RoboHelp is a Help authoring tool (HAT) created by the eHelp Corporation and now owned by Adobe Systems. The software is used by technical writers to create computer help files (documentation) in various formats.
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.
Although tools like eHelp's® RoboHELP® Classic can speed up and streamline the process of creating help topics, there are still many repetitive tasks needed to build a WinHelp system that supports a large, integrated application. This article summarizes one of the techniques that Fredrickson Communications used to automate the process of developing online help topics. Once the underlying structure and macros were in place, we were able to generate hundreds of help topics at the rate 15-20 per minute.
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.
RoboHelp HTML, from eHelp Corporation, is a powerful software tool for creating online Help systems. Included within RoboHelp HTML is the ability to develop indexes for online Help projects.
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.
It’s sometimes difficult to determine which tool is right for a particular job. This demonstration shows the types of online documentation projects that are best suited to each of three online authoring tools: Dot-To-Help by WexTech Systems, ToolBook by Asymetrix, and RoboHelp by Blue Sky Software. Technical writers who have used these products to create online help projects will discuss feature comparisons, system requirements for both author and user of the online documentation, and limitations of the tools. By seeing demonstrations of the authoring tools and the projects created with these tools, attendees should have a better understanding of what each tool can help them accomplish.
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.
Given our current economic conditions, it is proving very difficult for a lot of technical communicators to find new positions as either contractors or full-time employees. It is important now, more than ever, to look closely at the core skills we have and can offer our future employers. Almost all of you that I have talked to are technical communicators who develop online help and hardcopy documentation. You are writers, editors, and managers. Many of you understand the intricacies of the tools of the trade like Adobe FrameMaker and RoboHelp from eHelp. You understand the products so well that you can troubleshoot the problems faster than the product support teams.
This is the first in a series of articles that builds into a personal review of RoboHelp Office 2002. This first article introduces the new release and discusses Topic Templates, Headers and Footers, and the new MS Word Import capability.
RoboHelp is an industry-standard tool for creating user assistance. Adobe RoboHelp is a topic-oriented tool. Each topic has an individual topic id assigned for easy reference and linking. You can view topics by ID or topic title in the Project Manager pod. The best way to approach help authoring with such software is to first outline the tasks and concepts you need to document.
I had some time today for testing the RoboHelp Packager for Adobe AIR. I kept notes as I went. I would be flooding the Packager forum with threads after exercising the Packager, so I thought it would be better to not be the kind of guest who makes himself at home to the point of leaving his clothes and dirty dishes strewn all over the house. Instead, I’ll provide my critique here in my own space.
Some might not think that converting FrameMaker content into online help and user documentation would involve taking risks. In this article, we tell our story of what risks were involved with one of my recent projects, how we overcame them, and what benefits we reaped by using state-of-the-art technology.
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.
Several years ago, someone used the term WYSIOP (What You See Is One Possibility) when talking about the RoboHelp HTML editor, because what developers saw in the editor didn't usually match the results. I had what I thought was an absolutely brilliant leap of logic ;-) a couple of months ago when I realized that today's WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors are really WYSIOP, because the results are determined by whatever layout template is assigned at the time the results are viewed.
RoboHelp now offers a rich set of features for delivering multiple customized outputs out of a single project. This article by Matthew Ellison provides some guidelines and tips on using the key single-sourcing features.
Nothing brings content modeling to life like launching a shiny new site: teasers fit neatly without any awkward ellipses, images are cropped perfectly for different screen sizes, related content is wonderfully relevant. The content strategy comes to life, and all is right with the world. But for years, my joy was short lived—because it would only take a couple weeks for things to begin to fall apart: teasers would stop teasing, an image would get scaled oddly, and—I won’t lie—I’d even start seeing “click here” links. Don’t despair. There’s a better way to get your content guidelines adopted in the real world: put them right where they’re needed, in the CMS itself.
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.