Briefing: RoboHelp X5
starting at $499
San Diego, California
eHelp has put the finishing touches on a new version of its flagship
RoboHelp application for flexibly generating and editing help files and
related documentation. The new version will be available some time this
month, but I've already seen it in action and talked to the product team
a bit, so here's a peek at what's coming.
The big news here is that RoboHelp has suddenly gotten much more team
friendly with the introduction of the RoboSourceControl application.
This gives you a fully functional source code control application in the
package, and tightly integrated with RoboHelp. You can check files in
and out, manage security and permissions, identify and compare versions,
and roll back files to earlier versions. And because they're using the
standard SCCAPI, you can also use your existing source code control
system if you prefer. They've also taken pains to minimize bandwidth
use, and to make the process friendly for distributed or
On the content side, RoboHelp now has import and export capabilities for
both XML and PDF. With XML, you can use DocBook or XHTML, or define your
own standard for export. With PDF, there's an intelligent import process
that uses the formatting information in the PDF file to determine styles
for the help project. You can also export help to PDF, which makes for
RoboHelp still supports many help file formats, from Microsoft HTML Help
to the newly-added Sun JavaHelp 2.0. And of course eHelp continues to
promote their own cross-platform FlashHelp format; I expect to see that
gain in prominence now that they've been acquired by Macromedia.
RoboHelp has been an impressive help-authoring system for quite a while
now. With the new support for multiple-author projects, it's just
For more reviews and opinions from Mike Gunderloy, click here.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.