© 2010 Ugur Akinci
FrameMaker 9 and RoboHelp 8 work together pretty well. The integration between these two applications (that come with Technical Communication Suite 2) is smooth and relatively problem-free, if not perfect.
Advantage of RoboHelp over Web Works
One obvious advantage of RH over FM’s old-mate Web Works is this: WW is basically a conversion platform custom designed for FrameMaker. You create your source files in FM and then WW converts them into an HTML help file for you. If you need to add any new help topics, however, you can;t do it from inside WW. You need to go back to FM and add that topic on.
With RH, on the other hand, you can add a brand new topic, and introductory “Welcome” page for example that would normally not be a part of any FM book, without going back to FM since RH comes with its own text and image editor built right into the program.
RH works fine with MS Word source files too.
However, having said that, I’d still recommend you to do as little content change as possible inside RH editor since that defies the whole idea of “single-sourcing.” Ideally, you want to create once with FM, and publish many times through RH. That way when something is changed in the original FM file, that change ripples through all RH outputs when you re-compile them.
Here are Two Big Work-flow Tips to save you a bunch of headaches:
Big Tip #1
Do not import your FrameMaker source files into RoboHelp, especially if they are part of a FM book file. Instead, LINK them.
Why? Because linking preserves the live connection to FM source file. If you change anything on the FM side of the equation, that change is also automatically reflected in RH outputs. If you import a FM file into RH, you need to re-import it every time you change the FM source file. Not nice.
Big Tip #2
When you have a FM Book, link the whole book to RoboHelp, not just the individual chapters inside that book. That way you’ll be linking not only the chapters but the TOC, Index, Glossary, plus all the other meta information that FM saves with a book.
For the very same reason, when you are updating and generating your help file, update the whole book and not only individual chapters listed under the book in RH’s Project Manager pod.