basics level, not macro
programming, other programming). I had a first draft of my project within
a week or so (converted user manual to help).

Bugs? I think any new package and a powerful one at that will have
shortcomings or glitches. Many times I had the famous GPFs (page faults
etc). I got scared. However, to my surprise I noticed that the error was
due to some fault on my part (would you blame the email package, if you
wrote the wrong address. Would you call it a bug?) I faced a few problems
but I have managed to solve most of them myself. The RoboLIST and the
WinHELP list are useful (so also their archives at,
subscription details also there). RoboHELP experts/tech support staff do
give their answers on the RoboLIST.

One tip I would like to share: Do the projects in part and build on it.
Having read about so many "bugs" on several lists I was scared to take up
the project on RH5. I did my first draft with few glitches/problems, which
I solved myself (incidentally, I'm in Bombay -- and the package has been
bought from US.) I kept building the file (making several backups). There
are still some problems I've to resolve (to give very clean code/copy).
But my help file works fine. My clients are happy. The staff is happy. My
client's customers are happy.

Another thought. RH4 and RH5. Windows 95 Help (vis-a-vis Win 3.1). Word
6/95 and Word 97. Win 95/Win NT. We are talking of several beasts of
burden here! Proper planning and execution is important.

Hope this helps.

Guru (who plans to have a RoboHELP page soon!)
guruk -at- giasbm01 -dot- vsnl -dot- net -dot- in (India's First Site on Technical Writing)
TWIN - Technical Writers of India mailing list

Susan you asked:
I'd like to hear some feedback from users who have gone from RoboHelp 4 to
5. It seems to me that the stucture of the new program almost dictates
some design practices that I'd like to see implemented where I work (like
using the books metaphor). It also seems to encourage using multiple files
rather than one large one (the way we do it now). What has been your
experience with the learning curve? Are there many bugs? Thanks for any

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