Adobe RoboHelp Server

Adobe,RoboHelp,RoboHelp Server

I have received a number of emails where Adobe RoboHelp customers have asked me some basic questions about Adobe RoboHelp Server. So, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some information on the blog.

About Adobe RoboHelp Server

Adobe RoboHelp Server is a server-based Help solution that provides real-time end-user feedback on your Help and knowledge bases. You can view a variety of reports that tell you the issues that users are having with your Help system and knowledge bases, and where you need to provide more information. Results are displayed in an easy-to-view graphical format for quick interpretation. Your Help system resides on a server (like Adobe Help Center), allowing you to take this knowledge and make instant updates to your Help system content.

Key features of Adobe RoboHelp Server

Adobe RoboHelp Server is a powerful way of providing end users with the ability to find information when they have questions. Users can view content using any standard browser (such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer) and several operating systems (such as Windows, Macintosh, or UNIX). There’s no limit on the number of users who can access the published documents.

Key features of Adobe RoboHelp Server include:

Adobe RoboHelp Server’s most powerful feature is its feedback mechanism. With this feature, authors receive real-time feedback on what is confusing or missing from their online information and the application. Authors can see where end users are entering the system, what questions they are asking, and most importantly, what questions are going unanswered. Armed with this information, authors can focus on updating the specific areas of the online content that are known trouble spots.

Some of the data gathered includes:

  1. Where users request assistance: The location where repeated requests take place may suggest needed improvements in specific areas of the content.
  2. How users search: Searches that users perform repeatedly can be expanded to include more related information. In addition, information users routinely search for can be moved to a more prominent position in the content for easier access.
  3. How users navigate online content: Authors can track how users move around the online content and how often.

When building an online information system, all authors need to be able to develop and publish their content according to their own schedules. Adobe RoboHelp Server provides automatic project merging so that authors can work on different parts of a project at the same time and publish them to the same engine. When end users view the content, they see one seamless online information system. There’s no need to worry about sharing source or depending on a single author or project – the separate projects are merged when users access the content. Users can navigate across all the projects using the Index, Contents, or Search buttons.

When authors merge projects, each project file in the authoring tool remains intact, but the keywords from the indexes are combined at run time, or when end users access the system from the engine. By default, the projects are added to the table of contents in the order they are published to the engine (authors can customize this order in the authoring tool).

When users perform searches, Adobe RoboHelp Server groups similar questions together in reports for authors. Question grouping helps solve the problem of viewing a report that contains long lists of questions that are similar, but phrased in slightly different ways. Authors can read and share reports that are more accurate and streamlined.

Please note – this is not up to the mark as we have removed Natural Language Support from RoboHelp Server.

Authors can change the display text on online system’s user interface to another language, including text on the Contents, Index, and Search buttons as well as other text in the user interface. In addition, end users will be able to perform a full-text search of online content in their native language. This allows authors to develop content in languages other than English and take advantage of server-based online information systems.

There are quite a few new features that we introduced in Adobe RoboHelp Server 6, the most significant of them are:

  1. Improved publishing of projects
    While publishing projects to RoboHelp Server, only the files that had been modified after the last publish operation are re-published. This improves performance significantly esp. if you have large projects.
  2. FlashHelp Pro
    Adobe RoboHelp Server 6 introduces server based FlashHelp. FlashHelp Pro projects can be published to RoboHelp Server. Server features like merging Projects and context-sensitive help are also available in FlashHelp Pro Projects.
  3. Web administrator
    Now you can do Remote administration of RoboHelp Server using a web interface. This can be done from RoboHelp itself from the RoboHelp Server tab (this can be enabled from Tools > Options > General). A web browser can also be used for this purpose. Web administration can be used for managing projects, user accounts and groups, viewing reports, and for troubleshooting.
  4. Improved installation experience
    Adobe RoboHelp Server 6 is easier to install and setup. Some installer issues which were present in the previous version (RoboHelp Engine 4) have been fixed in this release.
  5. Publish to relational databases
    Adobe RoboHelp 6 Server provides out of the box capability to connect to an Oracle or SQL server databases. Connectivity Pack that was required in the previous release is not required now.

I hope you will find this information useful.

Akshay Madan