SUMMARY: doc-to-help vs RoboHelp (long)

Subject: SUMMARY: doc-to-help vs RoboHelp (long)
From: John David Hickey <jdavid -at- FARABI -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 09:57:42 -0400


(Eric: I've set my Outlook to send messages as plain text only, so hopefully
this comes out right)

Here's the summary of responses on the whole doc2help vs robohelp thingee.
Thanks to everyone who responded!

>Funny you should ask. This was posted just the other day on the WinHelp
>Bill Burns
>ILE Communications/Eccentric Technology Consultant
>billdb -at- ile -dot- com

Deborah Stone (deborah -at- chesco -dot- com) suggested this addres as well. I checked
it out and it really is helpful!
>Be sure not to leave ForeHelp out of your formula. ForeHelp is a wonderful
tool and >really the best of both worlds.
>Info -at- ff -dot- com
>As a contractor, I use both products on a regular basis. I've seen a
comparison list published by D2H which is technically >accurate. The issues
that most lists don't address deal with your expectations and experience
with WinHelp. Programmers >tend to like RoboHelp because it is easier for
them to understand. D2H appeals to writers and is a good way to start out
>writing Windows Help because it's easier to visualize.
>If you expect D2H to produce a "single source" (manual and online help)
with one document, forget it. No matter what the >hype, they're two
different animals, and you have to re-write the help doc in D2H to have a
real manual. The one big drawback >to D2H that I've found is the time it
takes to convert the document from a Word .doc to .rtf format (a step that
RoboHelp >doesn't need because it IS an .rtf document). If the document is
small, this isn't such a problem.
>Since both tools are dependent on Word, you can have probs with that in
either one. Regardless of the tool, as long as you >keep the individual
files small, you'll have fewer problems. And lots of graphics really slow
them down.
>If you use D2H, here is a little known procedure that has saved me a lot of
time. (I work with some 3-4 year old legacy files.) >Use the D2H tool to
remove all TOC marks from the Word document each time you open the file to
edit. If you don't, Word >overloads the file with these things and
eventually corrupts the file.
>RoboHelp has it's quirks too. NEVER use it from the network. If you don't
have everything -- docs and RH files -- on your >local drive, you'll have
one headache after another. I was reminded of this just today when reading
the RoboHelp digest.
>Pat Wade: patbwade -at- oklahoma -dot- net <mailto:patbwade -at- oklahoma -dot- net
>Phone: (918) 622-6767 Cell Phone: (918) 232-4101
>I just wanted to let you know my own personal feelings. I
>used D2H only once or twice, and it was on a couple of pretty big
>projects; I haven't used Robo in any real way at all (ie for real work,
>as opposed to just horsing around). But I would warn you about D2H.
>What you invariably end up with is a paper manual, in a help file. My
>experience--and the statistics support me here--is that users don't want
>to read paper manuals as online help; they want online help to be short,
>directed at the task they're trying to accomplish. It's really, really
>hard to get D2H to do this. Robo isn't perfect, as far as I can see,
>but if I had to choose today I'd throw D2H just about as far as I could,
>and take Robo without blinking.
>Matthew Bin [mattbin -at- hotmail -dot- com]
Be seeing you,

John David Hickey
jdavid -at- farabi -dot- com

Lone Writer at Farabi Technology Corp.
Montreal, Quebec

4000+ readers? I Am Drunk With Power! <maniacal laughter>

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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