Monday, May 09, 2005

RoboHelp Plays Nicely with Word

Those of you who use RoboHelp as your help authoring tool are probably already bored of the discussions about its future, now that it appears not to be the darling child of Macromedia/Adobe.

In the midst of all the hyperbole about the sky falling, some of the clearest advice I've seen reminded people that RoboHelp will not stop working even if Macromedia/Adobe fires all the RoboHelp developers tomorrow. It's a piece of software. It works today, and it will work tomorrow.

But what I hadn't seen discussed, at least not until I posted it to HATT - the "Help Authoring Tools and Techniques" group, is that RoboHelp HTML is dependent on Word in a very specific case. The two applications must play nicely together in order to generate any print documentation. In other words, if you want to generate Word or PDF output from RoboHelp, RH has to be able to access Word directly.

When Microsoft releases a version of Word that is not compatible with the current release of RoboHelp (X5), you won't be able to have that version of Word and RoboHelp X5 on your computer and expect RoboHelp to output printed documentation.

So, RH may continue to work for a long time. It just may not workwith the next version of Word.
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