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RoboHelp for FrameMaker (was "interesting announcement from eHelp")

Thanks for the heads-up, Sarah.

I just checked with the product manager for "Mustang"/RoboHelp for
FrameMaker, and got the okay that those of us who have been beta testers can
now talk about the product.

I somehow managed to win a free copy of the application during the beta
testing program, so although this isn't technically a paid endorsement, I
figured that y'all would appreciate the disclosure. :-)

I've been using RHFM (can I be the first one to use the inevitable
abbreviation?) for about six weeks now, and I can say, hands down, RHFM is
the best single-sourcing tool I've used so far. Although our company will
continue to use Mif2Go for a number of purposes, I can't think of any good
reason to use WebWorks Publisher ever again (despite the fact that I've been
using WWP for about five years).

After I downloaded and installed the second beta, I decided I wanted to try
out the new FlashHelp output format. Within about five minutes (including
the time it took to parse the FrameMaker files and compile the output), I
had an online help system that looks and behaves nothing like anything
WebWorks could generate. RHFM automatically stripped page numbers and
quotation marks from my cross-references. It automatically detected my
heading levels and set up page breaks accordingly. It automatically detected
my glossary entries and converted them to an interactive glossary (although
I did use the style names in FrameMaker that RHFM recommends).

Once I had a set of default output files, modifying settings and formats was
extremely easy. As the press release says, many of the dialog boxes and
controls in RHFM mirror the corresponding items in FrameMaker itself. For
example, I can set up cross-reference formats and auto-numbering properties
using the same building blocks that exist in FrameMaker (no more Regular
Expressions!!!). I had a fully customized, release-ready online help system
within a few hours -- something that might have taken days or even weeks to
set up in WWP.

I'm not going to say "revolutionary" yet (that's a historical assessment),
but I can say that we'll be changing the way we develop and deliver online
help thanks to RoboHelp for FrameMaker.

Oh, and for those of you "invested" in WebWorks, RHFM can import WWP
projects, mappings and all.

So, what about all you other beta testers out there? What has your
experience been? I'm eager to leave the vacuum of our NDA and discuss this
new tool.

Andrew Becraft
Technical Writer
Ph: 973.973.4274 
Fx: 973.496.4333 


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