Category Archives: RoboHelp
Back to work today after a two week vacation to find my PC reimaged following some problems encountered before I left. I normally hate having my PC reimaged as the image applied never seems to contain all you want. All those print drivers, the desktop / theme customisation, toolbar settings and software installation are just never the way you want them. Part of my task for today was reinstalling the Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2.
As I was doing this it struck me just how easy it was to install considering the plethora of bundled applications in it, 16 in all, including major new versions to RoboHelp, FrameMaker and Captivate. The applications include some that also form part of the Creative Suite and therefore maybe new to some Technical Authors. However I am convinced that as time goes by I’ll find more and more uses for them. Of particular interest is Adobe Bridge and Adobe Presenter. Anyway more of this in a later post.
It also reminisced about getting hold of the trial version at the start of this year. Back then, the options were severely limited. You either had to order a DVD containing the trial version. Since then you have the added option of downloading the trial but this waiting whilst several gigabytes of data is transferred. Not really an option unless you have a fast internet connection.
Now there is a third option. Adobe have teamed up with a company called Runaware. They host full versions of software in a virtual environment, delivered via the browser. This means that you can get hold of a trial version of the Technical Communication Suite 2 in a fraction of the time it would take to use one of the other trial options. In addition the product team have included a step by step tutorials of the key product functionality and the various integration possibilities as well as a demo of how to use the virtual environment.
This strikes me as an excellent move to make the Technical Communication Suite to a wider audience. The ease with which you can see the suite in action makes this an exciting development for future Adobe product releases. You can find out more by following R Jacquez’s on Twitter or from the RoboHelp, FrameMaker or Technical Communication Suite product pages.
I came across a post today from someone looking into the features that RoboHelp had over other HATs. Apart from pointing them to the HAT Matrix, I also offered my personal perspective on what RoboHelp and the Technical Communication Suite could do based on their requirements. John Daigle also posted a response listing the resources below. I am reproducing them for anyone else needing guidance in the future.
- Adobe RoboHelp 8 Reviewer’s Guide: A major document highlighting all the new features of RoboHelp 8 and RoboHelp Server 8 and how they can be used to increase your productivity. Included inside are various “Try It” exercises for some of the features.
- “Try it” exercises: These are a set of exercises that you can use to see for yourself the benefits of RoboHelp as described in the reviewer’s guide. An excellent way to familiarise yourself with the new features.
- 7 x videos of the new RoboHelp features: A set of Captivate videos each of which describes a new feature of Robohelp 8.
- RJ Jacquez’s blog: RJ is the Adobe Technical Communication Suite Evangelist and has lots of using information to hand. Also follow him on Twitter (rjacquez).
- RJ’s Webinars: RJ frequently performs online training sessions that are recorded for later use. These are a great way to see the features of the Technical Communication Suite at your leisure.
- Adobe Technical Communications Suite blog: Finally a blog with posts by the Adobe RoboHelp engineering team.
In addition to the above links, there are a number of blogs written by RoboHelp, Captivate, FrameMaker and Acrobat users. These are numerous, but for starters check out the “Forums and Blogs” section of the relevant Abobe Help & Support link on the right hand panel of this blog. For my personal experiences of migrating to RoboHelp 8 from RoboHelp X5, click here.
- Introducing Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2.5, now with Photoshop CS5 and Captivate 5 [VIDEO] (blogs.adobe.com)
- TCS 2.5 has arrived! (blogs.adobe.com)
Awhile back I saw a post on the RoboHelp forums asking whether there was a way of excluding baggage files from being included in the output generated. The short answer is “Yes” although it is not as straightforward as you may think.
Normally in this type of scenario it is necessary to think about using a conditional build tag. Doing so you can exclude the offending item from the output at generation time. The problem is that you can’t assign a conditional build tag to a baggage file. You can to just about everything else but this particular feature remains unsolved.
However with thanks to Rick Stone who thought of this, there is a workaround that achieves the same aim. Place your baggage files inside a folder of their own. When you need to exclude them, go behind RoboHelp’s back and rename the folder. This has the effect of making RoboHelp loose track of the baggage files thereby excluding them. Once you have generated the output, just rename the folder back to its original name.
If you have a need to apply conditional build tags to baggage file, I’d strongly urge you to submit a feature request to the Adobe RoboHelp team. The more we (the users) tell them what we want, the greater chance our wishes will be granted.