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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
I always loved using Robohelp, even way back when it was owned by a company named Blue Sky. I used it for years. Even got some formal training on it, years ago. Then FrameMaker adopted Web Works for online help. Adobe started to ship WW’s standard edition packed together with FM. We all had to say goodbye to Robohelp.
Now RH is back, fully integrated with FrameMaker. Bad news for Quadralay Corporation, the maker of Web Works. But truth be told, I could never get used to Web Works for one reason or another. I’ve even personally met Web Works officials at a recent STC Conference. All knowledgeable great folks. Easy to talk to. And to this day I think WW is a fine product indeed. But I continued to miss my RH. It always felt like RH was the easier help editor to use.
Now that Adobe announced RH as an integral part of its Technical Communication Suite, I decided to have another look at RH. And boy, am I impressed…
First, the great interface design, just like what I’ve been used to in Illustrator or Photoshop. Everything’s tucked away neatly within a single integrated frame. And all panes you’re ever going to need while construction your project. A great dashboard, with all the essentials at your finger tips.
Here are some first impressions of this BMW of a User Assistance Application:
When you first launch RH, it greets you with this Starter switchboard screen:
You can start by creating a Blank (help file) Project, create Application Help, create a new e-learning module, create a Knowledge Base project, create a Policies and Procedures project, etc.
When you select to create a Blank Project, RH displays the following screen for the First Topic of your new project (A RH project consists of individual TOPICS):
The default work area consists of 4 Panels:
1) Center Panel is your TEXT EDITING area where you can write (or import) the content of your topic, and then insert pictures, links, media, etc. as you please.
2) Upper Left Panel is reserved for your PROJECT navigation tree.
3) Lower Left Panel is reserved to keep track of all the CONDITIONAL TEXT (hooray!) you create, either for print or online version of your help file.
4) Lower Right Panel displays a catalog of your existing topics.
You can immediately start typing and creating your first topic without any further preparation. It’s that easy.