STC day 2: RoboHelp is *not* dead

I admit that that two years ago, (a.) I was on the “RoboHelp is dead” bandwagon and (b.) the news gave me a feeling of schadenfraude because RoboHelp had knocked off my favorite HAT, ForeHelp.

But now, I’m happy to see that RoboHelp is part of Adobe and that the company is committed to the product. As Adobe gave a sneak preview of the upcoming versions of RoboHelp and FrameMaker, it is also clear that the company listens to the needs of its customers.

Both products will have features that we as technical writers have been wanting for years:

  • Full Unicode support. Both products support double-byte characters in the body of the text, as well as in dialog box fields, table of contents, and indexes.
  • True interoperability. You can import a MIF file directly into RoboHelp and everything is retained: variables, graphics (including Flash and Acrobat 3D files), and conditional text.
  • More features for single source documents. The new FrameMaker provides more flexibility in showing and hiding conditional text. In RoboHelp, you can create different table of contents formatsand select them when generating a Help system.
  • Adherence to industry standards. For FrameMaker, it means that DITA support is included in the structured version. For RoboHelp, it means clean HTML and (drum roll, please) no more kadov tags!

Both of these new versions are estimated to be out by the end of this calendar year.

I’m glad to see Adobe is committed to tools that are critical for us technical writers. This is probably one of the best pieces of news to come out of STC.

One comment

  1. Always a fount a critical information, Matt. I’m winding down my day and decided to check in on you and see how you’re doing — Alison Poggi was at the Minneapolis conference, what a bummer you two couldn’t meet up!

    Thanks for the Adobe/RoboHelp update. I didn’t know it was in danger, I’m using it and Captivate to make online training at Schwab right now. My heart will always be with ForeHelp, of course, but I’ve got to say RoboHTML has nearly stolen it, just a lovely and clean program to use.

    What I want to know is what happened to FrameMaker? I haven’t been anywhere that’s used it since Platinum/Epicor. Word has gotten so robust everyone just seems to use it. I’m afraid to say it lest it hear me and self-destruct, but with Word 2003 I think it’s actually pretty stable, I don’t complain about it anymore. Unless it blows up in the next 3 minutes…

    Great to read you again Matt! I’m going to go and peruse the rest of your site. Hearty hellowishes sir!


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