Here is an example of how Search could fail. Your company Help System, a Policies guide, includes a topic concerned with contraband substances in the office. The word contraband is contained within the topic so the word will be found if users search for that specific term. However, a user who is curious about contraband substances might elect to search the Help System using another word, such as illicit. Because the word illicit isn't in the Help System, the Search will fail. There are a couple of ways to fix the problem. One way would be to add Search terms to the properties of individual topics. Another way, which I'll cover here, is to use RoboHelp's Advanced Settings for Localization to create a synonym (illicit) for contraband.
The RoboHelp help authoring tool is now entering its thirteenth year of existence. That's a remarkably long existence for any software title. In that time period, we have seen an amazing expansion of the software industry throughout the 1990s and an equally amazing retraction due to the bursting of the Internet bubble. Making its start in the tiny offices of Blue Sky Software in LaJolla, California, RoboHelp grew into an extremely profitable product. It is also a market leader—having capturing some two-thirds of all Help authoring tool sales. During the Internet bubble years the company changed its name to eHelp, but RoboHelp continued to be its flagship profit center. In 2003, eHelp (and RoboHelp) were acquired by one of the leading providers of web tools—Macromedia. Now it appears that the end may be approaching for RoboHelp.
Daigle, an Adobe community expert for RoboHelp, shares his reaction to the RoboHelp 7 sneak peak, and also explains the main features RoboHelp 7 will have: drag-and-drop functionality across the topics, double-byte language support for translation, the ability to have multiple topics open at the same time, snippets with graphics, removal of kadov tags, automatic breadcrumbs, and tighter integration with other Adobe products. Daigle speculates on reasons for Adobe's lack of transparency, and comments on the globalization of Adobe's development for RoboHelp.
While it is ideal to maintain all the content in FrameMaker, there are special situations which may require the RoboHelp content to be out of sync from FrameMaker documents either for short duration or for small set of topics. These special situations can relate to project deadlines or project requirements which make the process of maintaining a single source difficult.
I've been using RoboHelp for nearly a decade now. I started off with an older Word-based version to create WinHelp, and now I work with the HTML version to create WebHelp for locally installed and server-based products. Here are a few RoboHelp tips that I've found useful in my day-to-day help authoring responsibilities.
Master Pages, a new concept introduced in Adobe RoboHelp 8, intends to provide flexibility in controlling the layout of topics, where in an author may separate the actual content from the layout of the output and may do it from a single place. In Adobe RoboHelp 8, a user may use Master Page as a Layout and Styling canvas where one may put basic HTML elements to be used for Layout purposes.
Many technical communicators are tasked with converting user manuals and other documentation written in Adobe FrameMaker into online help using eHelp (formerly Blue Sky) RoboHelp. The problems they face concern not only going from FrameMaker to RoboHelp but also how to put the content in a form that is effective for online help. The solution is not difficult, provided the writer follows a methodical approach.
RoboHelp is an authoring tool sold by eHelp Corporation (formerly Blue Sky Software). In an easy 'WYSIWYG' format, it allows you to organize information and create pathways and interactive links so a user can find desired or necessary information (and the user can do so in a non-linear intuitive way that is helpful to learning).